'Matthew Dennison's rich and compelling account challenges the accepted version of Augustus's wife as the viper in the nest... What emerges is a broader and thoroughly compelling account of the beginning of the Julio-Claudian dynasty as it seized and maintained power for itself and the empire. Dennison possesses the magical ability to make us see that the Romans were like us. They laughed at new money, sniggered over sexual misdemeanours, bore petty grudges. They had laws, baths, literature and a disciplined army. And yet they were almost unimaginably different. Dennison recreates ancient Rome and the mindset of its inhabitants as an alien world. It is a city conveyed through the senses, beginning with a marvelous account of the birth of a child into an elite family against a background of smoke, sacrifice, and the melting wax of ancestral masks.' Financial Times.
'Chilling, claustrophobic' Irish Times.
'Nerve-shatterlingly realistic ... This novel works as powerfully as Bernhard Schlink's The Reader as an extraordinary paradigm of the effects of war on the German psyche, and is as intense an experience' Jane Jakeman, Independent.
'Nerve-shatteringly realistic ... Extraordinary' Independent.