Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Daughters of Rome-Kate Quinn

Daughters of Rome
Kate Quinn
Berkley, Apr 5 2011, $15.00
ISBN 9780425238974

In 69 A.D. Cornelia is the paragon of a Roman politician’s wife as she expects to one day soon become the empress. Their cousin Lollia is used by men in the family as a pawn to gain favors with the affluent. Another cousin Diana chooses to stay out of the elite arena as her preference is as a spectator at chariot racing.

Otho leads a bloody coup that ends with the Emperor Galba dead after a reign of seven months following Nero’s suicide. Cornelia’s dream died with her spouse. Marcella must adapt having manipulated Galba. All four females struggle to survive as two more emperors follow in the "Year of the Four Emperors."

This work of biographical fiction looks closely at the impact of the ‘Year of the Four Emperors" had on four women. Each of the women is fully developed while the men in their lives serve as background catalysts on the feminist stage. The two sisters are fascinating protagonists turned to antagonists as Cornelia mourns what she felt was her divine right lost with her husband’s death and Marcella turns from historian to Machiavellian emperor maker and breaker. The cousins are fully developed but less influential. A prequel to the author’s Mistress of Rome, ancient historical fiction fans will enjoy this intriguing look at the disorderly first year after Nero’s death.

Harriet Klausner

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