Following directly from The Silver Pigs, Shadows in Bronze continues the exploits of Lindsey Davis' Roman detective Marcus Didius Falco. After the conclusion of the previous volume, the loose ends are very far from wrapped up, and Falco soon finds himself neck-deep in trouble once again. This time, he's tangling with a curious provincial official, an inverted missing-person case, and a sacrificial goat. Our hero's near-complete inability to figure out what he's doing with his life remains a source of amusement, and the stinking corruption of ancient Rome is as lively as before. We still don't have the detail on Falco's family which provides a great deal of interest in later books, but this is nevertheless an exceptionally enjoyable read. Davis is an expert at weaving history, comedy, suspense, mystery and near-tragedy, and shows her sure touch at every turn.

Two words to the wise: Firstly, this book, more than any other in the sequence, is intended as a direct sequel to its predecessor, and should be read second. Secondly, there is an apparent retcon in the plot, and (without giving anything away by explaining the point) I'd like to reassure readers that it's not a retcon per se, since both books were written before the first was published, and so the change of footing is presumably completely intended from the start.

Enjoy!

Venus in Copper follows.

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