TWO FOR THE LIONS is the 10th novel in the Marcus Didius Falco series by Lindsey Davis.
After the dreadful failure of the work partnership of Falco and his friend Petronius, Falco has now been forced into talking a new partner, a man he has always disliked, the imperial spy Anacrites.
Emperor Vespasian has hired the pair to follow up census declarations, find those who have understated their assets (almost everyone) so that they can be taxed more.
One of their first targets is Calliopus who provides gladiators and wild animals to entertainment events. When a trained man-eating lion owned by Calliopus is killed, Falco is distracted from his census work to investigate the death of Leonidus the lion.
Pretty soon he is immersed in the competitive world of gladiator training schools where Calliopus and his main competitor Saturninus play dirty tricks on each other and hold illegal demonstrations.
Even after a murder, Falco can make no progress.
Eventually he goes on holiday to Tripolitania to meet up with his brother-in-law Justinus. This is also the home of Calliopus and Saturninus and in a wild event in Lepsis, all of Falco’s questions are answered.
There was a huge amount going on in this novel and it was very long, but the story and the history of gladiator events was fascinating.
I enjoy when Falco travels outside of Rome, finding out about other cultures at the time.
Roman customs around 76 AD were extremely gory but reading these novels gives me hope that things in the current age will continue to improve.
The next novel in the series is – ONE VIRGIN TOO MANY.
Book Published 1998