This is the third historical fiction book in the Rome series by Kate Quinn.
This novel focuses on the reign of Emperor Trajan and covers a period of fifteen years. The emperor's niece, Vibia Sabina longs to see the world and has not forgotten her first love, the former gladiator Vix, who returns to Rome to seek fame and glory as a soldier. Their romance is interrupted by her marriage to the emperor's ward, the ambitious Hadrian, but they are always united by their mutual love for Emperor Trajan, their friendship with the kind and honest Titus and their duty to Rome. Like the two previous books in the series, this one is about strong, independent characters, who are trapped in a world of political ambitions, plotting, and prophesies, and have to fight for their happiness, even though fate doesn't always grant them their dreams.
The atmosphere is great, as Kate Quinn once again creates an amazingly vivid background enriched with details of everyday life in Rome, descriptions of the military campaigns and the life of soldiers while at war, as well as details of the customs, appearance and architecture of all the Roman provinces that Sabina visits. Historical detail is excellent, and even though there are some inaccuracies, the author has used this fascinating period of Roman history, with all the scheming, passions and battles, to create an excellently written, fast-paced, captivating novel. Although not all characters are likable, as all good stories need their villains, they are all very well developed. Also, some of the main characters from the previous novels, Daughters of Rome (Rome 2)
and Mistress of Rome
, are back, which brilliantly links the storylines, without however making it necessary to read the novels in the order they were written.
I really loved this historical novel as much as the previous two, and since the novel ends on a cliffhanger and promises a sequel, I can't wait for the fourth book in this series.
The book includes a historical note and an excerpt from "Mistress of Rome".
This book is also published as Empress of Rome (Rome 3)