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The Wolf Den

by Elodie Harper

Books of the Month Historical Fiction Sagas and Romance

LoveReading View on The Wolf Den

Set in AD 74, Elodie Harper’s The Wolf Den tells the enthralling tale of Amara, a prostitute enslaved to Pompeii’s lupanar brothel. Serving a rich feast of historic atmosphere with all the pace of popular drama, fans of spicy historic fiction will be left longing to devour the second course of this trilogy - think TV show Harlots set in ancient Pompeii.

Educated doctor’s daughter Amara once lived free, but the poverty that came in the wake of her father’s death led to enslavement to the Wolf Den brothel, where her cell is adorned with a picture of “a woman being taken from behind” and a terracotta lamp “modelled in the shape of a penis” (the real-life lupanar brothel is famed for its erotic frescos). By day, the she-wolves visit the women’s baths and stalk the streets to draw business to the Den. By night, “the brothel passes like a scene from Hades: the endless procession of drunken men, the smoke, the soot, angry shouting,” until Amara lies in her cell, “unable to sleep, suffocated by rage”.

When fellow she-wolf Victoria says how lucky they are, Amara’s retort is characteristically sharp: “Here we all are…Four penniless slaves sucking off idiots for bread and olives. What a life.” And a life she refuses to settle for when “the desire to escape takes hold, its roots digging deep under her skin, breaking her apart.

Harper’s style is exhilaratingly direct, with images lingering long in the mind’s eye. You smell the oil lamps and temple incense, taste sticky figs, feel physical blows, and the dialogue packs powerful punch too. It’s a vivacious piece of work, and all underpinned by a woman’s longing for freedom.

Joanne Owen

The Wolf Den Synopsis

Sold by her mother. Enslaved in Pompeii's brothel. Determined to survive. Her name is Amara. Welcome to the Wolf Den...

Amara was once a beloved daughter, until her father's death plunged her family into penury. Now she is a slave in Pompeii's infamous brothel, owned by a man she despises. Sharp, clever and resourceful, Amara is forced to hide her talents. For as a she-wolf, her only value lies in the desire she can stir in others.

But Amara's spirit is far from broken.

By day, she walks the streets with her fellow she-wolves, finding comfort in the laughter and dreams they share. For the streets of Pompeii are alive with opportunity. Out here, even the lowest slave can secure a reversal in fortune. Amara has learnt that everything in this city has its price. But how much is her freedom going to cost her?

Set in Pompeii's lupanar, The Wolf Den reimagines the lives of women who have long been overlooked.

The Wolf Den Press Reviews


'Wonderful ... This deliciously gripping novel casts the familiar setting of Norwich and its surroundings in a grim and haunting new light' Sarah Perry, on The Binding Song.

'A splendidly unsettling debut' John Connolly, on The Binding Song.

'One of the most chilling, atmospheric debuts I've read' Claire Douglas, on The Binding Song.

'Chilling, intelligent, and highly addictive. Superb' Will Dean, on The Death Knock.

'Riveting and scarily believable' Laura Purcell, on The Death Knock.

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All versions of this book

ISBN: 9781838933531
Publication date: 13/05/2021
Publisher: Head of Zeus
Format: Hardback

Book Information

ISBN: 9781838933531
Publication date: 13th May 2021
Author: Elodie Harper
Publisher: Head of Zeus
Format: Hardback
Pagination: 464 pages
Genres: Books of the Month, Historical Fiction, Sagas and Romance,
Collections: 2021 Preview - Exciting New Books on the Horizon, Around the World in 80+ Historical Novels.,
Categories: Historical fiction, Historical romance,

About Elodie Harper

Elodie Harper is a journalist and prize-winning short story writer. Her story 'Wild Swimming' won the 2016 Bazaar of Bad Dreams short story competition, which was judged by Stephen King. She is currently a reporter and presenter at ITV News Anglia, and before that worked as a producer for Channel 4 News.

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