The Iron Hand of Mars by Lindsey Davis

This is the 4th book in the series by Lindsey Davis featuring Marcus Didius Falco and set in Rome during the reign of Emperor Vespasian from around AD70.

At the start of the novel, Falco is once again wondering where his next assignment will come from. He is trying to avoid working for the palace as he knows he is likely to get a job that no-one else will do and he fears being sent out of Rome while the Emperor’s son Titus is making eyes at his imperial girlfriend, Helena Justina.

Eventually, Falco is given no choice and is sent to Germany on an almost impossible mission. His assignment from Vespasian includes: delivering a gift to the 14th Gemina based in Germania Liberia; Finding out what has happened to the missing legate Munius Lupercus; Discouraging the German priestess Veleda from inciting the German barbarians against Rome; and finding the Batavian Chieftan Julius Civilis and ensuring his future co-operation with the Romans.

Falco suspects that the palace want him out of the way permanently. And his beloved Helena Justina has now gone missing.

After traveling incredible distances to Northern Germany, Falco meets Helena Justina’s favorite brother Camillus Justinus. They team up to carry out Vespasian’s mission, uncovering murder, corruption and plotting along the way and becoming more and more like brothers. They survive only be extreme luck. I won’t spoil the story by talking about what happens between Falco and Helena Justina.

This was another adventure packed novel featuring loads of history of real battles and famous people, as well as a fun story that you could really sink your teeth into. Falco is gradually maturing in his abilities and confidence and I’m looking forward to the next installment in ‘Poseidon’s Gold’.


Book Published 1992


See a full list of books by Lindsey Davis

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Filed under Book Reviews, Crime, Davis, Lindsey, Historical, Series Fiction

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