Threshold of Fire: A Novel of Fifth-Century Rome

Chicago Review Press
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In this vivid, dynamic novel, Hella Haasse has once more brought the past to life. This time she has chosen to illuminate a crucial, yet relatively obscure period of history: it is 414 A.D. and the once-powerful Roman Empire is in its death throes—split between East and West, menaced by barbarian hordes almost literally at its gates. The Emperor Honorius, an incompetent weakling, cowers in the marsh-bound city of Ravenna, where he has moved the government; he rarely "makes entry" into Rome. This is the brilliant canvas against which the characters in this drama interact. There is the Prefect Hadrian, a powerful official and fanatical Christian convert; there is Marcus Anicius, the pagan aristocrat who is clinging to a dying past, and there is the Jew Eliezar be Elijah, hemmed in by his own traditions and burdened by his dark vision of the future. There is the intrigue and uncertainty of life at Honorius's court, and there are the streets and tenements of Rome, pulsating with life and with corruption.
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About the author

Hella S. Haasse has written 17 novels as well as poetry, plays and essays, and has received many honors and awards including the Netherlands State Award for Literature. Her books have been translated into English, French, German, Swedish, Italian, Hungarian, Serbo-Croatian and Welsh.
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Additional Information

Publisher
Chicago Review Press
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Published on
Aug 1, 2005
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Pages
255
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ISBN
9781613734568
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Language
English
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Genres
Fiction / Historical
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Douglas Jackson confirms his reputation as 'one of the best historical novelists writing today' (Daily Express) with the third action-packed adventure featuring his on-time gladiator hero, Gaius Valerius Verrens...

Emperor Nero’s grip on power is weakening. In every shadow he sees an enemy and like a cornered animal he lashes out at every perceived threat. His paranoia settles on the figure of Gnaeus Domitius Corbulo, Rome’s greatest General who leads the imperial legions in the East.

So popular is Corbulo with his men that he effective presides over an Empire within an Empire. Is Corbulo preparing to march against Rome and take the purple?

Gaius Valerius Verrens, Hero of Rome, is ordered to Antioch with the power of life and death over Corbulo, a soldier he worships. There he finds word of his mission has preceded him and every man’s hand is turned against him. But Corbulo’s eyes are not on Rome, but on a new threat to the Empire’s border. The Parthian King of Kings, Vologases, is marching to war and with such an army that if not stopped he might overwhelm the entire Roman east.

Valerius marches at Corbulo’s side. Outnumbered they make a stand in the barren wastes beyond the Tigris to meet Vologases in an epic contest of military might and ingenuity that will decide the fate of the Empire. And while he fights for the Empire, and for his own survival on the battlefield, Valerius must decide whether to complete his mission, or risk incurring his Emperor’s dangerous wrath.

A newspaper journalist by profession, Douglas Jackson's lifelong fascination for Rome and the Romans inspired him to pick up the pen and write his first novel, Caligula, and a sequel Claudius. He has gone on to become one of the best writers of Roman historical fiction at work today. Avenger of Rome is the third title in his series featuring Gaius Valerius Verrens; the first two, Hero of Rome and Defender of Rome, are available in paperback and ebook editions.

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