Whats it all about?:
First century Rome: a world of depravity, blood, and secrets. The enigmatic Emperor Domitian watches over all, fearing murder from every side . . . except from the woman who fascinates him most.
Thea is a slave girl from Judaea; musical, wary, and passionate. Purchased as a toy for the spiteful heiress Lepida Pollia, Thea and her mistress will become rivals for the love of Arius the Barbarian, Rome’s newest and most savage gladiator. His love brings Thea the first happiness of her life – quickly ended when a jealous Lepida tears them apart.
As Lepida goes on to wreak havoc in the life of a new husband and his family, Thea remakes herself as a polished singer for Rome’s aristocrats. Unwittingly, she attracts another admirer in the charismatic Emperor of Rome. But Domitian’s games have a darker side, and Thea finds herself fighting for both soul and sanity. Many have tried to destroy the Emperor: a vengeful gladiator, an upright senator, a tormented soldier, a streetwise child, a Vestal Virgin. But in the end, the life of the brilliant and ruthless Domitian lies in the hands of one woman: a slave girl who has come to be called the Mistress of Rome . . .
Based on the life and death of one of Rome’s most depraved Emperors.
What did I think?:
From the instant I started reading this book, I knew I was going to love it. Kate Quinn combines beautiful writing, historical detail and suspense to create a fantastic novel that I couldn’t put down. There are a host of wonderful characters including a heroic slave girl Thea, her evil (and I’m talking pure evil) mistress Lepida Pollia, Lepida’s unfortunate husband Marcus, Marcus’s son Paullinus and Arius the Barbarian were just some of my favourites.
The story is told from the points of view of both Thea and Lepida, I thought this was a brilliant way to get into the minds of these two characters, and believe me – you definitely want to know what they’re thinking! A dramatic build up to the ending left me in no doubt that I thoroughly enjoyed this novel and can’t wait to read the next book in the series. I believe her second novel – Daughters of Rome is actually a prequel to this novel and I’ll be checking that out fairly soon.
Would I recommend it?:
But of course!
Star rating (out of 5):