Continuing the saga begun in his New York Times bestselling novel Roma, Steven Saylor charts the destinies of the aristocratic Pinarius family, from the reign of Augustus to height of Rome's empire. The Pinarii, generation after generation, are witness to greatest empire in the ancient world and of the emperors that ruled it—from the machinations of Tiberius and the madness of Caligula, to the decadence of Nero and the golden age of Trajan and Hadrian and more.
Empire is filled with the dramatic, defining moments of the age, including the Great Fire, the persecution of the Christians, and the astounding opening games of the Colosseum. But at the novel's heart are the choices and temptations faced by each generation of the Pinarii.
Steven Saylor once again brings the ancient world to vivid life in a novel that tells the story of a city and a people that has endured in the world's imagination like no other.
"A vivid evocation of the bloodthirsty, chaotic spectacle that was ancient Rome, and an example of how the best historical fiction brings the past to life."—Archeology Magazine
"How to deliver historical fiction about the Roman Empire at its height? Saylor, Latin scholar and author of the acclaimed Roma Sub Rosa mystery series, identifies one huge problem in his author's note: 'emperor-centricism.' The emperors command center stage in most accounts of Rome, as they did in life. That leaves, as Saylor puts it, 'survivors and seekers,' those living at the edge of the emperors' bidding. Saylor's brilliant approach to bringing alive the period of the Roman Empire from the reign of Augustus to the burial of Hadrian is to focus on generations of one family, the Pinarii (introduced in Roma, 2007). The Pinarius family is aristocratic, so they afford readers an insider's view into imperial palaces and gladiator games. Yet from Lucius the Augur, who begins the book, through Marcus the Sculptor, during the reigns of Trajan and Hadrian, the family has been rocked, as all Romans were, by the upheavals and whims of the emperors. The Pinarii characters afford an excellent lens through which to view both imperial and daily life, and the great events of the span from 14 CE through 141 CE, including the Great Fire, the persecutions of Christians, numerous military campaigns, and, of course, insanity and perversion among the emperors. Saylor is an excellent guide through this fascinating underworld. Superb historical fiction."—Booklist (starred review)
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The Lightning Reader
Lucius woke with a start.
He had been dreaming. In his dream there was no earth, only a dark, empty sky, and beyond the sky, unimaginably vast, the crystalline firmament in which the stars...