The first in an unforgettable historical saga from the New York Times bestselling author of The Alice Network and The Huntress.
“So gripping, your hands are glued to the book, and so vivid it burns itself into your mind’s eye and stays with you long after you turn the final page.”—Diana Gabaldon, #1 New York Times bestselling author
First-century Rome: One young woman will hold the fate of an empire in her hands.
Thea, a captive from Judaea, is a clever and determined survivor hiding behind a slave’s docile mask. Purchased as a toy for the spoiled heiress Lepida Pollia, Thea evades her mistress’s spite and hones a secret passion for music. But when Thea wins the love of Rome’s newest and most savage gladiator and dares to dream of a better life, the jealous Lepida tears the lovers apart and casts Thea out.
Rome offers many ways for the resourceful to survive, and Thea remakes herself as a singer for the Eternal ’City’s glittering aristocrats. As she struggles for success and independence, her nightingale voice attracts a dangerous new admirer: the Emperor himself. But the passions of an all-powerful man come with a heavy price, and Thea finds herself fighting for both her soul and her destiny.
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 Rome’s most powerful man lies in the hands of one woman: the Emperor’s mistress.
APPLE BOOKS REVIEW
The first book in Kate Quinn’s Empress of Rome saga brings to life the tumult of Rome under Emperor Domitian. The powder keg of a story centers on the passion between Thea, a Jewish slave, and Arius, a gladiator. Their relationship is hugely scandalous, and when Thea’s ruthless mistress, Lepida, gets involved, events careen toward disaster. Quinn uses multiple points of view to create vivid, relatable characters. Her thorough historical research makes every detail of the story—from the surroundings to the characters’ motives—gripping and believable.
Quinn convincingly conjures the terrifying reign of Emperor Domitian in her solid debut that follows the travails of Thea, a slave girl and mistress to the emperor. While she is tormented by Domitian, she holds her secrets a gladiator lover, a young son close. When these facts are brought to Domitian's attention by Thea's jealous rival, Thea takes drastic actions to secure her family. Quinn's command of first-century Rome is matched only by her involvement with her characters; all of them, historical and invented, are compelling and realistic, and she explores their dark sides without crossing into gratuitousness. Readers will finish eager for a sequel, which is a good thing because Quinn has left the door wide open for a follow-up. This should make a splash among devotees of ancient Rome.
Customer ReviewsSee All
Mistress of Rome
I was looking for a more historical novel about roman times. I would say this falls more into a mildly romantic novel. All said, I plowed through it but there wasn't enough real meat to it.
Mistress of Rome
One of the best stories ever told! Highly recommend! I don’t like historical fiction but this book had me hooked!