Threshold of Fire: A Novel of Fifth-Century Rome

Chicago Review Press
1
Free sample

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.
Read more
Collapse

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.
Read more
Collapse
5.0
1 total
Loading...

Additional Information

Publisher
Chicago Review Press
Read more
Collapse
Published on
Aug 1, 2005
Read more
Collapse
Pages
255
Read more
Collapse
ISBN
9781613734568
Read more
Collapse
Read more
Collapse
Read more
Collapse
Language
English
Read more
Collapse
Genres
Fiction / Historical
Read more
Collapse
Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
Read more
Collapse
Read Aloud
Available on Android devices
Read more
Collapse

Reading information

Smartphones and Tablets

Install the Google Play Books app for Android and iPad/iPhone. It syncs automatically with your account and allows you to read online or offline wherever you are.

Laptops and Computers

You can read books purchased on Google Play using your computer's web browser.

eReaders and other devices

To read on e-ink devices like the Sony eReader or Barnes & Noble Nook, you'll need to download a file and transfer it to your device. Please follow the detailed Help center instructions to transfer the files to supported eReaders.
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.

A.D. 66: Having been falsely implicated in a plot to assassinate the emperor Nero, Titus Petronius has a choice: await the executioner at dawn, or die a noble Roman death by his own hand. Deciding that his will be a suicide like no other the world has ever seen, he summons a small circle of intimate friends to his magnificent villa on the enchanting Tyrrhenian coast of southern Italy. There, over the course of a balmy autumn's night, Petronius throws the party of a lifetime. As they feast on course after course of the most sumptuous and exotic fare the empire has to offer, his guests are expressly forbidden to dwell on the imminent tragedy; instead, they are enjoined to sing, eat, drink, and celebrate. But as his life dwindles to a few precious hours, Petronius himself cannot shake off the ghosts of his past or his regret over mistakes that can no longer be set right. With the fateful dawn approaching, he recalls the great love affair of his life, and his years as Nero's "Arbiter of Elegance." Not until the very end will he bequeath his magnum opus, The Satyricon, to posterity.
Exquisitely written and profoundly moving, The Uncertain Hour is a vivid portrait of life in ancient Rome and a gripping entrée into the mind of a great man during his final hours.



PRAISE:

"Lush and sorrowful...splendid...lusciously described... gorgeous."-The New York Observer
"The Uncertain Hour is that very rare thing - a historical novel of love and ideas not only free of pedantry, but also serious and entertaining. Browner has done a fine and meticulous job borrowing from the actual "Satyricon" dishes for Petronius' lovingly described last supper...a rewarding new novel."-Los Angeles Times
©2019 GoogleSite Terms of ServicePrivacyDevelopersArtistsAbout Google|Location: United StatesLanguage: English (United States)
By purchasing this item, you are transacting with Google Payments and agreeing to the Google Payments Terms of Service and Privacy Notice.