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Product Details

  • Paperback: 470 pages
  • Publisher: Berkley Trade (April 6, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0425232476
  • ISBN-13: 978-0425232477
  • ASIN: B003YDXD6I
  • Product Dimensions: 8.1 x 5.5 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (159 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #151,466 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Review

"...for sheer entertainment, drama, and page-turning storytelling, this tumultuous debut novel is well worth reading.
-Library Journal


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 three novels set in ancient Rome: "Mistress of Rome," "Daughters of Rome," and "Empress of the Seven Hills," all of which have been translated into multiple languages.

Kate made the jump from ancient Rome to Renaissance Italy for her fourth and fifth novels, "The Serpent and the Pearl" and "The Lion and the Rose," detailing the early years of the Borgia clan. She also 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

Even though she ended up being one of the main antagonists of the story, she was probably my favorite character.
Julieosis
I am an ancient history buff and thought this was very well done while giving us some historical characters interacting with fictional ones.
Cyntha J. Resare
Every once in a while you get one of those books that is absolutlely impossible to put down until you turn that last page.
Darlene

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

49 of 53 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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34 of 39 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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18 of 22 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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22 of 28 people found the following review helpful By J. Renaud on November 12, 2011
Format: Paperback
A friend recommended this book to me, and I really wanted to like it. However, I hated, hated, hated this book. It was trite, dull, with cliched characters in cliched situations acting unbelievably. I really can't say anything nice about it at all.

If you know Roman historical fiction tropes, "Mistress of Rome" has a familiar plot. Thea, the Jewish slave girl of the slutty mean girl Lady Lepida, falls in love with the studly Celtic barbarian gladiator Arius. When finding out that the gladiator is more interested in her slave than her, Lepida sells Thea to a whorehouse; but Thea, after bearing Arius's son, becomes a popular singer and finds her way into the bed of the insane emperor Domitian, and ends up becoming part of the plot to kill him. But familiar does not mean bad-- this could have been as sexy and exciting as Jeanne Duval's "The Ravishers," which I loved. But "Mistress" failed to deliver the goods. The action scenes were laughable, and the sex scenes were almost non-existent. In fact, it felt a bit like a PG-13 version of "Gladiator," as directed by Ken Russell and written by a third-rate YA author overly fond of sentence fragments.

It's muddled and confusing, with overblown, hackneyed language, with head-hopping and confusing POV shifts. It jumps willy-nilly from first person to third and back again, usually within the same chapter. It was a struggle to keep up with who was who and what was what-- I practically was getting whiplash from the bizarre tonal shifts, from Regency-lite banter to massive death & destruction in the arena scenes, which tried to be "Spartacus: Blood and Sand" but ended up being more like a Meatloaf video with more gore. If that's not cheesy enough, there are even several examples of a big NOOOOO a la Darth Vader in "Revenge of the Sith.
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