Master and God

Lindsey Davis

St. Martin's Griffin

Set in the reign of the Emperor Domitian in first-century Ancient Rome, Master and God is Lindsey Davis’s meticulously researched epic novel of the life and times surrounding the last of the Flavian dynasty of emperors.

In A.D. 81, Domitian seizes power upon the death of his older brother Titus and begins his reign as the Emperor of Rome. Afflicted by classic paranoia, the self-styled Master and God sees enemies everywhere—and he is right. The Senate loathes him, his advisers are terrified, his wife can’t be trusted and barbarians menace the frontiers. As he vents his suspicions, no one is safe...

Gaius Vinius Clodianus is a reluctant Praetorian Guard—the Emperor’s personal bodyguards—who has survived physical and mental scars to rise to a high rank. Lucilla tends the privileged women at court; when Domitian's once talented rule unravels into madness and cruelty, she loses her patron. In the haven of their shared apartment, Gaius and Lucilla find solace together, yearning for normality while living in a reign of terror.

Moves against Domitian are begun by his own household. Lucilla has to watch Gaius choose between love for her and the risk of death; between his sworn duty to protect the Emperor and conspiring to kill him for the good of Rome. 

Master and God is a compelling novel of the Roman Empire—from the height of power to the depths of madness—told from the perspective of two courtiers, unlikely friends who together are the witnesses to history.


Read an Excerpt

It was a quiet afternoon on the Via Flaminia. When a wisp of smoke wafted across from the river direction, sheered downwards and dematerialised against a pantile on the roof of the station house, nobody noticed. Rome, the Golden City, went about its business. The vigiles of the First Cohort continued their tasks.
The yard lay still; afternoons were dead time. The tribune was off at his own house. Nobody was doing much. The vigiles had been brought into existence to combat fires, but also covered local law and order. Most action occurred at night. Between lunchtime and


Praise for Master and God

"Detailed and witty recounting of ancient Roman life, public and private, from the sure-handed Davis."
--Kirkus Reviews
"Davis layers modern dialog and sensibilities on a lavishly described historical setting, creating a novel that is detailed and well paced."
--Library Journal
"As we’ve come to expect, Davis’s descriptions of Rome are vivid and lively ... a great yarn."
--The Daily Mail

In the Press

MASTER AND GOD by Lindsey Davis | Kirkus Book Reviews
Read the Kirkus Review of MASTER AND GOD . Two Roman roommates, a Praetorian Guard and an imperial hairdresser, play a part in their emperor's destiny.
- Kirkus Reviews

Reviews from Goodreads



  • Lindsey Davis

  • Lindsey Davis was born and raised in Birmingham, England. After taking an English degree at Oxford and working for the civil service for thirteen years, she “ran away to be a writer.” Her internationally bestselling novels featuring ancient Roman detective Marcus Didius Falco include Venus in Copper, The Iron Hand of Mars, Nemesis and Alexandria. She is also the author of Rebels and Traitors, set during the English Civil War. Davis is the recipient of the Crime Writers’ Association Cartier Diamond Dagger Award, the highest accolade for crime writers, as well as the Ellis Peters Historical Dagger Award and the Authors' Club Best First Novel award.
  • Lindsey Davis





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    Master and God

    Lindsey Davis



    St. Martin's Griffin