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The Wedding Shroud - A Tale of Ancient Rome (Tales of Ancient Rome Book 1) [Kindle Edition]

Elisabeth Storrs
4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (225 customer reviews)

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Book Description

"All the drama and sensuality expected of an historical romance, plus a sensitivity to the realities of life in a very different time and world..." Ursula Le Guin

100+ Five star reviews

In 406 BC, to seal a tenuous truce, the young Roman Caecilia is wedded to Vel Mastarna, an Etruscan nobleman from the city of Veii. The fledgling Republic lies only twelve miles across the Tiber from its neighbor, but the cities are from opposing worlds so different are their customs and beliefs. Leaving behind a righteous Rome, Caecilia is determined to remain true to Roman virtues while living among the sinful Etruscans. Instead she finds herself tempted by a hedonistic culture which offers pleasure and independence to women as well as an ancient religion that gives her a chance to delay her destiny. Yet Mastarna and his people also hold dark secrets and, as war looms, Caecilia discovers that Fate is not so easy to control and that she must finally choose where her allegiance lies.

Exploring themes of destiny versus self-determination, and tolerance versus prejudice, The Wedding Shroud is Roman fiction at its best which vividly brings Ancient Rome and Etruria to life while accenting the lives of women in ancient history.

The Wedding Shroud is the first book in the Tales of Ancient Rome series. It was judged runner-up in the 2012 Sharp Writ Book Awards in general fiction and was a finalist in the Kindle Book Review Best Kindle Book Awards in literary fiction. Elisabeth's next book, The Golden Dice, is now available. The third book, Call to Juno, is currently being written.


Editorial Reviews

Review

'All the drama and sensuality of an historical romance, plus a sensitivity to the realities of life in a very different time and world...'
Ursula Le Guin


The Wedding Shroud was judged runner-up in the 2012 Sharp Writ Book Awards in general fiction
and was a finalist in the 2013 The Kindle Book Review Best Indie Book Awards

"WOW! I think this is the best book I've read in the SWBA."
'This book is a fabulous read, with interesting characters and plot, as well as fascinating historical details.'
Judges Comments - Sharp Writ Book Awards

'Elisabeth Storrs gives us a complex heroine, grappling with issues of spirituality and culture in ways that are non-cliché and refreshing.'
Elizabeth Jane, Historical Novels Review


'The fear of death but the zest to live - Elisabeth Storrs skillfully recreates the dilemma of a young woman torn between two of Italy's ancient cultures.'
Isolde Martyn, Author of The Maiden and the Unicorn


'Storrs should be proud of herself for this gem of a book.' Ben Kane, Author of The Forgotten Legion

'With her page-turning story, Storrs revivifies a long-ago past while reminding us that it's a place utterly unlike the world we know: the mark of a skilled historical novelist.'
Sarah Johnson, Reading The Past Litblog (Book Reviews Editor, Historical Novels Review)


About the Author

Elisabeth Storrs has long had a passion for the history, myths and legends of the ancient world. Her curiosity piqued by an Etruscan sarcophagus depicting a couple embracing for eternity, she discovered the little known story of the struggle between Etruscan Veii and Republican Rome and the inspiration to write the Tales of Ancient Rome series.

Elisabeth graduated from Sydney University in Arts Law, having studied Classics. She lives with her husband and two sons in Sydney, Australia, and over the years has worked as a solicitor, corporate lawyer and governance consultant.

The Wedding Shroud, the first novel in her Tales of Ancient Rome series, was judged runner-up in the 2012 Sharp Writ Book Awards for general fiction, and was a finalist in the 2013 Kindle Book Review Best Kindle Book Awards in literary fiction. The Golden Dice was judged runner-up in the 2013 Sharp Writ Book Awards, and was named as one of the top memorable reads of 2013 by Sarah Johnson, the reviews editor for Historical Novels Review. The third book, Call to Juno, is currently being written.

Additionally, Dying For Rome:Lucretia's Tale is the first story in Elisabeth's Short Tales Of Ancient Rome, a new short story collection retelling the legends and history of Rome from a fresh perspective.

