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Mistress of Rome Paperback – Bargain Price, April 6, 2010

206 customer reviews
Book 1 of 4 in the Empress of Rome Series

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Quinn convincingly conjures the terrifying reign of Emperor Domitian in her solid debut that follows the travails of Thea, a slave girl and mistress to the emperor. While she is tormented by Domitian, she holds her secrets—a gladiator lover, a young son—close. When these facts are brought to Domitian's attention by Thea's jealous rival, Thea takes drastic actions to secure her family. Quinn's command of first-century Rome is matched only by her involvement with her characters; all of them, historical and invented, are compelling and realistic, and she explores their dark sides without crossing into gratuitousness. Readers will finish eager for a sequel, which is a good thing because Quinn has left the door wide open for a follow-up. This should make a splash among devotees of ancient Rome. (Apr.)
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"...for sheer entertainment, drama, and page-turning storytelling, this tumultuous debut novel is well worth reading.
-Library Journal


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 470 pages
  • Publisher: Berkley Trade (April 6, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0425232476
  • ASIN: B003YDXD6I
  • Product Dimensions: 5.7 x 1 x 8.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (206 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,030,121 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

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.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

51 of 55 people found the following review helpful By Jennifer Black VINE VOICE on March 20, 2010
Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Kate Quinn pens an outstanding piece of historical Roman fiction with this outstanding novel. At times a historical romance and at others a first-century political thriller, "Mistress of Rome" is at its core a story of two parallel lives: Lepida Pollia, the spoiled daughter of an ascendant-aristocratic father and her slavegirl, Thea, one of the few survivors from the siege of the Jewish fortress at Masada.

Despite the two young women's differences in social standing, Thea is quickly vying with her mistress for the affections of the barbarian gladiator Arius, and infuriates the young patrician by her success with the fighter. Sold to appease Lepida's wrath, Thea embarks on a road that will take her down an even darker path than through the barracks of the arena, with the only key to her freedom lying in the hands of the emperor, Domitian. But Domitian has a dark side, and a woman from Thea's past envies her position at the emperor's side.

Clever weaving of historical fact, "facts" gleaned from ancient authorship, and original invention makes this a compelling read; historical inaccuracy is minimal and employed for story purposes rather than out of error. The Domitian-era setting was a refreshing one; this is one of the few high-imperial novels that I have come across.

Recommended for readers looking for character-driven plot and excellent development; the heroes and their supporting castmembers are endearing and sympathetic.
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39 of 44 people found the following review helpful By retroredux VINE VOICE on June 17, 2010
Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
I noticed many reviewers here on Amazon say that Mistress of Rome is a "fun" read. I wouldn't use the word fun. Gripping, yes, dramatic, yes, brutal and sad , yes. It's a good book but when you have a story where the two main characters are a 14 Year old slave (who is abused by her mistress and is forced to sleep with her master at 14) and the "hero" is a Gladiator who also has had a brutal life as a slave before being bought to become a gladiator-well, you are not going to get sunshine and rainbows. But you will get an honest portrayal of life in ancient Rome.
3.5 stars.
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20 of 24 people found the following review helpful By Kyle on August 1, 2010
Format: Paperback
ISBN: 0425232476

Series: Not a series but the author is working on companion novels (a prequel and a sequel).

Genre: Historical Fiction/Historical Romance

© April 2010, Berkeley Trade

Kate Quinn's Website

Rating: 5 stars

Available wherever books are sold!

This is the debut of, whom I foresee, to be the next New York Times Bestselling author: Kate Quinn. Mistress of Rome is a fast-paced, emotionally charged, sensual exploration of life in Ancient Rome during the reign of Emperor Domitian. From the first page to the last the reader is instantly embroidered into a world of emotion, sensuality, and political intrigue.

The plot of this story centers around a slave girl, Thea, and her transgression through Roman life. Thea is last survivor of the siege of the Jewish fort of Masada in Israel. Lepida, Thea's mistress (owner), is one of those characters you love to hate. Lepida has a liking to three things: money, power, and men. Arius, is a gladiator (a very successful gladiator) who Lepida decides to target as her next play thing. One problem. Arius and Thea, fall in love. Lepida quickly finds out and sells Thea to a whore house, separating Thea and Arius.

Thea is pregnant and is to sold to a musician who trains her to sing and play the lyre. As her fame grows Thea catches the eye of the emperor. The emperor is intrigued by Athena, Thea's stage name, and deems her his mistress thus beginning her journey as The Mistress of Rome.

The characters in this book are so realistic. The whole way you feel their angst, their pain, and their lust. You grow to love them and some you grow to hate.
Read more ›
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Nancy Kimball on January 26, 2011
Format: Paperback
I really wanted to like this book. As a huge reader of historical fiction and general romance, the story line and first paragraph drew me in.
Then I had to struggle to stay with it.
The constantly changing first person points of view to me were distracting, particularly when the sub heading to show who was speaking was a few pages ago, and while the characterization is strong, the two female leads are so similar in manner of speech and thought (very dark), I often had to stop to really consider who was speaking and found it distracting.
By the time a character entered that I could relate to and lightened the mood somewhat, I was exhausted from the depths of despair the main characters constantly live in and having been in their heads for so long in that rotating first person POV.
The historical inaccuracies to that point were distracting as well. While they may have been made to fit the story, I would rather the story have fit the known facts of that era though this may not bother the general reader.
Where I finally gave up midway through, and I rarely leave a book unfinished, was when the author chose to have the gladiator take in a wounded female dog and name her after his lost love in what I felt to be so over the top symbolic and predictable I couldn't continue anymore.
Which I found very sad, because in a few places of dialogue I see Kate Quinn's brilliance, and one particular passage of narrative covering Arius's months of street fighting was so strong and powerful, evoking emotion on a level not usually found by a first time author.
I would have liked more of that, and a few moments of comedy relief thrown in, and hope her sequel releasing in a few months accomplishes that.
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