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Published by Duckworth Overlook, 20
October 2016. ISBN: 978-0-7515-650998
of the Republic portrays 70BC Rome as a brutal and
conflict-riddled society in which powerful men vaunt their military prowess and
political acumen as they vie for election to high office.Public life is male-dominated whilst women
are expected to confine themselves to the domestic sphere and to be seen rather
than heard.Not so Hortensia.Brave and intelligent, the novel’s female
protagonist confronts the self-assured belligerence of a group of villainous
men as they plot to overthrow the Republic to which they profess allegiance.
Hortensia has already proved herself to be an
orator of flair and skill when the
Temple of Vesta is overshadowed by the mysterious death of a Vestal
Virgin.She is asked to investigate the
incident and her enquiries expose a treacherous conspiracy against the state
and lead her into a dangerous world of intrigue and corruption.Hortensia jeopardises her reputation and her
life when she begins to unravel the puzzle of the Vestal’s death.As she inches ever closer to the truth she
finds herself alone and in peril.Can
her loving husband Caepio rescue her?What has happened to her loyal slave, Lucrio?Will the courageous Fabia, become the
murderer’s next Vestal victim?
Hortensia’s character is
based on the real-life daughter of Quintus Hortensius Hortalus a Roman orator
who was appointed consul in 69BC, and Rivals of the
Republic is the first novel in Annelise Freisenbruch’s Blood of Rome series.The book captivated me from start to
finish.Evocative descriptions of cool, spacious, cypress-lined
avenues on the wealthy Palatine and the cloying heat of Rome’s congested city
streets, immerse the reader in the sights, sounds and smells of the Eternal
City.The work is rooted in historical
accuracy, and the research that underpins Hortensia’s adventure enhances a
gripping tale that is highly entertaining throughout.
Reviewer: Dorothy Marsahll-Gent
Freisenbruchwas born in Bermuda in 1977. She has a PhD in Classics from Newnham
College, Cambridge, and is the author of the highly-acclaimed history of Rome's
empresses, The First Ladies of Rome. Blood
in the Tiber was her first novel.
Dot Marshall-Gentworked in the
emergency services for twenty years first as a police officer, then as a
paramedic and finally as a fire control officer before graduating from King’s
College, London as a teacher of English in her mid-forties. She completed
a M.A. in Special and Inclusive Education at the Institute of Education, London
and now teaches part-time and writes mainly about educational issues. Dot
sings jazz and country music and plays guitar, banjo and piano as well as being
addicted to reading mystery and crime fiction.