20486495Always expect gold from Kate Quinn.

Lady of the Eternal City if the latest and sadly the last in the Empress of Rome series and I absolutely devored it. I don’t know if it’s because I was just really in the mood for some historical fiction, or if it was just THAT good, but I could not put it down.

We come back to Vibia Sabina, Vix, Hadrian and company about a year after the events of Empress of the Seven Hilld.  Hadrian returns triumphant to Rome, Sabina and Vix awaiting for him in their roles as faithful empress and loyal pratorian.

But Sabina is hiding a secret that could cause the death of all she loves.

The years pass, Hadrian builds Rome, Sabina curbs his temper, Vix guards him, and all is well until Hadrian catches the eye of a young, golden haired Adonis who also happens to be Vix’s son.

I honestly think this story is more about the son, with Sabina and the other mere secondary characters in the play that is his short, influential life.

And weirdly enough I found myself hating Vix’s little Jewish wife by the end. This book takes place during Hadrian’s massacre of the Jews when they rose up against him when he tried to stamp out their religion and holy places.  And Mirah’s actions/reactions towards the war and her husband kinda pissed me off and I was not saddened at all by how her story ends here.

So we have a madman, a young boy who loves him, a secret daughter, a war, a man in love with two woman and a woman trying to hold her world together by sheer strength of will.  A potent mix for any story.  There’s a bittersweet ending here as well to be sure, but so powerful too. I was actually rather stunned by it and couldn’t start a new book for a few days, which you really can’t do when you’re trying something like Ja No Read Mo, but what can you do.

Next up in Ja No Read Mo, we’re going to finish up that Harper series if it kills me.  Second to last (well with what I have been able to collect at least) is #12 in the series the Veiled Dragon, written by Troy Denning.

1006394To save the life of Eversult’s Ruling Lady, Ruha, a Bedine witch and Harper agent, infiltrates the palace of a Shou prince and uncovers a murderous conspiracy linked to the royal household of the east and the Cult of the Dragon in the west