In this, the sixth book in the “Falco” series, our hero is sent east to spy for Emperor Vespasian. So much for cutting ties to the imperial house. While there he chooses to investigate the disappearance of a young musician by the name of Sophrona. After meeting up with a troupe of actors, Falco is roped into becoming their playwright for the duration of his stay.
I felt that this is the weakest in the series since Shadows in Bronze. Though her usual high-quality writing is maintained, and it is interesting to see a different part of the Davis’ Roman Empire (this time the Levant), and to explore the lifestyle of a troupe of travelling actors, I felt that Falco’s stint as a playwright just felt out of character. He just doesn’t strike me as the playwright type, after all he is a private detective. I know that Davis style is often tongue-in-cheek that sometimes prides itself on a dash of silliness but I didn’t particularly like this turn of events.