Category Archives: Book

My Fiction for The Regal Period of Rome-

Rome in its Regal period was ruled by Seven Kings.

Rome’s Seven Kings

Each of these kings reigned for many years, while other events were happening in Italy and nearby regions. Romulus founded Rome in 753 BC. The seventh and last king, Tarquinius Superbus, was deposed in 509 BC.

Timeline of Regal Rome

Rome was built on Seven Hills, inland on the Tiber River.

The Land of Regal Rome

Regal Period Italy was home to a variety of different peoples.

Peoples in Regal Period Italy

Some of the various tribes that interacted with Rome as allies or enemies.

History, and Some Women, in the Reigns of Romulus and of Tarquinius Superbus

A brief overview of women in the first and last monarchies of ancient Rome.

Women in the Reigns of the Seven Kings

A brief reign-by-reign look at some of the women who played roles during these seven reigns.

Two of my Works-in-progress are set during the Regal Period of early ancient Rome.

Romulus, Wolf who Founded Rome tells the story of Romulus, who wanted to serve the gods, but insted must become a warrior-king.  When his attempts at diplomacy fail and he must take steps to secure the growth of his new city, he goes to war. By the favors of the gods, he ensures Rome becomes wealthy and renowned in Latium. But he is faced with a heartbreaking choice, when he learns his noble subjects plan to kill him.

For Rome’s Honor is set during the reign of the seventh and last king of early Rome. Marcella’s father is executed as a traitor when he speaks out against the king’s tyranny. When the long affair of her married friend Lucretia, with Tarquin’s son Sextus, ends in death and revolution, Marcella and her friend Valeria are among hostages taken by the invading Etruscan king Porsenna. Marcella faces a choice that may win back her family honor but at a price she may not be able to pay.

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The Sinners and the Sea-A Review

The Sinners and the Sea: The Untold Story of Noah's WifeThe Sinners and the Sea: The Untold Story of Noah’s Wife by Rebecca Kanner

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The Sinners and the Sea is the story of Noah’s wife, through her own voice. Whether or not one believes the literal truth of the flood story, one might ponder how Noah met his wife, what their relationships might have been with the sons she eventually bore, and their wives–and more so, from whence did Noah’s wife even come? What was her life like before Noah and the flood?

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Children of Apollo (Eagles and Dragons #1) – A Review

Children of Apollo (Eagles and Dragons, #1)Children of Apollo by Adam Alexander Haviaras

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The first half of this book spent a lot of time in the character’s introspection. Far more than expected, Lucius Metellus Anguis (the Dragon) pondered the desert, the battles, the motives of the commanders, and his own destiny or lack thereof. It felt odd for the beginning of a book, rather than the middle.

The latter half of the book however drew me in and kept me fascinated and waiting for more.

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The Chalice: A Novel – Review and Recommended

The ChaliceThe Chalice by Nancy Bilyeau

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Should prophecy determine one’s actions? How much should one sacrifice in order to see a prophecy fulfilled? Who determines what the prophecy really means?

These are some of the questions that build the tensions and the conflicts in The Chalice. While this is a sequel to the earlier novel The Crown, it can be read on its own merits (but don’t ignore the earlier!)

Joanna Stafford was hoping to enter the Dominican order as a nun, but while still a novice, King Henry VIII shut down the monasteries and abbeys. As if life is now not difficult enough–England was torn between those who still wanted to follow the Catholic faith and practice, and those who were now devoted to the Reformed, non-Catholic (not quite yet Protestant) faith taught by Luther and others–Joanna is also anguished by her feelings for Constable Geoffrey and for the former Brother Edmund. She also is conflicted by her being directly named and involved in a strange “prophecy,” which has been interpreted by those who wish to use her in a plot to overthrow the King, bring back the Catholic faith, and change England forever.

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No Cause for Concern–Roman period historical fiction – a Review

No Cause for Concern is set in ancient Roman times, the year 38 AD. It is a  mystery by David Wishart.

