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Silver Pigs: A Detective Novel in Ancient…

Silver Pigs: A Detective Novel in Ancient Rome (original 1989; edition 1991)

by Lindsey Davis

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1,611484,514 (3.92)118
Title:Silver Pigs: A Detective Novel in Ancient Rome
Authors:Lindsey Davis
Info:Fawcett (1991), Mass Market Paperback, 241 pages
Collections:Your library
Tags:fiction, paperback, read in 2012

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The Silver Pigs by Lindsey Davis (1989)

Recently added byEyejaybee, private library, InezGard, madcatter, lucien, Eclipse777
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    The Thief by Megan Whalen Turner (electronicmemory)
    electronicmemory: Although one is Greece-esque fantasy and the other is a Roman-era mystery, both share scrappy, compelling characters in the form of Gen and Marcus Didius Falco.
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    ryn_books: Book one of the Marcus Covinus mysteries, which are also set in Rome and also first person private eye noir,

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Silver Pigs is the first in a now 20 book detective fiction series. This one is set in Rome and Roman Britain in 70-71 A.D. The blurb on the back says "Sam Spade in a Toga" and the story is now about 25 years old having been published in 1989. For a first published novel it is remarkably good and caught my interest from the first page. Sam Spade in a Toga is in fact a bit of what it is about but the attention to detail and a romantic element that powers much of the latter part of the story really make this more than simply a detective novel set in early Rome and Britain.

Silver Pigs refer to ingots mined and produced in Britain that are made of silver and lead ore. There is a bunch of intrigue (and murder) concerning the manufacture and transport of this resource. Frankly, I found the stories of the characters and family relationships (and there are quite a few) much more intriguing. Our detective (known as an "informer" in Roman times) is Marcus Didius Falco. He's a rather hardened guy with a good heart. There are a few bits in here to reward the careful reader that I can't spoil by mentioning. I really enjoyed the romance side of the story as it was rather unexpected even if obvious in hindsight. There is some good verbal sparring between Marcus and others, friends and foe. Altogether just a very enjoyable read and I will be reading more in this series. ( )
1 vote RBeffa | Apr 20, 2015 |
A PI novel set in ancient Rome. It does not reinvent the genre of PI novels, but does come with a bunch of very pleasant surprises. It's a historic novel, but there is no graphically described male-on-female-rape! Or too much gratuitous sexual violence! And even though the main character is male, there is an abundance of complex female characters with their own plot and motivation. All in all a very entertaining Finished. ( )
  Mothwing | Jan 4, 2015 |
Really enjoyed this! Loved the voice (both in prose and in the audiobook reading), the main character, the details of Roman life, and the strong romantic sub-plot. Looking forward to reading more in the (voluminous!) series.
  devafagan | Jan 2, 2015 |
This is the first book in a mystery series set in Ancient Rome, just after the death of Nero. It is an excellent example of a genre series mystery, done with a lovely bit of humor. M. Didius Falco is a memorable fictional character, as is his paramour. If I remember correctly, this series is one of my sister's favorites, and I can see why! ( )
  CandaceVan | Apr 1, 2014 |
In The Silver Pigs, by Lindsey Davis, we are introduced to Marcus Didius Falco, an "informer" (private investigator) in 1st Century AD Rome, during the early part of the reign of Vespasian. Vespasian had come to power following a military life in which he was involved in many victories, but his rule was a bit shaky early on given that he had no ancient lineage, and there are various plots to unseat him. Falco is drawn into one such plot when a young girl, Sosia, crosses his path - literally - in the Forum and he saves her from a couple of disreputable-looking pursuers. It turns out that Sosia is a member of an aristocratic family and trying to protect her lands Falco not only in the midst of this patrician group, but eventually back in Britain where he had previously served as a soldier and which he escaped with great relief, all in pursuit of the missing "silver pigs," bars of silver stolen from a mining operation in what eventually became England.... This is the first of many books in this long-running series; I've known about the Falco series for at least two decades but never tried reading any of the books until now, mainly because my yen for ancient Rome-based detective stories was satisfied by a series of novels by Steven Saylor. Since his series has wound down, I found myself missing the period and decided to give Davis a try, and I'm moderately pleased that I did. Falco is an engaging creature and Helena Justina, who becomes his wife, is even more so, but this first book felt quite slight to me. I will read more in the series, no doubt (in part because I initially bought the first three in e-book form), and I will enjoy them, but I suspect that I will have forgotten all but the major characters shortly after reading each book. So, a modest recommendation, something to enjoy on a rainy or snowy day perhaps. ( )
  thefirstalicat | Oct 28, 2013 |
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» Add other authors (26 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Lindsey Davisprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Edwards, MarkCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
González Trejo, HoracioTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
González Trejo, HoracioTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Gonzez Trejo, HoracioTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Rodska, ChristianNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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When the girl came rushing up the steps, I decided she was wearing far too many clothes.
I took all of my sisters and a dozen small children to watch Vespasian's Triumph. For that alone my soul deserves quiet rest in Elysian fields.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 031235777X, Mass Market Paperback)

When Marcus Didius Falco, a Roman "informer" who has a nose for trouble that's sharper than most, encounters Sosia Camillina in the Forum, he senses immediately all is not right with the pretty girl. She confesses to him that she is fleeing for her life, and Falco makes the rash decision to rescue her--a decision he will come to regret. For Sosia bears a heavy burden: as heavy as a pile of stolen Imperial ingots, in fact. Matters just get more complicated when Falco meets Helena Justina, a Senator's daughter who is connected to the very same traitors he has sworn to expose. Soon Falco finds himself swept from the perilous back alleys of Ancient Rome to the silver mines of distant Britain--and up against a cabal of traitors with blood on their hands and no compunction whatsoever to do away with a snooping plebe like Falco….

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:26:18 -0400)

(see all 6 descriptions)

"The Silver Pigs" is the classic novel which introduced readers around the world to Marcus Didius Falco, a private informer with a knack for trouble, a tendency for bad luck, and a frequently incovenient drive for justice. When Marcus Didius Falco encounters the young and very pretty Sosia Camillina in the Forum, he senses immediately that there is something amiss. When she confesses that she is fleeing for her life, Falco offers to help her and, in doing so, he gets himself mixed up in a deadly plot involving stolen ingots, dangerous and dark political machinations, and, most hazardous of all, one Helena Justina, a brash, indominable senator's daughter connected to the very traitors that Falco has sworn to expose.… (more)

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