It’s 90 AD and Rome rules the world.
Unfortunately, the cruel and sexually deviant Emperor Domitian is in charge, and life is terrifying for those around him.
Domitia Longina is Domitian’s wife. Insecure and frightened due to the fact her husband seems to prefer the bed of others, including his niece, Julia.
Fearful she may be seen off, Longina asks her nephew Lucius to move into the palace and be her spy.
His once noble family has been ostracized since his father plotted to overthrow Nero thirty years earlier, and Lucius has gone from being the son of a senator to studying law. He is not happy when his aunt makes him an offer he can’t refuse.
Lucius, now known as Parthenian, is barely settled into his quarters when he witnesses the murder of a senator. The guards want him dead, but the Empress wants him alive. Being quick witted and loyal, soon Parthenian is spying for everyone.
He befriends a woman named Marcella, not knowing that she is a sorceress. When the emperor decides to stage some gladiatrix games, he chooses Aria to fight. Aria is best friends with Corelia, the emperor’s favourite concubine. Unfortunately, Parhenian too falls in love with the beautiful Corelia, a certain death sentence. But while some want Parthenian dead, someone is protecting him.
Meanwhile, outside the gates of the Imperial Palace lies the Subura, a neighbourhood of Rome even the guards and soldiers avoid. It is the perfect place to practice Christianity, outlawed by the emperor and punishable by death. Still, a few manage to infiltrate the royal staff, leaving Parthenian with something else to worry about.
And just when he thought things couldn’t get worse, Domitian decides to go to battle, and takes Parthenian with him.
Filled with intrigue, dalliances and political corruption, The End of a Dynasty is a page turning historical epic set against the grandeur of Imperial Rome.
I haven’t had the pleasure of reading any other books by David Adkins: this is my first Historical Fiction written by him and I was a bit taken aback by the fact that this is the third installment of a (nameless) series or trilogy, since I thought that it couldn’t be read without incurring in confusion and missing important bits and pieces of the previous books, as is the case with many series.
However, if I hadn’t made a quick research on Goodreads, going through the plots and whatever (little) info I could find on David Adkins, and if I wasn’t in the habit of reading the plot to the very last line, I wouldn’t have even noticed that it wasn’t a standalone…
So, clearly, I didn’t die from misinformation or lack of understanding of what was going on in The End of a Dynasty and neither will you, should you incur in the same mistake. You really shouldn’t, though. Because I am warning you: The End of a Dynasty is part of a series/trilogy!
The beginning was a bit troublesome for me (for example, Parthenian agrees too fast to the Empress’ scheme and while investigating he shows the subtlety of a bright red tomato in an all green garden and I still don’t undestand how he wasn’t dead in three chapters time) but in the end I enjoyed it just fine, in spite of the a bit repetitive writing style and – I don’t believe I’m actually writing this – the over-abundance of dialogue.
I had high expectations, and while I wasn’t exactly blown out off my socks, the story was a pleasant one. Really, I would have been surprised if I hadn’t liked it.
Anyhow, how is it that there aren’t any reviews or ratings for this book?!
I get that Ancient Rome isn’t necessarily an super-interesting subject to everybody as it is to me (I love Historical Fiction set in ancient times and I’m probably conditioned to love everything Roman because of being Italian and by years of Latin and History classes in high-school), but come on, people, you don’t know what you’re missing!
I’m appointing myself Ambassador to Ancient Roman Historical Fiction!
Read more Ancient Roman Historical Fiction, and add David Adkins to your list!
MORE ANCIENT ROMAN HISTORICAL FICTION:
All along the Mediterranean coast, the Roman empire’s richest citizens are relaxing in their luxurious villas, enjoying the last days of summer. The world’s largest navy lies peacefully at anchor in Misenum. The tourists are spending their money in the seaside resorts of Baiae, Herculaneum, and Pompeii.
But the carefree lifestyle and gorgeous weather belie an impending cataclysm, and only one man is worried. The young engineer Marcus Attilius Primus has just taken charge of the Aqua Augusta, the enormous aqueduct that brings fresh water to a quarter of a million people in nine towns around the Bay of Naples. His predecessor has disappeared. Springs are failing for the ﬁrst time in generations. And now there is a crisis on the Augusta’s sixty-mile main line—somewhere to the north of Pompeii, on the slopes of Mount Vesuvius.
Attilius—decent, practical, and incorruptible—promises Pliny, the famous scholar who commands the navy, that he can repair the aqueduct before the reservoir runs dry. His plan is to travel to Pompeii and put together an expedition, then head out to the place where he believes the fault lies. But Pompeii proves to be a corrupt and violent town, and Attilius soon discovers that there are powerful forces at work—both natural and man-made—threatening to destroy him.
The Course of Honor by Lindsey Davis
In ancient Rome, ambitious citizens who aspired to political power, to become one of the ruling elite—a senator, had to follow what was known as “The Course of Honor.” This course had only one unbreakable rule: a senator is forbidden to marry a slave, even a freed slave.
When the soldier Vespasian meets an interesting girl in the imperial palace, he doesn’t know she is a slave in the household of the imperial family. But he is inexorably drawn in by her intelligence and charisma.
Yet as Vespasian slowly rises from near-obscurity and as emperor after emperor plays out their own deadly, seductive games of lust and conquest, the future is something no one could imagine. No one could believe that a country-born army man might win the throne—no one, that is, except a slave girl who, with the future Emperor, begins a daring course of honor of her own.