Book Review: Time to Depart by Lindsey Davis

After several books travelling the empire, Falco has returned to eternal city. Book seven in the series sees his friend Petronius Longus catch one of Rome’s most notorious criminals. Convicted criminals who are Roman citizens and facing the death sentence are permitted “time to depart” a period of grace in which they might choose to leave the empire in exile, considered a fate worse than death.

After packing Balbinus off onto a ship at Ostia, Petronius Longus and Falco get the impression quickly that Balbinus will not stay gone for long. Following the discovery of the corpse of one of the arresting officers and later, a number of others associated with the case including several witnesses. What is more, Helena Justina is pregnant again and the matter is pressing that they get married… but Falco has yet to attain his promotion to Equestrian class.

More of the same from Davis and the formula is really working well by now. All of the previous elements are there: flow, good plotting, humour, characterisation. I guess I don’t need to elaborate further for those who are already fans and those who haven’t read them shouldn’t really be starting with the seventh book. It is certainly nice to see Falco return to his native Rome after a seemingly endless number of trips to foreign lands

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