Kate Quinn, Mistress of Rome Reviews

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“One of the better historical fictions about Rome”


written by Frank_Matinez on 07/02/2013

I had read "Daughters of Rome" before reading this book and enjoyed it. This one was just as good. Quinn has a beautiful way of writing history. Thea is a slave girl and has been one for quite some time. Captured from a defeated city, she has worked for many people until her pre-teens when she is bought to be a maid for a spoiled girl named Lepida. Lepida resents Thea's intelligence and when she finds Thea with a gladiator that she would like to have as well, Thea is sold to a brothel. While Thea struggles out of the brothel and into a role as a famous musician, her Gladiator must fight countless battles, surviving against all odds, and her foe Lepida, is slowly coming up the ranks in Roman society. Thea is an interesting character. She has many personality quirks and really isn't afraid of too much, which is sometimes a flaw for her. She's not afraid to say what she thinks as well, and that also gets her into trouble. But she's a likable character, and you can feel yourself sympathizing with her over her plight. Her Gladiator I didn't care for as much. He's a little rough and while I can understand her wanting freedom with anything, he just isn't as relatable of a character to me. Lepida is downright annoying and you can't help but wish she'll meet a horrible demise even when she is a pre-teen. There are plenty of other characters of course, from the kindly father of Lepida to the stern and slightly deranged Emperor. And they all have their place. I can't say that this book had any unnecessary characters. The plot was well done. I can't comment on how accurate this is for Roman history, certainly quite a few of the characters are made up, but Quinn is able to present it in a way that if this history is true, it is memorable. It's written with a modern tone too, so if you're expecting authentic voice in this book, it's not here. Some of the writing is rather brutal. There's violence, abuse, self-mutilation, and many other mature topics. It's all done as tastefully as it can be, but still might not be appropriate for readers who don't handle reading those types of things well. But the story is magnetic and I stayed up far too late on a work night to read it through. I just had a hard time putting it down. I'd give this book 4.5 stars. Very imaginative, compelling characters, and a bleary eyed morning from staying up all night reading it; it has all the right components.

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“A fantastically fast-paced book that I just could not...”


written by laura22 on 29/08/2010

A fantastically fast-paced book that I just could not put down! Quinn conjures such a vibrant and vivid picture of the Roman Empire through fist-person character narratives that you'll literally feel like you've been transported to another era. One of the most powerfully interesting, emotionally turbulent and breathtakingly original books I have ever read. There is nothing dull about this historical novel! I get bored of books so easily I just can't believe how this author made me read every page in detail - I can't wait for her next book I think 'Daughters of Rome' out next year.

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“Mistress of Rome ”


written by Harriet Klausner on 20/02/2010

Mistress of Rome
Kate Quinn
Berkley, Apr 6 2010, $15.00
ISBN 9780425232477

In the reign of Emperor Domitian, Thea of Judaea lives in Rome having been purchased as a slave to Lepida Pollia. However, her owner becomes spiteful and outraged when the Jew and Arius the Barbarian gladiator become lovers. Lepida plans to end their relationship as she wants the savage as her pet.

Instead Thea survives as a singer concealing her son from her enemies. However, the Emperor Domitan becomes obsessed with Thea and makes her his present toy. She survives again her new lover's excesses only to have Lepida expose her to the Emperor of having a secret lover Arius and an offspring. Thea knows she must do something to save her family (her son and her lover), but how remains out of reach.

Mistress of Rome is a great late first century historical thriller driven by a strong cast especially the title character. Thea is a great lead protagonist, but in many ways Rome circa 82 AD owns the tale as the city comes across dark and decadent starting at the top with the brutal Emperor. Readers will relish this deep look at the Roman Empire ruled by a paranoid emperor who has cause for his paranoia, which he caused in the first place.

Harriet Klausner

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