Shadows in Bronze is the second Falco novel by Lindsey Davis, set in Rome in 71AD. This story follows on from ‘The Silver Pigs’ with Marcus Didius Falco now working for the Emperor Vespasian and tidying up from the earlier conspiracy. This includes disposing of the corpse of one of the conspiracy leaders and disposing of the property of another.
Even though the conspiracy has ended, Emperor Vespasian is keen to track down a few of his senators (who are ex-conspirators) who have gone missing from Rome. As Falco follows the trail of the senators, he discovers that the Freedman ‘Barnabas’ is also trying to track the conspirators to murder them.
Much of the story is set in the resort areas around the Bay of Naples – Mount Vesuvius, Pompeii, Herculaneum, about 4 years before the eruption of Mount Vesuvius.
The beautiful senator’s daughter – Helena Justina once again features is this book. After their tumultuous affair in ‘The Silver Pigs’ Falco has decided that his relationship with Helena Justina must end (due to class differences) but they just can’t seem to avoid each other. So, in this book we see the friendship develop and the affair spark, but things are again left up in the air at the end of the book.
By the end of this second novel, I am really starting to enjoy a few of the characters – Falco, Helena and Petroneus. Also, Falco’s nephew Larius.
I found this book much easier to read than the first book. This may be because it took a while to get a feel for the atmosphere, the location, the language and the characters. I am now enjoying the series immensely and can’t wait to get on with the rest of it.
Book Published 1990