Set in the reign of Emperor Domitian, the title tells the plot – the third attempt to overthrow Domitian by a man set up as a pretender to be the previous Emperor Nero. Flavia Albia finds herself unwillingly dragged into the attempts to route out the pretender and his backer.
As always, the Roman settings are impeccably accurate as is Lindsey’s attention to historical detail. I enjoyed reading all of her Falco books and have found Flavia a delight. For me, this book bucks the trend. It is a book in two halves, with the first half a long-winded, but lightly delivered, recounting of the history of the previous two false Neros.
It is a pity that Flavia’s newly acquired husband does not recover quickly from having been struck by lightening at the end of the previous book in the series, and thus has almost no part to play in the first half of this one.
It is worth reading through to the second half where Lindsey returns to her usual style with Flavia’s shrewd and amusing insights into the inhabitants of and life in Rome – and a pacy and exciting ending.