Book Spotlight with Notes | “The Emperor’s Assassin” by Autumn Bardot

Posted Friday, 15 November, 2019 by jorielov , , 0 Comments

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I am a regular tour hostess for blog tours via Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours whereupon I am thankful to have been able to host such a diverse breadth of stories, authors and wonderful guest features since I became a hostess! HFVBTs is one of the very first touring companies I started working with as a 1st Year Book Blogger – uniting my love and passion with Historical Fiction and the lovely sub-genres inside which I love devouring.

It has been a wicked fantastical journey into the heart of the historic past, wherein I’ve been blessed truly by discovering new timescapes, new living realities of the persons who once lived (ie. Biographical Historical Fiction) inasmuch as itched my healthy appetite for Cosy Historical Mysteries! If there is a #HistRom out there it is generally a beloved favourite and I love soaking into a wicked wonderful work of Historical Fiction where you feel the beauty of the historic world, the depth of the characters and the joyfulness in which the historical novelists brought everything to light in such a lovingly diverse palette of portraiture of the eras we become time travellers through their stories.

I received a complimentary of “The Emperor’s Assassin” direct from the author Autumn Bardot in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

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Why I wanted to read “The Emperor’s Assassin”:

I have had a keen curiosity about the Roman Empire for quite a long while and have longed to dig further into reading more about Ancient Civilisations. I’ve had a few hits / misses along the way – one novel in particular I had trouble adjusting to which I hope to get the chance to finally settle inside in the New Year (don’t worry, you’ll know which one once it comes along!) – however, when I heard the premise behind this lovely, the girl who grew up watching forensic science, detective series & all manners of police procedural or mysteries of suspense on television was giddy happy!

Mostly as who even *knew!* there was an original serial killer (supposedly) from the Roman Empire who set a new standard for all to follow suit when it came to seeking a way to cause death by poison? The curiosity I have for Forensic Science and the methodologies of deduction from forensic practices and by modern day medical examiners is what led me into seeking this out from a readerly perspective! I’ve quite literally watched Quincy, ME, Crossing Jordan, Rizzoli & Isles; & NCIS (Duckie & Abby) for the forensic teams!

A part of me was also hopeful this might prove a changing of the guard – of being able to read epic stories of more ancient times whereas previously I struggled to connect inside them as readily as I could say the 18th or 19th Centuries. I have been wanting to reach further into the past more frequently and hoped this might be one of the lovelies that points me more in that direction rather than relying on my regular haunts whenever I go to seek out a new Historical to read!

Likewise, you’ll be finding me focusing on the Tudors over the weekend which is also a keenly curious time slot in History but one in which I have been trepiderious about examining as I don’t find the Tudors to be as approachable as the Victorians, Edwardian’s or even the Regency! Truth to tell, I find Revolutionary France more keen to approach than the Tudor Court! Laughs.

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Book Spotlight with Notes | “The Emperor’s Assassin” by Autumn BardotThe Emperor's Assassin
by Autumn Bardot
Source: Author via Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours

History paints her as the first female serial killer…

Locusta is the daughter of a winemaker in the Roman province of Gaul. She enjoys the indulged childhood of the elite, her concerns only about the day’s amusements. She rides gentle ponies, attends parties, reads Ovid, and learns the herbal arts from her servant. But the day after meeting her betrothed, Locusta discovers the consequences of possessing such dangerous knowledge.

Ordered to leave her pastoral life, Locusta is thrust into a world of intrigue, scandal, and murder—where treason lurks behind every corner and defying an emperor means death. Locusta’s life changes forever when a young Emperor Nero requires her herbal expertise. And commands her to be his personal poisoner. Caught in an imperial web, Locusta must embrace her profession or die.

Or is there another way out?

History paints her as the first female serial killer. Or is she yet another maligned woman in history?

Places to find the book:

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 9780988209299

Genres: Ancient Civilisation, Feminist Historical Fiction, Historical Fiction

Published by Flores Publishing

on 14th September, 2019

Format: Trade Paperback

Pages: 437

Published by: Flores Publishing

Converse via: #HistoricalFiction, #HistFic or #HistNov
+ #RomanHistory and  #HFVBTBlogTours

Available Formats: Trade paperback and Ebook

About Autumn Bardot

Autumn Bardot

Autumn Bardot writes historical fiction and historical erotica. Her debut historical fiction is THE IMPALER’S WIFE. Her debut historical erotica is LEGENDS OF LUST.

Autumn, a pen name, has worked as an educator for more than sixteen years. She teaches literature, writing, and the magic of words. She has a passion for history and a special affinity for the unsung courageous females that history has neglected. Or misunderstood. Autumn lives in Southern California with her husband and every-growing family. She wishes she was one-tenth as brave as the women she writes about.

Historical Fiction:
(*) The Impaler’s Wife
(*) Dragon Lady
(*) The Emperor’s Assassin ( published Oct 1, 2019 )

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why i am choosing to spotlight the emperor’s assassin:

When I first opened this novel and read it was set during 48 AD – I was most curious to learn which century this would be affiliated with and would you believe my shock to realise I’ve gone further back into History than I first realised (outside of the Biblical Historical Fiction stories I read) as this is 1st Century encompassing 1 AD to 100 AD!

