Earlier this year our TY pupils were asked to choose from a selection of novels in the college library that were set in the classical world or simply took their inspiration from that world. Over the next few posts we will be including some their work starting today with the inaugural TY Classical Studies prize winner (not for this piece of work mind you), Ed Teggin's review of 'The Silver Pigs' by Lindsey Davies.
Rome, AD 71, Marcus Didius Falco is an Imperial agent to the newly installed Emperor Vespasian. Falco is a low ranking agent who is usually given demenial jobs such as cleaning up murder scenes. The start of the story is no exception as he is tasked with investigating the murder of a suspected conspirator, little does he know that dealing with this one case will entwine him in a full blown conspiracy to overthrow the Emperor Vespasian.The author, Lindsey Davies, starts off by introducing us to Falco and from the off there is an irony in that Falco describes himself as a republican and yet he finds himself in the service to the autocratic Emperor. Falco's talk of being a bit of a ladies' man lead s him to introduce Helena Justina, a senator's daughter with whom he once had a relationship with but even though he is still besotted with her, he tells himself that it would never work. Helena was once married to the obnoxious senator Pertinax who has just been found murdered in a prison cell as it seems that he too had dreams of a glorious coup against the Emperor and that maybe he would get to wear the royal of purple.The death of a senator in a fire at the temple of Heracles on the Aventine way leads to questions about a freedman called Barnabas who seems to be in someway beind these mysterious murders. In light of this, the Emperor orders Falco southwards in pursuit of this dangerous killer. Falco travels south in the company of his brother Petro and his family, masking his real motives as a family holiday. Falco investigates the surrounding area with the help of Helena Justina and dicovers that her father in law has designs on the throne. Now it is a race against time to prove his guilt before he can execute his plan.Shadows in Bronze is a fast moving murder mystery, set in Imperial Rome and is one of those intriguing books that you simply cannot bear to put down and it niggles at you until you eventually have to pick it up again and read on. I would gladly recommend this book to anybody as it has a good, interesting storyline which gives us an impression of what Imperial Rome was like.