Ancient Rome was a frequent subject of Victorian historical fiction and also popular throughout the 20th century. It was similarly popular in movies, though it fell out of fashion for a couple of decades until the game-changing success of Ridley Scott’s Gladiator, released in 2000. Since then the floodgates of fictional Rome have been torn open.
But Rome means different things to different people. For some it is a military story of imperialism and war in foreign lands. For others it is the victim-tale of the conquered (especially if the conquered happen to be British or Judaic). For others it is broadly cultural: how could people be so similar to us and so different? There is a broad strand of historicals that touch on the New Testament stories, including many new ‘gospels’ and a wealth of faith stories, as well as some militantly anti-Christian novels. There are Roman detective novels, military historicals, sea stories, epics, and literary novels.
Biographical novels are perhaps the richest vein – for literature and ‘box office’.
Bar Kokhba: The Jew Who Defied Hadrian and Challenged the Might of Rome
Part travelogue yet still solid non-fiction history, this is a story about two fascinating personalities and the doomed attempt of one, Bar Kokhba, ...Read Review
The House with the Golden Door (Volume 2) (Wolf Den Trilogy)
Ancient Pompeii comes to life in the second installment in Elodie Harper’s Wolf Den trilogy. The bustling Roman Empire city is the ...Read Review
Rhea Silvia: Book One in The First Vestals of Rome Trilogy
This is the first novel in a trilogy featuring the mythical women of early Rome who guarded the sacred Vesta flame. It is 772 ...Read Review
The War That Made the Roman Empire: Antony, Cleopatra, and Octavian at Actium
Actium, fought on September 2nd in 31 BC, is surely one of the most decisive battles in history, but until I read this book ...Read Review
Empire of Iron (Vesta Shadows Trilogy Series, Book 3)
Rome, during the reign of Caesar Augustus, the Temple of Vesta: the Vestalis Maxima (head of the Vestal Virgins), Pomponia, seems to have ...Read Review