Mistress of Rome by Kate Quinn


‘A nicely done short that serves as an interim between Empress of the Seven Hills and Lady of the Eternal City. Certainly got me interested in reading the rest of the series.”   That is what I wrote after reading The Three Fates, a fill-in short between books 3 and 4.  With that bit of exposure to the author I plunged into book 1, Mistress of Rome having had my interest duly piqued.  I must say that even with that bit of exposure I was still blown away with this tale of love, ambition and just plain survival.  The story takes place during the reign of Domitian, or Lord and God, as he preferred to be called and is an interwoven tale that brings together a most disparate group of people.  Thea, a slave who becomes Domitian’s mistress….Lepida, a rich, spoiled Roman woman consumed with ambition…Arius, a gladiator known as The Barbarian to name a few.  Rome was a dangerous place and even more so when coupled with exposure to the Imperial court and the author does a marvelous job in making the reader feel the palpable anxiety whenever one is in the presence of the Emperor.  Domitian is portrayed as a capable ruler but with a mercurial streak of sadistic behavior.  While he does inflict a lot of pain, it is the character of Lepida that I found the most delight in loathing.  Simply put, she is a devil-clawed seeker of pure naked ambition,  Those are but two of the well done characters, characters that draw you into a comfortable embracing of what makes them tick.  As to the tale itself, the plots are many, the twists and turns are eye-opening.  If there is anything that I would complain about it would be these two things: (1. now I have another author to follow through this series and then her books on the Borgias…so many good things to read takes away from my time to write  and (2. another author whose writing is so good that I despair in my own attempts.  🙂      5 stars  Hooverbookreviews says, you gotta read this.


Kate Quinn is a native of southern California. She attended Boston University, where she earned a Bachelor’s and Master’s degree in Classical Voice. A lifelong history buff, she has written four novels in the Empress of Rome Saga, and two books in the Italian Renaissance detailing the early years of the infamous Borgia clan. All have been translated into multiple languages.

Kate has succumbed to the blogging bug, and keeps a blog filled with trivia, pet peeves, and interesting facts about historical fiction. She and her husband now live in Maryland with a small black dog named Caesar, and her interests include opera, action movies, cooking, and the Boston Red Sox.

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