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Last Act in Palmyra

Falco, Book 6
Narrated by: Gordon Griffin
Series: Marcus Didius Falco, Book 6
Length: 14 hrs and 59 mins
4.4 out of 5 stars (16 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

'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.

©1996 Lindsey Davis (P)2014 Audible Ltd

What listeners say about Last Act in Palmyra

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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Great Story, Wrong Narrator

I've loved the Falco series for a long time as the author has created a great set of characters, a rich world with generous helpings of cynical humour bound together by intriguing plots. I have all the audible versions read by Christian Rodska but unfortunately this narrator does not even come close.
Christian Rodska, who has narrated several other books in the series, is the perfect voice for the main character bringing Falco and the other characters to life. His pacing and tension really draws you in to the world and most importantly his comic timing does justice to the author.
Gordon Griffin however strikes the wrong tone, constantly mispronounces nouns, makes all the characters sound the same so I was often unsure who was talking and makes every comedic moment fall flat.
Even though I love the series I am hesitant to buy any more of the new releases I have been looking forward to because a bad narrator really spoils a good book.

2 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Fun and clever

Cleverly plotted and great characterisation. I loved this series as books and now I love it as audiobooks

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A clever and entertaining series

Lindsey Davis has produced another great tale following Falco and Helena. It's clever, witty, dry humoured and utterly brilliant.
I saw a comment about the narrator, I can agree and have previously been scathing ....but I worked out the answer ..speed it up to at least 1.5x !! Gordon Griffin doesn't do too bad and I think he adds an air of sophistication and culture with his narration which is what the Romans were all about.

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  • DFK
  • 18-09-2019

Sheer fun with a new locale

I wrote a review for this book and posted it right after I finished, but the review disappeared. I'll try again. I've been enjoying these books loads. Fun characters, entertaining plots in interesting locales. This one takes us to points east and it is like an ancient travelogue. Do go along for the ride, but I recommend starting from the first book. The narration is excellent, though a bit slow. I speed it up to 1.25 for Griffin's narrations and find it suits the suspense in the stories better.

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  • Derk
  • 08-06-2017

weak plot and story

I was a big fan of the BBC didius falco stories. The one downside to the BBC version was always the fast pace with which the story was told and unfolded. For this reason I chose this full audio version. Unfortunately I have to conclude that this audio book really disappointed. The narrator was unconvincing (missed the different BBC voices) and the story was tediously slow. Unneeded chapters and poor plots. Also the ending was quite predictable. Perhaps it was just this one book from the series but the former fresh and cocky Marcus was replaced by a lovestruck blundering gentleman. Little bit like the new Bond movie remake. In all I would not recommend the book.

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  • jane
  • 10-02-2015

Missing Christian Rodska

I am a big fan of the Falco series, and whilst I'm enjoying the story I'm afraid the reader is very disappointing. For me Christian Rodska really has this character sewn up, he has made it his own. I have nothing against Gordon Griffin as a reader, he has a very pleasant voice, just not as Falco. I am missing the cheeky, wide-boy that comes across in a Christian Rodska reading

5 people found this helpful

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  • Jai K.
  • 06-09-2019

Not up to normal standard

Frankly boring Silly ridiculous. Like she wrote it in an off year. I’m sorry to say that because I’ve enjoyed this series up till now.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Mehitabel
  • 02-08-2019

Good story, dreadful narrator

A good story and plot was let down by the truly dreadful narration. To debunk what another reviewer has said, I am neither a friend of the author nor an enemy of the narrator. The narrator Gordon Griffin has a peculiarly irritating verbal habit of raising inflection at the end of most of his sentences, and inappropriately and randomly raised inflection elsewhere. It was so distracting that I could not concentrate fully on the story. I had read the book previously, so I know it to be well written, well characterised, and well plotted. The carefully read middle class English accent did not represent plebeian Marcus Didius Falco at all and was best suited to patrician Helena Justina. I don't particularly like Christian Rodska's narration either in the other Falco audio books (too rough), but it is certainly better than the narration in this book.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Video Guy
  • 25-04-2019

Had to abandon this one - sadly

I've loved previous novels but sadly moving to audio has not proved successfu on this. A narrator can add so much, unfortunately this narrator can't carry the story...

1 person found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Beady
  • 06-03-2018

A Hard Act to Follow

Once again Marcus Didius Falco has to find a murderer with the help of his wonderful lady Helena Justina only this time they are chasing around the deserts of the Middle East instead of Rome.and he ends up with another job too. One of my favourite places, Petra figures prominently but they journey all over the area with a travelling theatre group ending,as the title says, in Palmyra where the different strands of the story come together, parts were almost a forgone conclusion but with a couple of clever twists not quite expected but all neatly finished..

1 person found this helpful

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  • ColinB
  • 19-08-2015

A really compelling story

Great story narrated well but not the real Falco (Christian Rodska) and lacks some of the character of other books.

1 person found this helpful

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  • C. A. Mealing
  • 09-06-2015

Descriptive and entertaining

I enjoyed the twists and turns of the story, and the descriptions of the locations a grey deal. I failed to guess the villain! I wasn't convinced about the narrator, and he didn't capture Falco's humorous yet perceptive character as I'd imagined him. This is the first of this series I've had through Audible, and I've read the previous ones, so I suppose I've had plenty of opportunity to form my own opinion. I read reviews first, and had I not already read the books I would have tried the other narrator. So it will be reading for me in future.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Mary Carnegie
  • 29-09-2015

Shame about the reader.

What a letdown after the BBC dramatisations with Anton Lesser, and unabridged readings by Christian Rodska! This is Falco from Surrey, sounding more like a middle-grade civil servant than someone living by his wits and charming everyone with dry humour and a great sense of the absurd. This Falco wouldn't have lasted an hour with Helena Justina...
If it was a 3rd person narration, perhaps it might just have been excusable, but when it's a series with 1st person narrator, and already with more appropriately cast Falcos established, it's hard to understand how this performance was ever commissioned, and worse, published. This is Falco as golf club secretary, Conservative councillor, and absolutely not someone edgy, sexy, funny and ingenious.

2 people found this helpful

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  • John L.
  • 20-03-2015

What a let down

Would you try another book written by Lindsey Davis or narrated by Gordon Griffin?

Yes, previously I have always enjoyed the Falco series. The narration was fine, the story long drawn out and boring.

Has Last Act in Palmyra put you off other books in this genre?

No, I must assume this was written at a low time.

Which character – as performed by Gordon Griffin – was your favourite?

Helena

If you could play editor, what scene or scenes would you have cut from Last Act in Palmyra?

About tow thirds of the middle.

Any additional comments?

I can't believe I stuck with it to the end.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Mrs. A. Kaye
  • 09-10-2020

Last act was a long time coming

I am a great fan with of the author, tge, series and the character but this book needed editing. It was, simply too long and the story and plot foundered in the detail. A good editor wouod improve this. Beautifully read as always