8577314I have always been a fan of Greek and Roman mythology and history, and the year of four emperors in Rome shortly after the fall of Nero is one of the more bloody and interesting times as general after consul after rich man fought for the right to be called emperor.

Kate Quinn does this turbulent time justice, following the lives of four aristocratic cousins as they too take on their own battles for life, love, happiness, and in one case amusement.

This is the second of about three or four books that Kate Quinn has written, and prequel to the Mistress of Rome which basically picks up where this one leaves off.  At the end of Daughters, Domitian is emperor and married to one of the main characters, while Mistress of Rome deals with his reign and little is seen of her once Daughters end.

I love the cousins.  Each has her own unique personality: the quiet, unassuming scholar whose beauty hides a devious mind.  The adventurous lover who is used by her grandfather as a pawn for personal advancement and as a result is married more times in this one year than most of the populace had teeth.  The widowed, childless matron, perfect example of female Roman respectability and grace but who hides an inner strength and thirst for vengeance.  And the uncaring tomboy, more interested in chariots and horses than men and family, and who breaks all laws of propriety and tradition to save her cousins when Rome burns.

If these four women were not bound by blood, doubtless they would have gone about their lives ignoring each other.  But because of that bond, of blood and sisterhood, they are bound together as closely as four women can be.  Needless to say I loved this book, especially the idea that Kate Quinn puts forth about everything that happened during this year was all because a woman got bored.

Really looking forward to the next one.  Stella Gemmell is co author of the Troy trilogy by David Gemmell.  The City is her latest solo work and I can’t wait to see if it’s as good as Troy.

15985344The City is ancient, layers upon layers. Once a thriving metropolis, it has sprawled beyond its bounds, inciting endless wars with neighboring tribes and creating a barren wasteland of what was once green and productive.

In the center of the City lives the emperor. Few have ever seen him, but those who have recall a man in his prime, though he should be very old. Some grimly speculate that he is no longer human, if he ever was. A small number have come to the desperate conclusion that the only way to stop the war is to end the emperor’s unnaturally long life.

From the mazelike sewers below the City, where the poor struggle to stay alive in the dark, to the blood-soaked fields of battle, where few heroes manage to endure the never-ending siege, the rebels pin their hopes on one man—Shuskara. The emperor’s former general, he was betrayed long ago and is believed to be dead. But, under different aliases, he has survived, forsaking his City and hiding from his immortal foe. Now the time has come for him to engage in one final battle to free the City from the creature who dwells at its heart, pulling the strings that keep the land drenched in gore.