Ancient Rome

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’.

The Heirs of Fortune

By Heather Domin - Published 2016

Genres:

Military

The second book in Heather Domin’s Valerian’s Legion series follows Rome’s 24th Legion under General Cassius Valerian and his adjutant (...Read Review

Death at Pergamum

By Albert Noyer - Published 2013

Genres:

Mystery/Crime

Getorius and Arcadia, a surgeon and his medica wife, are travelling to Constantinople to study medical texts. While there, events force them to ...Read Review

Secrets, Lies, and Murder in Ancient Rome

By Richard C. Waring - Published 2015

Genres:

The oddly didactic title of Richard Waring’s Secrets, Lies, and Murder in Ancient Rome (let’s hope future editions have a title ...Read Review

Tribune of the People

By Dan Wallace - Published 2016

Genres:

The century before the emergence of Julius Caesar saw the Roman Republic devolve into a kleptocracy where a handful of wealthy senators, using ...Read Review

Foreign Bodies

By David Wishart - Published 2016

Genres:

Mystery/Crime

Foreign Bodies is the 18th in the Marcus Corvinus series. In AD 42, the emperor Claudius sends Corvinus off to Gaul to investigate the ...Read Review

Vita Brevis

By Ruth Downie - Published 2016

Genres:

Mystery/Crime

Gaius Ruso, Roman medical officer and reluctant investigator of murders, is back for the seventh installment of the delightful Medicus series. This time ...Read Review

Twilight of Empire III: Battle for Rome

By Ian Ross - Published 2015Published 2017

Genres:

AdventureMilitary

Battle for Rome is the third novel in Ian Ross’ Twilight of Empire series, following Constantine’s rise to power from Britain to ...Read Review

The Gladiator’s Temptation

By Jennifer D. Bokale - Published 2016

Genres:

Romance

In 100 BC Rome, Fortunada, a golden-haired beauty, and Baro, a gladiator, meet secretly. They are in love and plan to marry. Although Fortunada ...Read Review

The Risen: A Novel of Spartacus

By David Anthony Durham - Published 2016

Genres:

Biographical FictionMilitary

In David Anthony Durham’s novels of ancient Rome, Rome plays the villain. Pride of Carthage mapped Hannibal’s attempt to overthrow that ...Read Review

The Daughters of Palatine Hill

By Phyllis T. Smith - Published 2016

Genres:

Biographical Fiction

The Daughters of Palatine Hill tells the story of three powerful women in imperial Rome. Julia, the only child of Emperor Augustus, longs ...Read Review