The story is a nicely, tightly-written mystery that moves smoothly to its resolution–one which caught me by surprise, but which was quite satisfying and well-developed.

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Requiem for a Slave-A Brief Review

Requiem For A Slave (Libertus Mystery of Roman Britain, #11)Requiem For A Slave by Rosemary Rowe

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Libertus is a Celt in Roman Britain, who has become a citizen of Rome. A craftsman who creates mosaic pieces, he has for his patron a wealthy Roman.

Libertus has a reputation for solving crimes. So when two murders take place, and each body is found in his workshop, he starts to see patterns. What develops is a web of treason (a Roman decurion helping rebels in the area), assassination for hire (a Roman courier who kills on order), and an election that is subject to bribery.

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The Burning Candle – A Review

The Burning Candle: A Medieval NovelThe Burning Candle: A Medieval Novel by Lisa J. Yarde

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

How would you grow up, in an age where women were generally borne only to be bartered as marriage partners for position, land, power, and heirs, and men could not trust brothers, childhood friends, their king if a noble, or their nobles if a king? How would you hold up, if you were a girl-child, beaten by your parents to teach you to be submissive, told you would be married to a man far older than you, whom you do not know? What personality would you present to the world? What would you dare to hope for? Would you hope for anything?

 

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Empress of the Seven Hills – A Review

Empress of the Seven Hills (Rome, #3)Empress of the Seven Hills by Kate Quinn

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Empress of the Seven Hills takes place during the reign of Emperor Trajan of Rome. Domitian, previous Emperor, had been assassinated in Quinn’s earlier book Mistress of Rome. Reading that book first is not essential to the utter enjoyment afforded in reading Empress.

This novel centers around several distinct characters: Vix, Titus, Sabina, and Plotina. We learn of Vix, a gladiator turned legionary who maintains an on-again, off-again, passionate love affair with Sabina, in his own voice. Sabina is a wild and clever woman, who marries Hadrian (who by the end of the tale has become Emperor himself. Titus Antoninus first appears as a young, gangly youth in deep love with Sabina, but later he serves in the legions as tribune, one of the most honest and attentive. Eventually he marries Sabina’s half-sister. Finally, there is Plotina, Trajan’s wife and a plotting schemer par excellence. She will do anything to see her precious Hadrian come to the Imperial throne.

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The Wedding Shroud-a Historical Fiction Review

The Wedding ShroudThe Wedding Shroud by Elisabeth Storrs

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Caecilia is the daughter of a Roman patrician and plebeian, in the century just after Rome ejected its last king and became a Republic. She is unable to be considered an aristocrat yet too noble to be simply one of the people. As a Roman girl, she is subject to the authority of the patriarch of her family. Growing up knowing only cold harshness, Caecilia seems still to be immersed in all the stolid and somber traditions and mores of her Roman upbringing. So when she is given in political marriage to a man from Etruscan Veii, part of the League with which Rome is often in armed conflict, Caecilia is unsure how to fit in with the much freer ways of Etruscan domestic, social and political life. She is also unsure whether or not her husband truly loves her or is haunted by the past.

The Etruscan culture is fascinating by itself–more so when it stands alongside that of the Roman culture of the same time. Too more disparate cultures living so close together could not be more intriguing. It is refreshing to see a fictionalized account of how both cultures might have dealt with each other, in a way more personal and day-to-day than Livy’s history might indicate. Caecilia is an engaging heroine–although it was more frustrating than not, reading page after page where all she did was vex at the depravity, as she viewed it, of the Etruscans, without any respite (e.g. her taking a trip to the farm area to see the land, or perhaps even demonstrate one aspect of her Roman heritage that might serve to bring both cultures more together.) It occasionally felt galling to read her too-constant whining and slapping at her new Etruscan family; she seemed almost too fraught with self-righteousness, certainly at the outset. Hard to believe that in those early stages a Roman woman would have been quite so apt to defend a Roman life about which she must have known so little.

But perhaps even that weakness is more a product of Rome vs everyone else. Hopefully E. Storrs will venture again and often into the world of Etruria and bring more characters to life.

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