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Feast of Sorrow: A Novel of Ancient Rome Hardcover – April 25, 2017
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"If true gastronomy resides at the intersection of food, art and culture, then Crystal King's debut novel can only be described as a gastronomical delight . . . .Every page oozes with remarkable insights . . . satisfying, but readers are left hungry for more." (Associated Press)
“In her addictively readable first novel . . . the food lore is fascinating and the time period is inherently dramatic . . . .[A]ficionados of all things SPQR will eat this up.” (Kirkus Reviews)
"Finely paced. . . . the novel combines exotic menus with the melodrama of a Greek tragedy. King’s debut is a compelling historical drama with an appetizing center." (Booklist)
"King’s descriptions of the food and entertainment are exquisite, her characters are beautifully drawn, and events and people of the times are deftly woven throughout . . . A delight to the senses, King’s debut novel is to be savored and devoured." (Library Journal, starred review)
“Crystal King's debut is a feast for the senses, bringing ancient Rome to dark, vibrant life. Politics, intrigue, danger, and passion mix deliciously in this tale of a young slave vaulted into the corridors of power as personal chef to the ancient world's greatest gourmet. Not to be missed!” (Kate Quinn, author of Mistress of Rome)
"Sometimes you just want a big, fat, juicy read and Crystal King’s debut novel fits the bill. . . . Romance, power, politics and mouth-watering meals described in detail. . . . We think we’ve just discovered the Food Channel’s first miniseries." (The Huffington Post)
“Through the lens of a slave in ancient Rome, Crystal King illuminates a realm of seemingly impossible gluttony and excess, along with every other deadly sin. In the household of outrageous gourmand Apicius, he of extraordinarily decadent mores, one man, a slave, Thrasius, provides the sole ethical center. Feast of Sorrow is impossible to put down.”
(Randy Susan Meyers, bestselling author of Accidents of Marriage)
"Crystal King’s debut novel, Feast of Sorrow, tells the story of Apicius, the notorious gourmand of ancient Rome, from the viewpoint of his slave and cook Thrasius. It’s a dark and engrossing read, and provides an evocative new perspective on the rule of Tiberius." (Emily Hauser, author of For the Most Beautiful)
"Crystal King has written a delicious feast of a book, one that allows us to not only see, but also taste ancient Rome in all its dark and varied appetites." (Yael Goldstein Love, author of Overture)
"The historical world of Feast of Sorrow lives and breathes, and it is a delight to follow its characters’ struggle for happiness and survival amidst the simmering peril of Rome’s great houses. Even if you’re not a foodie drawn to novels of ancient Rome, this immersive, sensorily rich page-turner will take you for a delicious and unforgettable ride." (Tim Weed, author of Will Poole’s Island)
‘An engaging foray into the treacherous world of Claudio-Julian Rome from a fresh perspective. Who knew that the gourmand Apicius was larger than life? King deftly serves up intrigue, scandal and heartbreak with lashings of exotic sauces, mouth-watering recipes and the occasional drop of poison. Highly recommended.” (Elisabeth Storrs, author of the series Tales of Ancient Rome)
"The ancient Rome of Crystal King’s Feast of Sorrow is filled with delectable dishes and astonishing injustice, deep loyalties and stunning loss. By the time you’re done, you’ll want a sip of honeyed water alongside some fried hyacinth bulbs. An engrossing read." (Marjan Kamali, author of Together Tea)
“Ancient Rome comes alive with a remarkable degree of immediacy and authenticity. I savored every page of this compulsively readable novel.” (Lisa Borders, author of The Fifty First State)
"King excels at researching a historical period, and her knowledge of the culinary life of early imperial Rome is second to none. When Thrasius cooks up a particular recipe for one of Apicius’ extravagant dinners, the reader’s mouth waters, even when the ingredients are unfamiliar. By recreating Apicius’ famous recipes, the world of ancient Rome comes to vivid, sparkling life." (BookReporter)
"Upstairs/downstairs drama meets food porn meets historical fiction." (Epicurious)
“Crystal King seamlessly weaves questions about power, morality, and family into this completely immersive and compulsively readable debut.” (Amanda Foreman, author of Georgiana and A World on Fire)
“A plunge into the ancient Roman world in all its senses—especially taste. But the character studies of the people are even tastier than the recipes! A Roman feast on many levels, all delicious.” (Margaret George)
About the Author
Crystal King is a writer, culinary enthusiast and social media expert. Her writing is fueled by a love of history and an obsession with the food, language and culture of Italy. She has taught writing, creativity and social media at Grub Street and several universities including Harvard Extension School and Boston University. Crystal received her masters in critical and creative thinking from University of Massachusetts Boston. She lives with her husband and their two cats in the Boston area.
Top customer reviews
Be warned: this book doesn't have a traditional happy ending or even a happy for now. It's titled the way it is for a reason, there's a lot of sadness in the book. But in this way, it mirrors real life. It's main character, Apicius, has some very deep flaws that cause him a lot of difficulties in his life that affect not only him but his family and his slaves.
There is really nothing in this book to criticize. It is worth the price, which really says it all.
Most recent customer reviews
After reading this book, I am still simply stunned by the quality of...Read more