(From the publisher):
Why was Ovid
, the most popular author of his day, banished to the edge of the Roman Empire? Why do only two lines survive of his play Medea, reputedly his most passionate work and perhaps his most accomplished? Between the known details of the poet's life and these enigmas, Jane Alison has interpolated a haunting drama of passion and psychological manipulation.
On holiday by the Black Sea, on the fringes of the Empire, Ovid encounters an almost otherworldly woman who seems to embody the fictitious creations of his soon-to-be-published Metamorphoses. Part healer, part witch, Xenia seems myth come to life. Ovid is enchanted and obsessed - and, for the first time in a long while, flush with inspiration. Xenia will be the model for his masterpiece. But this time, his subject will be a dark one.
When autumn comes, Ovid decides to take her back with him to Rome. Gradually, however, art becomes life, and the inexorable pull of ambition leads Ovid to make a Faustian bargain that will betray his newfound muse and catapult them both toward a reversal he never plotted. As the two of them become ensnared, the reader is drawn deep into an imaginatively enacted meditation on love, genius, and the quest for immortality.
Original title: The Love-Artist
Genre: Fiction→ Historical→ Ancient World (Greece, Rome, etc)→ Rome