Vitellius’ Feast: The Four Emperors Series: Book IV

Written by L.J. Trafford
Review by Nancy Henshaw

AD 69 in Rome, and Nero is dead. He had most of the vices, but at least he had style and aspirations. Vitellius is something else, and licentiousness reigns in Rome as the new Emperor’s pastimes demand the infliction of ever more degradation and cruelty. This odious slob is even incapable of feeding himself and slaves, mostly unclothed, must place delicious morsels between his lips. In a Rome seething with plots and betrayal, Sporus is a talented entertainer who delights in wearing pretty dresses. When commanded to perform acts degrading beyond bearing, this gentle creature puts on his (her) grandest dress and hangs him/herself. In a Rome now seething with plots and betrayal the example of this dignified and courageous action leads Philo, a freedman who has terrifying memories of his own experiences in slavery, to head a conspiracy. From the East, all-conquering Vespasian approaches, and if the timing is right, there will be the chance of a peaceful takeover of Rome where Vespasian’s young son Domitian lies low, protected by experienced and manipulative women who are well aware that the innocent lad may one day be Emperor.

This outrageous romp is the final volume of a quartet, and it would be helpful to read the others first. If not, simply enjoy a tale told in coarse language in which the women can be as tough as the men.