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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 members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    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.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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

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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    2 out of 5 stars
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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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    3 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
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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

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
  • 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.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Stephen Foulk
  • 08-05-2018

Feel I have to comment on the narrator

There are a number of comments giving the narrator one star and they almost put me off getting this book but having done so I can only conclude they must either be relatives of the earlier narrator or simply quite unable to accept a different voice. I thought the narration was top-notch and within minutes fully accepted Gordon Griffin as the voice of Falco.

Regarding the book in general, well, if you're listening to book 6, you probably know what to expect and this is more of the same; an enjoyable ramble with Falco as he once again undertakes a mission from the royal family, this time in a far-flung corner of the empire. I find the Falco novels to be 'comfort listening', which may, or may not, be an insult to the author - it certainly isn't meant to be and I'm sure I will wend my way through the rest and then probably move on the the Flavia books.

More power to Ms Davis and more power to Mr Griffin!

  • Overall
    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..

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • B. A. Chapman
  • 03-10-2016

Great Naration of Falco's Last Act in Palmira

Where does Last Act in Palmyra rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

Amongst the best.

What other book might you compare Last Act in Palmyra to, and why?

These Falco novels, so well read, come 2nd in my preferred books to the Dick Francis novels read by Tony Britton

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

Falco, with Helena a close second.

Did you have an emotional reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

Always laughing (so well written) and cried when Helena was bitten by a snake ( even though I have read the printed book several times).

Any additional comments?

Top quality audiobooks help me relax and go to sleep as I can no longer hold a book for too long. I have many cassette versions, but have just purchased a Zip-Tunes speaker set for my Sansa Clip so I no longer have to wear earphones. Brilliant.

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

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • 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.

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

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Elaine
  • 21-01-2015

A great road story

This was as great as other falco books
Although I was looking forward to it with trepidation as I love rodska renditions I soon got used to the narrator and found I couldn't put it down - twist may have been a bit obvious but a great ride getting there