Davis, Lindsey: (02) Shadows in Bronze

Lindsey Davis’s Shadows in Bronze is a direct sequel to Silver Pigs. It picks up less than two weeks after the first book closes: Falco is trying to tidy up after the plot against the Emperor Vespasian, but is surprised to find additional loose ends. Vespasian dispatches him to deal with them, and in his travels Falco re-encounters Helena Justina, his love and partner from the first book, from whom he is currently separated by, well, lots of things.

I’d heard Davis’s plots criticized for being obvious, and that’s pretty fair here. What bothered me more was that the plot also felt flimsy; in particular, the section spent chasing down a particular Senator seemed much too long and insubstantial. The character development is as enjoyable as before, but I found myself paying less attention to the other levels of the book. I hope that the next book will hold my attention more thoroughly.

This book, by the way, definitively establishes that the retrospective narration is set at several years’ remove (which seemed quite likely after the first): Falco mentions how Vesuvius’s eruption affected people and places he encountered in A.D. 71. (The author, on her website, states that she hasn’t decided yet how to handle the eruption within the books.)

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