|Course of Honour, the (1997) [Novel]|
by Lindsey Davis
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(From the publisher):
Rome under Tiberius, his dreadful successor Caligula, and even the brilliant Claudius is a treacherous arena for ambitious men. But the career path for citizens who aspire to become senators is called "The Course of Honor" - even if it is strewn with betrayal and murder. And this honorable course has an unbreakable rule: A Roman senator cannot marry a slave, even a freed one, no matter how great the passion between them...
The scribe Caenis does not have the beauty to excite a grand passion in most men. Instead, she possesses an immense intelligence and a position in the household of Antonia, daughter of Mark Antony, sister-in-law of the Emperor Tiberius, and mother of Claudius - a woman who wields formidable influence and power.
The soldier Vespasian - solid, unpretentious, and courageous - doesn't know any of that when he meets "an interesting girl" frying sausages in the imperial palace. Her name is Caenis, and she soon share his appetites and his soul.
Here, in a city of lavish public baths, a thousand dark alleys, and sybaritic feasts where rivals are dispatched with poison, Caenis and Vespasian struggle with a world that would keep them apart. Yet as emperor after emperor plays out deadly, seductive games of lust and conquest, no one envisions that a country-born army man can ever win the throne. No one forsees such an unlikely future, except a slave girl who observes the bizarre fortunes of an imperial city and begins a daring course of honor of her own...
Original title: The Course of Honour
Alternative titles: The Course of Honor
Genre: Fiction→ Historical→ Ancient World (Greece, Rome, etc)→ Rome