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An entertaining firecracker blazing with wolfish verve and a woman’s desire to escape the Pompeii brothel she’s enslaved to.
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.
'Utterly spellbinding' Woman & Home 'I couldn't put it down' Claire Douglas 'Deeply moving' William RyanSold 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 now 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 the Wolf Den's other women, 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 is the first in a trilogy of novels reimagining the lives of women who have long been overlooked. Perfect for fans of Pat Barker's The Silence of the Girls and Madeline Miller's Circe. Reviews for The Wolf Den: 'A compelling story of survival, friendship and courage. Amara and her fellow she-wolves are vividly drawn in a fascinating depiction of women at the time. Utterly spellbinding' Woman & Home 'Rich in historical detail, beauty and brutality, The Wolf Den brings to vivid life the doomed city of Pompeii and the powerlessness of its women. I loved it' Caroline Lea, author of The Glass Woman 'A vivacious piece of work underpinned by a woman's longing for freedom' LoveReading 'Utterly gripping' Daisy Dunn, author of In the Shadow of Vesuvius 'Unflinching ... The best book I've read in ages' Sophie van Llewyn, author of Bottled Goods 'The best historical fiction holds a mirror up to the present and The Wolf Den is a triumph. Harper transports us thousands of years and thousands of miles and yet we see ourselves reflected there' Claire McGlasson, author of The Rapture 'A riveting tale of power, love, hate, privilege, female empowerment and female friendships found in the most unlikely situations' Buki Papillon, author of An Ordinary Wonder
|Publication date:||13th May 2021|
|Publisher:||Apollo an imprint of Head of Zeus|
|Collections:||2021 Preview - Exciting New Books on the Horizon, Around the World in 80+ Historical Novels.,|
|Primary Genre||Historical fiction|
Closing date: 30/05/2021
Elodie Harper is a journalist and prize-winning 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, and before that worked as a producer for Channel 4 News. Her job as a journalist has seen her join one of the most secretive wings of the Church of Scientology and cover the far right hip hop scene in Berlin, as well as crime reporting in Norfolk where her first two novels were set - The Binding Song and The Death Knock. Elodie ...More About Elodie Harper