Product Details

  • File Size: 780 KB
  • Print Length: 462 pages
  • Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
  • Publisher: Cornelian Press; 1 edition (January 6, 2014)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B008PHH7W4
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #23,718 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
69 of 70 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Compelling Story of Ancient Etruria and Rome July 30, 2012
Format:Kindle Edition
Rome and Veii - 406. B.C. Eighteen year old Caecilia, the orphaned daughter of a plebian Tribune and his patrician wife, is given in marriage by her maternal uncle and adoptive father Aemilius to Etruscan nobleman, Vel Mastarna. The political marriage is ostensibly intended to cement a shaky truce between the two warring cities. Caecilia has formed attachments to two young Roman patricians, her cousin Marcus and his best friend Drusus; she feels no attraction to Mastarna, a battle scarred enemy twice her age. Moreover, she justifiably fears entering an alien culture where she could be held hostage, or suffer a worse fate if war breaks out, but duty, honor, and Roman law command her obedience. Caecilia submits, but not without some protest and strong reservations she must keep to herself.

The distance from Rome to Veii is only twelve miles, but during that short journey Caecilia displays courage when the small caravan is attacked by Gallic marauders. Impressed by his bride's fortitude, Mastarna dubs her bellatrix (female warrior). But Caecilia is no comic book heroine; she's an intelligent, innocent, and frightened young woman in dangerous territory--a psychologically complex, three-dimensional character, as is her patient yet sometimes truculent and brooding Etruscan husband.

Once in Veii, Cecilia is cast into a social and political vortex among those who welcome her and those who despise her, those who are true and those who deceive. Brought up in the Stoic tradition to be a virtuous daughter of Rome, she is at first scandalized and then tempted by Etruscan hedonism, the ancient equivalent of a "Sex, drugs and rock and roll" culture.
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44 of 45 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A Window into Ancient Etruria January 12, 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I am a little picky about ancient history because I am a Classics major and have taught Latin for many years. I bought the book because it was on sale in the Kindle edition, and I was ready to be disappointed. I was won over about halfway through. It is much stronger in the Etruscan sections than when Caecilia is in Rome. The author's writing gets better as the book continues, and she is clearly more comfortable writing about Etruria than Etruscan Rome. If you love Rome, you may be put off by her unsympathetic portrayal of the early Republic. The characters are not well-rounded, and the dialogue seems stiff. When she reaches Etruria, this all disappears. I found myself amazed at the detail. Do we really know this much about the Etruscans these days? I have been buying books on the Etruscans to find out, and so far I've been able to find her sources for most of it. It has inspired me to read more about this fascinating people. My remaining qualm is the drug use described in the sections on religion. I have not found anything that even suggests it in the literature. I was also disappointed that it ended as a cliff-hanger. It would have been equally interesting if she had simply indicated that Caecilia's story would continue. I look forward to buying the sequel.
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23 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Compelling story of Ancient Rome and the Etruscans July 30, 2012
Format:Kindle Edition
Talk about the difficulties in arranged marriages! In The Wedding Shroud, author Elisabeth Storrs tells the story of a Roman woman, Caecilia, who is wed to a complete stranger, the Etruscan noble, Vel Marstarna, in order to cement a truce between the two nations. Caecilia has already experienced the difficulties of being the offspring of a marriage between a commoner and a patrician, never fully fitting into Roman society, when she is further thrust into the uneasy position of being a Roman in the Etruscan culture. Caecilia finds herself living among people with a different language, different customs, different gods, different attitudes towards sexuality, and very different attitudes towards a women's role in society.

At every turn her own beliefs in what is right and wrong are challenged. Even the tentative relationships she develops with her servant, her stepson, and her mother-in-law threaten her sense of what it means to be Roman. Caecilia's inability to reconcile her love and loyalty to Rome with her growing love for her husband and his people leads her into greater and greater personal danger as she becomes the pawn of contending religious and political forces.

The Wedding Shroud is a masterful piece of writing, deftly weaving the narrative and the historical details into a book I could not put down. I cared passionately about Caecilia and all the other characters in the book, and I began to care about the Etruscans and the Roman people as well. I am anxiously awaiting the sequel to discover what happens next.

Mary Lou Locke
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18 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Bursting with originality July 30, 2012
Format:Kindle Edition
It has been almost a year since I picked up the work of an Australian historical novelist.

The last 'Aussie' novel I read was the epic `Shogun' by Sydneysider James Clavell. It was a work that was full of rich detail and also presented a meeting of two very different worlds: those of Protestant England and feudal Japan. Since historical fiction focusing on the meeting of different cultures has always intrigued me, I decided to pick up `The Wedding Shroud' by another Sydneysider, Elisabeth Storrs, since this read came highly recommended. I should say up front that I really enjoyed this novel and it is one of the best that I've read for a while.

