Publication Date: March 3, 2015
Formats: eBook, Paperback
Series: Empress of Rome Series, Book Four
Genre: Historical Fiction
Source: Publisher/Netgalley/ Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours in exchange for an honest review.
Synopsis: National bestselling author Kate Quinn returns with the long-awaited fourth volume in the Empress of Rome series, an unforgettable new tale of the politics, power, and passion that defined ancient Rome.
Elegant, secretive Sabina may be Empress of Rome, but she still stands poised on a knife’s edge. She must keep the peace between two deadly enemies: her husband Hadrian, Rome’s brilliant and sinister Emperor; and battered warrior Vix, who is her first love. But Sabina is guardian of a deadly secret: Vix’s beautiful son Antinous has become the Emperor’s latest obsession.
Empress and Emperor, father and son will spin in a deadly dance of passion, betrayal, conspiracy, and war. As tragedy sends Hadrian spiraling into madness, Vix and Sabina form a last desperate pact to save the Empire. But ultimately, the fate of Rome lies with an untried girl, a spirited redhead who may just be the next Lady of the Eternal City…
My Review: Lady of The Eternal City takes place during the reign of Emperor Hadrian. The two main characters of the story are Empress Sabina, Hadrian’s wife, and Vix, a former slave turned warrior. Sabina has to make the peace between Hadrian and Vix, who are always at each other’s throats. Their animosity towards each other heats up when Antinous, Vix’s adopted son, catches the Emperor’s eye. Sabina has to keep the two of them at bay and help her husband while he is descending into madness, all the while trying to save the Roman Empire.
Sabina is really a strong heroine. She is fierce and wise. She cares deeply for her people, and usually extends mercy to her subjects. She is not afraid to stand up to Hadrian if she feels she can guide him to become a better ruler. It is obvious that Hadrian admires and respects her, for when Sabina gives him her sound judgment, Hadrian follows it even though he is mad at her interference. I also like Sabina’s relationship with Vix. It shows that she still has feelings for him.
I also liked the other characters such as Vix, who is emotionally-damaged. I loved his relationship with his adopted son, Antinous. I also found Hadrian to be a fascinating character. At first, I found him to be cruel, rude, and arrogant, yet later, as the novel progress, there was more to Hadrian than meets the surface. He is a character who wants to do the right thing and to be a good emperor. The relationship between Antinous and Hadrian was very intimate, and it didn’t show Hadrian as a mean person. My favorite character in this novel is Annia. She is spirited, observant, and fun. She acted more like a boy than a girl. She was really cute. She reminded me a lot like Vanellope in Wreck-It Ralph.
I found the writing to be very well-written, and I liked descriptions of the Roman Empire. However, this novel was not a standalone. I had not read any of the other books in her series, so it was hard for me to read and get into. I was really confused about the characters and the plot. It was like watching a new movie only to watch it from the middle to the end. I definitely did not know which character was who and what had happened before then to get to this point. Because of this, I did not really enjoy the novel as I would have had I read her Roman novels. I would definitely have enjoyed the novel better, and reading this book would be like a treat to me.
Overall, this book is about regrets, love, loss, tragedy, and choices. The characters are well-developed, and the setting was beautiful. I really loved her writing. Because I didn’t read her other novels, I was really confused. I think I am going to read her first Roman novel, Mistress of Rome, and the other novels in this series then go back and re-read Lady of the Eternal City again. Once I do, I will not only have a good understanding of the plot, but my opinion of this book and the series will also change. I will probably have to write another review on this novel in the future once I am caught up. I recommend this to anyone who is a fan of Kate Quinn’s novels and the Roman Empire.
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Praise for Lady of the Eternal City
“Quinn specializes in bringing the splendor of Britannia and Rome to readers. The tangled lives of her three-dimensional characters represent the entanglements of the Empire. She cleverly pulls readers into the complex relationships, and even more complicated history, while bouncing back and forth between viewpoints. This is a feast for historical readers.” – Romantic Times Book Reviews
Titles in The Empress of Rome Series
Book One: Mistress of Rome
Book Two: Daughters of Rome
Book Three: Empress of the Seven Hills
Book Four: Lady of the Eternal City
Praise for The Empress of Rome Series
“Gorgeously wrought.”— C. W. Gortner, author of The Queen’s Vow
“Deeply passionate.”—Kate Furnivall, author of Shadows on the Nile
“[An] epic, sexy romp.”—Publishers Weekly (starred review)
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.