Bardot aligns her reader into the essence of what the 1st Century might have encompassed by presenting an image which would be not just acceptable to a contemporary reader but one that makes logical sense based on what we understand of the Roman Empire. As they were very much into not just luxury and estate but they liked to have their additions to their homes as well. I could readily accept they might be inspired to create the baths described in the opening passages due to how wealth and influence also walked hand in hand with the luxuries they would conceive would be beneficial to their survival. Cleanliness was a new concept I would imagine back then and having these baths would have been something only the wealthy could have provided in the way it was described. It shows a distinction in class but also in socioeconomic mindsets of the age.

We arrive inside Locusta’s life right when she is about to exit her singleton status and the embrace the maturity of having had a spouse selected for her by her father – as this was an age of tradition and duty. Her lady’s maid is more of a best friend than a servant at this stage of her life as Priscilla had filled the void of her long deceased mother – a place in her life which both enabled her to draw strength as a woman with an independent mind but also to remain humble with the lessons Priscilla tried to instill inside her as she grew into the woman she is today. You can tell how this is a non-traditional Historical novel by how Bardot has allowed it to take a few Feminist driven turns in the opening pages of the novel. She has allowed her characters to breathe and speak more openly about their lifestyles as women vs having to be closeted from sight as per custom generally in certain epochs of history. Even Locusta’s brother appears to be on the Autism spectrum but as this pre-dates that kind of terminology it is only slightly hinted towards rather than identified.

It is hinted towards the fact that Locusta didn’t have a natural instinct for herbology or apothecary practices but rather was inspired by Priscilla to pursue the craft. At this keen insight, I foolishly thought we would start to see how Priscilla could teach her the components of mixing herbs and how their benefits could either become deadly if used in certain forms and/or medicinal if used for purposes of health.

Instead, the novel took an abrupt turn I was not prepared for and although I know there are violent episodes against women in History one of the inclusions I find most difficult to read about are violent attacks on women and forced rape. This is a novel which capitalises on both and the level of description for what happens to Locusta took me quite unawares and honestly, it was worse than an episode of Law and Order: Special Victims Unit and that’s saying quite a lot!

I also was struggling to attach myself into the story as it felt like there was a certain sinister nature towards the marriage being arranged for Locusta – moreso than I felt possible because although I have read many arranged marriage plots and marriages of convenience, this one felt more like a predator plot with an unwilling victim silenced out of fear which is a hard read to get through for any woman. I am sure she was motivated to use that as a weapon of strength to retaliate whichever way she could but whereas I could follow the plotting of Lady MacBeth recently, I found myself rankling with the violence of how how this story was approached to be told. It just felt heavier somehow and I had a very difficult time moving through the narrative due to how visually graphic it was written.

I think it would be better suited for readers who are more aligned to read stories which focus on the brutality against women rather than those of us who were more interested in the criminology angle of the poisoner. It is definitely not for a reader who is sensitive hearted and who finds domestic violence against women a trigger of concern for their reading hours. I think I might have found myself better settled in the novel if it had focused more on the art of herbology and taken a dramatic crime novel approach towards unearthing how the deaths were caused through poison (and the conspiracy that would have caused politically) rather than the route it actually took to tell Locusta’s story. Given this is based on actual History, I am not sure if my version could have been told but it would have been a story I would have appreciated to have read.

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This blog tour is courtesy of:

Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours - HFVBTFollow the Virtual Road Map

as revealled via @HFVBT on Twitter!

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 I look forward to reading your thoughts & commentary!
Especially if you read the book or were thinking you might be inclined to read it. I appreciate hearing different points of view especially amongst readers who gravitate towards the same stories to read. Bookish conversations are always welcome!

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Reading this story contributed to a few of my 2019 reading challenges:

2019 HistFic Reading Challenge banner created by Jorie in Canva.

2019 New Release Challenge created by for and is used with permission.

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{SOURCES: Book cover for “The Emperor’s Assassin”, book synopsis, author biography, author photograph of Autumn Bardot, the tour host badge and HFVBTs badge were all provided by Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours and used with permission. Post dividers badge by Fun Stuff for Your Blog via Pure Imagination. 2019 New Release Challenge badge provided by and is used with permission. Tweets were embedded due to codes provided by Twitter. Blog graphics created by Jorie via Canva: Book Spotlight banner, 2019 Historical Fiction Reading Challenge banner and the Comment Box Banner.}

Copyright © Jorie Loves A Story, 2019.

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Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

About jorielov

I am self-educated through local libraries and alternative education opportunities. I am a writer by trade and I cured a ten-year writer’s block by the discovery of Nanowrimo in November 2008. The event changed my life by re-establishing my muse and solidifying my path. Five years later whilst exploring the bookish blogosphere I decided to become a book blogger. I am a champion of wordsmiths who evoke a visceral experience in narrative. I write comprehensive book showcases electing to get into the heart of my reading observations. I dance through genres seeking literary enlightenment and enchantment. Starting in Autumn 2013 I became a blog book tour hostess featuring books and authors. I joined The Classics Club in January 2014 to seek out appreciators of the timeless works of literature whose breadth of scope and voice resonate with us all.

"I write my heart out and own my writing after it has spilt out of the pen." - self quote (Jorie of Jorie Loves A Story)

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Posted Friday, 15 November, 2019 by jorielov in 1st Century, Blog Tour Host, Classical Era, Historical Fiction, Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours, History

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