‘Time To Depart’ is the seventh book in the Falco series by Lindsey Davis and this is one of my favourites so far.
In ancient Rome, criminals who were sentenced to death were not actually killed, but exiled from the empire (believed by some to be a fate worse than death). The major Roman crime boss – Balbinus Pius has just been sentenced and Marcus Didius Falco is helping his best friend Lucius Petronis (leader of a group of vigils) to see him on his way. But, as soon as Balbinus has left Rome, some major robberies take place and it seems that another criminal mastermind has simply been waiting for the opportunity to take Balbinus’s place.
Falco and Petro begin to investigate the crimes to find out who has taken over as crime boss, interviewing the head of a brothel – Lalage, and Balbinus’s wife and daughter – Flaccida and Milvia. Meanwhile, several of those who were witnesses against Balbinus are brutally tortured and murdered. Falco fears for Petro’s life.
Then it becomes apparent to Falco that there is a traitor within Petro’s hand-picked team of vigils who is giving information to the criminals. When Falco discusses this with Petro, it appears that their long-term friendship is over.
To complicate Falco’s life further, his girlfriend Helena is pregnant. They are still unable to get married as they are two social groups apart from each other.
I loved this book. I think I like Falco best in Rome, probably because most of his crazy family (5 siblings, their husbands and offspring, his mother and father) as well as Helena’s senatorial family and Falco’s landlord and neighbours tend to get involved in the story in some way. After seven books, I’m getting to know and love them all.
The next book in the series is ‘A Dying Light in Corduba’ and I look forward to reading the next instalment in the life of Falco.
Book Published 1995