Sunday, February 2, 2014

The Golden Dice by Elisabeth Storrs


Back Cover Blurb

During a ten year siege between two age-old enemies, three women follow very different paths to survive: 

Caecilia, a young Roman woman, forsakes her city by marrying the Etruscan Vel Mastarna, exposing herself to the enmity of his people and the hatred of the Romans who consider her a traitoress...

Semni, a reckless Etruscan girl, becomes a servant in the House of Mastarna, embroiling herself in schemes that threaten Caecilia's children and her own chance for romance...

Pinna, a tomb whore, uses blackmail to escape her grim life and gain the attention of Rome's greatest general, choosing between her love for him and her loyalty to another...

Historical Fiction at its best, this second volume in the Tales of Ancient Rome series explores the lives of women in war while giving a glimpse into the sexuality, religion, and politics of Roman and Etruscan cultures, two great civilizations in ancient history.

Review

The Golden Dice by Elisabeth Storrs is a sequel to the highly successful The Wedding Shroud. The story of Caecilia and Mastarna’s controversial marriage continues with the Romans and Etruscans more divided and at odds than ever before. After having clearly made her choice to remain with her husband and abandon her Roman roots, Caecilia is at the centre of a storm of spite coming from Roman family, friends, and citizens. Unfortunately, she is still not accepted by everyone in her new city of Veii and soon finds herself betrayed and having to make an impossible choice.

Where this novel excels is the magnificent characters and their detailed back-stories and ever-evolving development. They always surprise, changing from bad to good, trustworthy to treacherous, lovable to abhorrent. Elisabeth Storrs’ spectacular research into the ancient Etruscan and Roman cultures, brings the tale to vibrant life, lending credibility and authenticity. From Pinna, the poor prostitute, to Semni the dedicated or not so dedicated slave, the characters compelled me to read, read, read. I struggled to put this book down.

Although The Golden Dice could stand alone, I highly recommend reading The Wedding Shroud first to get a grip of the story from its origins. Read these books and definitely make use of the Glossary and Character List to make sure you follow every detail of this immensely rich story. You’re going to love it.

Reviewed by Mirella Patzer