`I was just a freelance hero doing his best in a hard world.'
The spirit of adventure calls Falco on a new spying mission for the Emperor Vespasian to the untamed East. He's picking up extra fees from his old friend Thalia the snake dancer as he searches for Sophrona, her lost water organist. With the Chief Spy Anacrites paying his fare, Falco knows anything can go wrong.
A dangerous brush with the Brother, the sinister ruler of Nabataean Petra, sends Falco and his girlfriend Helena on a fast camel-ride to Syria. Here they join a travelling theatre group, which keeps losing members in non-accidental drownings. The bad acting and poor audiences are almost as bad as the desert and its scorpions - then as the killer hovers, Falco tries to write a play...
Lindsey Davis has written over twenty historical novels, beginning with The Course of Honour. Her bestselling mystery series features laid-back First Century detective Marcus Didius Falco and his partner Helena Justina, plus friends, relations, pets and bitter enemy the Chief Spy. After an English degree at Oxford University Lindsey joined the Civil Service, but became a professional author in 1989. Her books are translated into many languages and have been dramatized on BBC Radio 4. Her many prizes include the Premio Colosseo, awarded by the Mayor of Rome `for enhancing the image of Rome', the Sherlock award for Falco as Best Comic Detective and the Crimewriters' Association Cartier Diamond Dagger for lifetime achievement. For more information, please visit www.lindseydavis.co.uk.