Professor William Stearns Davis writes that the book "besides being an excellent tale of adventure, possesses a truly 'Defoesque' quality of circumstantial narration which makes Imperial Rome live again, even to the most unimaginative readers."
have used to Dromanus) whose litter I was escorting. I was rather tickled that they took me for my own intendant. I judged we must be approaching the entrance to Villa Satronia and that they were people from there. I assumed an exaggerated imitation of Dromanus' most grandiloquent manner and in his orotund unctuous delivery I declaimed:
"'My master is Numerius Vedius Vindex. He is asleep.' (They swallowed that awful lie, they did not realize how bad their own road was.) 'We are on our way to Villa Vedia.'
"They looked sour enough at that, I promise you, and I made out that they were Satronians for certain. The two fellows exchanged a glance, thanked me politely and went on.
"I knew the entrance to the Satronian estate by the six big chestnut- trees, you had often described them to me; and I knew the next private road by the single huge plane tree. But when we crossed the second bridge, the little one, I went over that round hill and did not recognize the foot of your road when we came to
Although it gets off to a bit of a slow start, now that I'm about half-way through this novel it has me thoroughly hooked. Set in the late 2nd Century A.D., in the reign of the Emperor Commodus, the titular narrator recounts a series of adventures and misadventures which begin when he first manages to gets crosswise with two powerful families and then is falsely accused of treason. Accompanied by his resourceful Greek slave Agathemer, the young Roman aristocrat goes on the run and encounters strange coincidences, good fortune and terrible reversals, and a variety of interesting characters, taking the reader on a fascinating tour of both the upper crust and the underbelly of Roman society at the zenith of the Empire. Definitely worth reading, if you enjoy historical novels about Rome, especially since most tend to be set in the Late Republic and Early Empire.
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