Feast of Sorrow: A Novel of Ancient Rome

· Sold by Simon and Schuster
2 reviews

About this ebook

Longlisted for the Center for Fiction First Novel Prize
A Massachusetts Book Award “Must Read”

Set amongst the scandal, wealth, and upstairs-downstairs politics of a Roman family, this “addictively readable first novel” (Kirkus Reviews) features the man who inspired the world’s oldest cookbook and the ambition that led to his destruction.

In the twenty-sixth year of Augustus Caesar’s reign, Marcus Gavius Apicius has a singular ambition: to serve as culinary adviser to Caesar. To cement his legacy as Rome’s leading epicure, the wealthy Apicius acquires a young chef, Thrasius, for the exorbitant price of twenty thousand denarii.

Apicius believes that the talented Thrasius is the key to his culinary success, and with the slave’s help he soon becomes known for his lavish parties and sumptuous meals. For his part, Thrasius finds a family among Apicius’s household, which includes his daughter, Apicata; his wife, Aelia; and her handmaiden Passia, with whom Thrasius falls passionately in love. But as Apicius draws closer to his ultimate goal, his dangerous single-mindedness threatens his young family and places his entire household at the mercy of the most powerful forces in Rome. “A gastronomical delight” (Associated Press), Feast of Sorrow is a vibrant novel, replete with love and betrayal, politics and intrigue, and sumptuous feasts that bring ancient Rome to life.

Ratings and reviews

2 reviews
S M (MaChienneLit)
August 25, 2017
I am voluntarily submitting my honest review after receiving an ARC of this ebook from NetGalley. After reading this book, I am still simply stunned by the quality of the story, the writing, the characters and the vivid world the author transports the reader to in each and every scene. While I can often recommend a particular book for fans of historical fiction, romance, thrillers, etc., it is a rare and wondrous thing when I can honestly say that I believe anyone who enjoys a damn good story would enjoy this book. The amount of detail in this book is just perfect--enough to paint a vivid picture of the very texture of life in ancient Rome, but not so much that it becomes too cumbersome or makes the book read more like a dry history tome. While the story revolves around a man who uses a chef to further his ambitions, the culinary delights (or horrors, as the case may be) are only a part of the rich tapestry woven into the novel--all of the high arts and the more pedestrian elements, including curse tablets and the functioning of households--are included in the cultural portrait drawn as the backdrop for the Game of Thrones-style political machinations that make this book so addicting. I will definitely be on the lookout for more from this author, and I encourage anyone who enjoys reading to BUY THIS BOOK!!!
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About the author

Crystal King is an author, culinary enthusiast, and marketing expert. Her writing is fueled by a love of history and a passion for the food, language, and culture of Italy. She has taught classes in writing, creativity, and social media at several universities including Harvard Extension School and Boston University, as well as at GrubStreet, one of the leading creative writing centers in the US. A Pushcart Prize–nominated poet and former co-editor of the online literary arts journal Plum Ruby Review, Crystal received her MA in critical and creative thinking from UMass Boston, where she developed a series of exercises and writing prompts to help fiction writers in medias res. She resides in Boston but considers Italy her next great love after her husband, Joe, and their two cats, Nero and Merlin. She is the author of Feast of Sorrow.

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