The Book Worm: Review: The Silver Pigs

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Review: The Silver Pigs

lindsey davis, the silver pigs, book review


The Silver Pigs is the classic novel which introduced readers around the world to Marcus Didius Falco, a private informer with a knack for trouble, a tendency for bad luck, and a frequently incovenient drive for justice. 

When Marcus Didius Falco encounters the young and very pretty Sosia Camillina in the Forum, he senses immediately that there is something amiss. When she confesses that she is fleeing for her life, Falco offers to help her and, in doing so, he gets himself mixed up in a deadly plot involving stolen ingots, dangerous and dark political machinations, and, most hazardous of all, one Helena Justina, a brash, indominable senator's daughter connected to the very traitors that Falco has sworn to expose.
Genre: historical mystery

Publishing date: September 2011 (for the current paperback version being sold by Amazon right now; I own the Portuguese translation of an earlier print)

Offensive content: Nothing to report.

The Silver Pigs is book one in a long series of mystery and suspense books with first century Rome (and the Roman Empire) as background. And it is one of my favorite book series of all time. I have read each and every one of those twenty books, and I'm now onto the new series, which features Flavia Albia (Marcus' adoptive daughter) as the main character. 

While The Silver Pigs are written in Lindsey Davis' straight-to-the-point style similarly to some of her other books I have reviewed here before (The Course of Honor and Master and God), it benefits from a bit of everything. There's mystery and suspense, there's romance and, most importantly, there's amazing humor in this book. Some pages will make you laugh out loud, others will make you wonder where the story is going, and others will make you want to whack Marcus on the back of his head. But you will never be bored. Most of the characters are fictional but the story is so well weaved within the historical context that it is totally believable. 

While the Roman empire is one of my favorite reading subjects, I must confess that before reading these books I had mostly a scholarly approach to Roman history. In Lindsey Davis' books, the day to day live of Roman people actually comes to life. I learned a lot from these books and I have never faced first century Rome the same way again after reading them.  

As to the specific story, Marcus is an aspiring writer working as a private informer (which I guess would be the equivalent of a private detective in modern times) while his chance at fame doesn't come along. After a chance encounter at the Forum, he embarks on a dangerous adventure that will ultimately unravel a web of corruption and the whereabouts of a load of missing silver ingots (the "silver pigs" as they were called at the time). This is also the book where Marcus meets Helena Justina, who will later become his wife, and Helena is one lady worth meeting.

There is a happy ending in this book, but this is not a pure romance novel. It is, more than anything, a mystery book. A very funny and well written historical mystery book and I totally recommend it.

Happy readings, 

the book worm, book blog


  1. I've not heard of this book or author but I'm going to find out after reading your review. Thanks for sharing with us at #AnythingGoes

    1. Thank you Sue! I'm sure you'll like this series. In case you're looking for stand alone books by the same author, I've post reviews for two in the blog (Master and God & The Course of Honor). Both are equally amazing, though without the funny streak of the Falco series.

  2. This will definitely have to be my next choice, as I am overdue for a fiction piece. Thanks for linking up to Literacy Musing Mondays; I hope you come back again this week.

    1. I'm sure you'll like it! Thank you for stopping by!

  3. I think I'd enjoy this series! Thanks so much for linking this up at Booknificent Thursday this week!

    1. I'm pretty sure you would! Have a wonderful weekend!


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