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Publisher's Summary

It is AD 81. The Roman emperor Domitian seizes power. Afflicted by classic paranoia, the self-styled Master and God sees enemies everywhere - and he is right. The Senate loathes him, his advisers are terrified, he cannot trust his wife, and barbarians menace the frontiers. As he vents his suspicions, no one is safe.
Gaius Vinius Clodianus survives physical and mental scars to reach high rank in the Praetorian Guard. Flavia Lucilla tends the privileged women at court; when Domitian's inherited talent unravels into madness, she loses her patron cruelly. In the haven of their shared apartment, Gaius and Lucilla find solace together, yearning for normality while living in a Reign of Terror.
Moves against Domitian are begun by his own household. Lucilla has to watch Gaius choose between love for her and risking death; between his sworn duty to protect the emperor and killing Domitian for the good of Rome. The plot careers close to exposure. Rome teeters on the brink of its Golden Age. A group of unlikely conspirators must now act with decency and courage, whatever the personal cost.
Master and God is the epic story of a despot whose contemporaries wrote him out of history. Told in Lindsey Davis' sardonic style, it is an intimate portrait of resilience, friendship, and love.
©2012 Lindsey Davis (P)2012 Hodder & Stoughton
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
5 out of 5 stars
By Michelle on 03-17-12

Simply Superb

Think "I Claudius" merged with "Much Ado About Nothing", mix it with Davis's excellent writing style and sprinkle with the reality of historic first century Rome and you will be some way to appreciating what a superb novel this is.

The basis of this novel, as the title suggests, is the reign of Domitian, not one of Rome's better emperors. It opens in the aftermath of the eruption of Vesuvius and takes us on a journey of almost twenty years. In Davis's usual way, real historical characters are entwined with those of her rather idiosyncratic imagination. The main protagonists are neither hero nor anti-hero, but beautifully crafted flawed human beings doing their best to get by in a Rome in the grip of an increasingly insane emperor.

The use of two narrators, which can sometimes grate on the ear, works extremely well and the delivery adds depth to the characters.

This novel will be an instant hit with those who are already fans of Davis's books. For anybody who has not yet come across her work, I would seriously suggest that they give this novel a chance. I can guarantee that nobody will regret their choice and will come back to this book again and again.

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10 of 12 people found this review helpful

5 out of 5 stars
By Bibliophile on 04-30-12

Another success

I always enjoy Lindsey Davis and look forward to another in her Falco series. This, however, is another of her standalone novels.
It is set in the time of Domitian, one of the emperors it was extremely unfortunate and highly dangerous to work for. One of his Praetorian guard is a major character, Gaius Vinius, as is Flavia Lucilla, an imperial hairdresser! They meet at the time of one of the great fires that devastated Rome, and their relationship developes over the years, despite Gaius' series of disastrous marriages. They see Domitian's increasing paranoia and are faced with the opportunity to do something about it.
The narration is in two voices which works very well.

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2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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