‘The Third Nero’ is the 5th novel in the Flavia Albia series by Lindsey Davis. Albia is the adopted daughter of Marcus Didius Falco and like her father is a detective (informer).
In the previous novel in the series – ‘The Graveyard of Hesperides’, Albia married Tiberius Manlius Faustus, but on their wedding day Tiberius was struck by lightning. Albia spends much of this novel wondering if Tiberius will fully recover his personality, physical vitality and ability to earn money.
So when a case comes Albia’s way she feels obliged to take is even though she will be working for the palace, a client she has so far managed to avoid.
With the unpopularity of the Emperor Domitian (a paranoid tyrant) there have been several false Neros, even though the real Emperor has been dead for 20 years. The latest Nero is promising to be troublesome and the palace spies want the problem cleared away before Domitian returns to Rome – any day now.
But not all the palace employees are what they seem. There are rumours that one of them is involved in the plot along with a delegation from Parthia (the area to the east of Rome that includes modern day Iran and Iraq).
Can Albia resolve the situation before Domitian’s return with sufficient diplomacy to evade Domitian’s Notice? And will she get her husband back?
This novel was full of the history and social customs of Rome, Parthia and surrounding areas. I enjoyed being transported back in time but with the serious history broken up by the humour of Lindsey Davis’s wonderful characters.
I’m looking forward to the next novel in this excellent series.
Book Published 2017