About the Book
In this “stunning novel” (bestselling author Alison Weir), Annelise Freisenbruch presents the great new heroine of Roman historical fiction, who must navigate the male dominated courts of law in her quest to uncover a sinister plot to overthrow the Republic.
As Rivals of the Republic begins, Roman high society is humming with gossip about the sudden, suspicious suicide of a Roman senator. Shortly afterwards, the body of a Vestal Virgin is discovered in the river Tiber. When the Roman authorities turn a strangely blind eye, Hortensia, the daughter of the capital’s most celebrated lawyer, begins investigating a trail of murders that leads straight into the dark heart of Rome.
Defying her husband and her father and rebelling against the constraints imposed upon her sex, Hortensia plunges deeper into the corrupt underworld that lurks in the shadows cast by the city’s all-powerful elite. When more key witnesses are silenced by an unknown mastermind, Hortensia is forced to seek an unconventional ally: Lucrio, an ex-gladiator with secrets of his own.
Using her supreme knowledge of the period and drawing from historical accounts of the daughter of famed Roman orator Quintus Hortensius Hortalus, Annelise Freisenbruch delivers a meticulously accurate and suspenseful story that will have readers gripped until the final, harrowing pages.
I really enjoyed this political thriller set in Ancient Rome. Although it started off slowly setting the scene, it picked up speed with plot twists and unsavoury characters. The author’s descriptions of everyday life, for both rich and poor were wonderful, enabling me to feel as though I was there wandering down the streets with the different characters.
I really liked Hortensia. I admired her independence and bravery whilst facing the different situations she found herself in.
I must confess, I did get confused by similar sounding names at times, so I was relieved that the author had provided a cast of characters at the beginning of the book, to remind me who was who, throughout.
I look forward to reading more in this new series, and definitely recommend this if you enjoy historical fiction, mystery and thrillers.
Thanks so much to Duckworth Overlook for my copy.