19 November 2010

Review: ALEXANDRIA, Lindsey Davis - audio

# by Lindsey Davis
# Narrated by Christian Rodska
# purchased from Audible.com
# Publisher BBC WW
# LENGTH:11 hrs and 15 mins

Publisher's blurb
In Roman times, the Seven Ancient Wonders of the World held a deep fascination. Two of them were in Egypt: the Great Pyramid of Giza and the Lighthouse at Alexandria. Marcus Didius Falco's wife, Helena Justina, is determined to see them before her next confinement.
Conveniently, he has an uncle with a house in Alexandria. For this innocent reason (he says) they sail to Egypt. As soon as they arrive in Alexandria, a suspicious death occurs at the famous Great Library. The authorities rapidly hand Falco the investigation; he is, after all, the well-known informer from Rome and the Emperor Vespasian's fixer. He was one of the last to see the victim alive and, should the investigation fail, it is he who'll get the blame...

Published in 2009, ALEXANDRIA is #19 in Lindsey Davis' Marcus Didius Falco series, which she has been publishing since 1989. It is a series I have dabbled in over the years, so I already had a passing acquaintance with the central character and his wife.I do regret not having read them all (in order). Although I hasten to say that I'm not sure you necessarily need to do that.

Although Falco protests that his reason for visiting Alexandria are purely tourism: to see the Great Pyramid of Giza, the Lighthouse at Alexandria, and the Sphinx, his reputation precedes him and people are curious about why one of Vespasian's trusted men is visiting. Is he there to investigate the great library and the possible theft of scrolls, or is there another sinister reason? When the head librarian is found dead in a room locked from the outside the presence of Falco seems fortuitous. Who better to conduct the investigation? Two more deaths occur in the ensuing struggle to appoint a new head librarian, and some of the contenders are perfect suspects for the first death.

The story seems to have a  number of false endings. By that I mean that you just think everything is solved, and Davis reminds you that there is just another little matter outstanding.

The reader is transported into the world of ancient Alexandria, and is left in no doubt that Lindsey Davis knows her stuff. In this audio version Christian Rodska does an excellent job of producing a number of appropriate voices.

My rating: 4.3

Links of interest:
Lindsey Davis' website
Hear Lindsey Read ALEXANDRIA
Listen to a sample on Audible


Margot Kinberg said...

Kerrie - Thanks for this review. I, too, have dipped into this series over the years. I like the way Davis "does her homework" about the era. I learn a lot when I read those books.

Bernadette in Australia said...

This is one of those series that I only ever heard about after about a dozen books had already been published and I never knew where to start. Sounds like I might be able to pick them up at random?

Kerrie said...

Yes, I think you probably can Bernadette - there is enough backstory to fill in


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