Novius Senna, Nero’s trusted friend, is imparted with the duty of advising those who have fallen foul of the emperor’s favor that they must take their own lives. Aenor, an enslaved Bructeri trader, is used as a source of cruel and humiliating sexual enjoyment for Nero and his cohorts.
In a bid to find peace with himself and at the same time rid Rome of its’ tyrant Emperor, Senna devises a plot to assassinate Nero and sees a potential ally in the brutalised slave, Aenor. The depth of the slaves’ passion for revenge may prove to be the key to bringing them both peace. A feat such as this would potentially result in death for both of them, but neither soldier nor slave have anything left to lose.
Whilst certainly twisted and graphic, the sadistic treatment of Aenor and the other slaves, which includes rapes and beatings, is well handled by Ms. Henry and did not turn my stomach as similar acts have in other reads.
The author does a convincing job with the romantic connection between Senna and Aenor. It is by no means sweet and flowery, yet I could not help but feel the strength and depth of trust and dependence which was quick to develop between the two men.
Having not previously read a book in this era, I was grateful for the rich writing style that had the location of first century Rome jumping off the page with a clarity that had me well emerged in the setting. There were some moments of confusion with the dialogue mainly due to the terminology used but I later realised that there is a glossary at the end – silly me!! (I probably would have preferred it at the start as I tend to flick over the contents page in an e-book and failed to realise it was there).
This is the story of two men who find each under very difficult circumstances in a cold and harsh world. Not for the fainthearted, but a short read which will appeal to those who are interested in a grittier read with a taste for life during the days of the powerful roman empire. I found this story very “worthy” and look forward to reading more from Lisa Henry.
See Tommi's full review here Live Your Life, Buy The Book