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    Review of THE JUPITER MYTH by Lindsey Davis (see her website)


    Warner Books, September 2003

    Marcus Didius Falco and his family are waiting to return to Rome after a successful investigation in Britain when a body is discovered in a bar well. Falco is an informant so he gets the job of investigating. Unfortunately, the dead man was one Falco knew--a criminal. And Falco soon learns that the death is associated with a criminal gang that seems to have virtually taken over Roman London. Falco's problems escalate when his wife adopts a teenaged runaway girl, and when Falco himself runs into the lover he left behind--a beautiful acrobat who has become a female gladiator.

    In the first century A.D., Roman Britain is still fresh, Rome is still an expanding power, and Britain is the ragged edge of Empire. Still, Roman customs are being introduced to Britain--baths, gladiators, olives, and wine. And the gods, of course. But it takes a while for Falco to determine that there is a connection between all of the wineshops, whorehouses, and theaters named after Jupiter. The connection is the gang--a gang that is another very Roman innovation in Britain. And it turns out that Falco and his best friend Petronius Longus had faced that gang before, back in Rome.

    Author Lindsey Davis (see more reviews of novels by Davis) does a fine job drawing a picture of early Empire law enforcement. In each of the Falco books, Falco seems to emerge as a more interesting character and his relationship with Helena continues to deepen. Politics and corruption are not modern inventions and Davis describes the ancient version of the Mafia in intriguing detail. In THE JUPITER MYTH, Falco spends a lot of time chasing badguys, battling for his life and generally adventuring rather than sneakily crime-solving, but that doesn't keep MYTH from being an exciting story and even, occasionally, a heart-warming romance.

    Four Stars

    Reviewed 12/10/03

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