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Culpa*

The Reign of Commodus, Told from his Sister’s Point of View

I enjoy reading historical fiction, but I will admit that I usually read historical romance. But it is fun to venture out into real historical fiction. I loved that this book is set in Rome just after the reign of Emperor Marcus Aurelius. I’m not usually able to read fiction that takes place in such a distant time. The book marks the beginning of the rule of Marcus Aurelius’ son, Commodus. It is told from the perspective of the new emperor’s older sister, Lucilla. When the emperor was a boy, Lucilla helped raise him. How will it be for her to watch this young man, who has changed since he came back from battle, as he assumes the role of Emperor?

This is not the first book that I’ve read that retells history from the perspective of the women involved. I actually think it’s a great idea for writers because, of course, women were a part of history but are often ignored and even back then were often relegated to smaller roles. But that doesn’t mean that the thinking woman back then couldn’t impact her world and perhaps history, even if she’s not remembered for it. But I digress. For a book of historical fiction, this is written in a very easy style. Some books in this subgenre can be a bit stuffy and perhaps even hard to read. This is a smooth and easy read, and it is quite engaging to enter palace life in old Rome. They’re definitely secrets and intrigue. Lucilla has so much that she needs to accomplish, even if she has to pull the strings in the background and at personal peril. A great historical fiction read.

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