Time to Depart
If a Roman Citizen commits any sort of crime they are not put in prison, but given “time to depart”. In other words, they are exiled to a place outside the Empire (to live outside the Empire was considered the worst punishment possible to the Romans). This is why Falco and his oldest friend, Petronius Longinus, Captain of the Aventine Watch, were standing on the quay at Ostia making sure that one of Rome’s top criminals, Balbinus, was sent packing. However, shortly afterwards, there is another outbreak of robbery and murders, which would suggest there is another master criminal ring on the loose in Rome, taking over where Balbinus left off. Petro and Falco are summoned to the palace, where Vespasian gives them orders to work on the case TOGETHER. Falco is also given some private orders. It is believed that there is a leak in the Watch, and Falco has to find him! As you can imagine, this causes a great deal of stress between Falco and Petro – both doubting where the other’s loyalties lie. In his domestic life, Falco also has to contend with looking for new accommodation, as he suspects that in a few months, his Fountain Court apartment will not be big enough for him and Helena. Then, there is the problem of his missing niece, is this connected to the crime ring? Of course, nobody counted on finding a baby in a skip.
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