Mistress of Rome
By Kate Quinn
(Berkley, Paperback, 9780425232477, 480pp.)
Publication Date: April 6, 2010
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An exciting debut: a vivid, richly imagined saga of ancient Rome from a masterful new voice in historical fiction
Thea is a slave girl from Judaea, passionate, musical, and guarded. Purchased as a toy for the spiteful heiress Lepida Pollia, Thea will become her mistress's rival for the love of Arius the Barbarian, Rome's newest and most savage gladiator. His love brings Thea the first happiness of her life-that is 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 Vestal Virgin. But in the end, the life of the brilliant and paranoid Domitian lies in the hands of one woman: the Emperor's mistress.
Kate Quinn attended Boston University, where she earned a Bachelor’s and Master’s degree in Classical Voice. The daughter of a history major, she grew up with anecdotes about Julius Caesar and Alexander the Great, wrote her first story at age seven, and, after seeing Spartacus, resolved someday to write a book about a gladiator. That ambition turned into Mistress of Rome. She is also the author of Daughters of Rome and Empress of the Seven Hills.
- From the moment we meet Arius we are also introduced to his inner demon. At his core the Barbarian is a noble and kind-hearted soul, while the voice that haunts him is a ruthless killer. How do you think this maniacal monologue ever began within him? How can his son avoid inheriting this same curse?
"...for sheer entertainment, drama, and page-turning storytelling, this tumultuous debut novel is well worth reading.