Thank-you to NetGalley and Lake Union Publishing for this advanced reading copy of a title that I have been long awaiting. This novel is the third installment in the brilliant Tales of Ancient Rome series and I believe this to be its heartbreaking conclusion.
Elisabeth Storrs is an incredibly talented writer that brings the ancient world to life with her prose. Her characters are intriguing, vivid figures that I love to read about. The female protagonist Caecilia has changing so much since the first novel in the series, The Wedding Shroud, where she is an unwanted and unimportant Roman maiden with an inner desire to have her voice heard. In the next novel, The Golden Dice, Caecilia is the beloved wife of an Etruscan man, a fierce mother, and the shrewd commander of her own destiny. I adore the character of Caecilia and as heart-wrenching as it was to stay with her until the bitter end I am so glad to have been able to do just that.
What I love about this novel in particular is how the author has balanced the spiritual aspect of the first novel with the political angle of the second. The intricate blend of religion, politics and familial drama has led to an incredibly absorbing and exciting novel. After the first two books in the series the reader has a solid grasp of Etruscan life and thus is able to truly appreciate the world in which the people of Veii belong. I found it deeply moving to have been able to have spent the last days of Veii’s existence with Caecilia, her family and their people. What has been reduced to a short tale of Roman supremacy in conquering Veii has been enlarged and brought to life by an incredibly gifted writer. Thank-you Elisabeth Storrs for crafting these remarkable characters and for bringing this ancient world to life in an unforgettable story. I look forward to reading it again someday.
To gain a more complete perspective of the novels in this series please read my reviews of The Wedding Shroud and The Golden Dice. I absolutely recommend reading all three of these superb novels: you won’t regret it.