Firstly I really enjoyed the setting and the angle, which were wholly original. This may be hard to believe, given that a zillion historical novels have been churned out dealing with Ancient Rome. However Storrs chose to deal with the less frequented period of pre-Imperial Rome, a Rome still struggling to safeguard its own existence.

It is a breath of fresh air to read the work of a novelist which deeply examines the differences between Rome and other cultures of its day. We finally have a novelist who saw fit to plant her Roman protagonist in a different culture - not one where the Roman must carry out an act of subterfuge behind enemy lines (as in Rosemary Sutcliffe's `The Eagle of the Ninth') but one in which a Roman - and more interestingly: a FEMALE Roman - is thrust into a different culture to which she must somehow adapt.

This world is that of the Etruscans (who once held Rome as their colony), who Storrs depicts in profound, intimate detail, with a sheen of care gleaming off every last word.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars A Wonderful love story/history book!
This is a wonderful love story/history book. I liked it so much I bought the next one, the Golden Dice to read and follow the
story line. Read more
Published 19 days ago by Suela
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
wife loved it
Published 24 days ago by steve
4.0 out of 5 stars a woman's book
I enjoyed the wedding shroud and wld recommend it. Be warned, though, as it's part of a series and the ending is not final. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Maryann Mouzalas
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
Engaging.
Published 1 month ago by Amazon Customer
3.0 out of 5 stars I liked the book but I found the names unusual and ...
I liked the book but I found the names unusual and they were difficult for me. Such ancient names and trying to keep them all in place was a chore. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Lorraine M. Berry
5.0 out of 5 stars Intriguing story
Well written, good timing for the story telling. Lots of information on the Etruscan civilization. overall good reading. Recommend this book for lovers of historical fiction.
Published 2 months ago by FG
5.0 out of 5 stars Etruscans
Very much enjoyed this story. Historical read about a Roman girl and her trials from childhood through young adult. Romance and politics of the time.
Published 2 months ago by Cc
4.0 out of 5 stars Worthwhile Visit to an Exotic Culture
Four and a half stars, actually. A proper but well educated (for the time) young woman in ancient Rome is married into Etruscan society as part of a treaty agreement. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Emmi331
5.0 out of 5 stars The Wedding Shroud-A Tale of Ancient Rome (Tales of Ancient Rome)
Plan on purchasing the sequels....
Difficulty prying myself away from the story, it ended too soon! Read more
Published 2 months ago by Grammy Dani
5.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating, well told
I found this tale to be very enjoyable. I'm enthralled by the history and the characters read as real people. The writing is superb as well. Read more
Published 2 months ago by K. Baker
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More About the Author

Elisabeth Storrs has long had a passion for the history, myths and legends of the ancient world. She graduated from University of Sydney in Arts Law, having studied Classics. Her curiosity piqued by an Etruscan sarcophagus depicting a couple embracing for eternity, she discovered the little known story of the struggle between Etruscan Veii and Republican Rome and the inspiration to write the TALES OF ANCIENT ROME series.

Her debut novel, THE WEDDING SHROUD was published by Pier 9 Murdoch Books in Australia and New Zealand in 2010. It is the first novel in the series. When Pier 9 was taken over in 2012, Elisabeth chose to retain all rights to THE WEDDING SHROUD and independently published digital and paperback editions globally. She has since independently published the sequel, THE GOLDEN DICE. Both books have been judged runner-up in the Sharp Writ Book Awards in 2012 and 2013 respectively. CALL TO JUNO, the third book in the series, is currently being written. DYING FOR ROME: LUCRETIA'S TALE is the first story in her new short story collection.

Researched and written over a period of fifteen years, THE TALES OF ANCIENT ROME vividly describe the world of Etruria, a fantastic civilization ultimately destroyed by Rome but which heavily influenced its conqueror's culture from republican into imperial times. There have been very few novels that have explored the world of the Etruscans and the early Roman Republic which makes the series unusually engrossing reads for historical fiction lovers.

Elisabeth lives with her husband and two sons in Sydney, Australia, and over the years has worked as a solicitor, corporate lawyer and corporate governance consultant. She is one of the founders of the Historical Novel Society Australasia, and a director of the NSW Writers' Centre. Feel free to contact her at elisabeth@elisabethstorrs.com.

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