Monday, September 15, 2014

Mailbox Monday: Kate Quinn, Eleanor Herman, and Anne Rice

Mistress of Rome by Kate Quinn
"An exciting debut: a vivid, richly imagined saga of ancient Rome from a masterful new voice in historical fiction
Thea is a slave girl from Judaea, passionate, musical, and guarded. Purchased as a toy for the spiteful heiress Lepida Pollia, Thea will become her mistress's rival for the love of Arius the Barbarian, Rome's newest and most savage gladiator. His love brings Thea the first happiness of her life-that is quickly ended when a jealous Lepida tears them apart.

As Lepida goes on to wreak havoc in the life of a new husband and his family, Thea remakes herself as a polished singer for Rome's aristocrats. Unwittingly, she attracts another admirer in the charismatic Emperor of Rome. But Domitian's games have a darker side, and Thea finds herself fighting for both soul and sanity. Many have tried to destroy the Emperor: a vengeful gladiator, an upright senator, a tormented soldier, a Vestal Virgin. But in the end, the life of the brilliant and paranoid Domitian lies in the hands of one woman: the Emperor's mistress".

Mistress of the Vatican by Eleanor Herman
"Today's Roman Catholic Church firmly states that women must be excluded from church leadership positions, but they neglect to mention that for over a decade in the seventeenth century a woman unofficially, but openly, ran the Vatican. Now, Eleanor Herman, author of Sex with the Queen, exposes one of the church's deepest secrets, laying bare facts that have been concealed for 350 years.
Beginning in 1644 and for eleven years after, Olimpia Maidalchini, sister-in-law and reputed mistress of the indecisive Pope Innocent X, directed Vatican business, appointed cardinals, negotiated with foreign ambassadors, and helped herself to a heaping portion of the Papal State's treasury. Unlike the ninth century's Pope Joan, whose life is shrouded in mystery, Olimpia's story is documented in thousands of letters, news sheets, and diplomatic dispatches.

Knowing of Pope Innocent's absolute dependence on his sister-in-law, Cardinal Alessandro Bichi angrily declared on the day of Innocent's election, "We have just elected a female pope." Mischievous Romans hung banners in churches calling her Pope Olimpia I. Cardinal Sforza Pallavicino bewailed the "monstrous power of a woman in the Vatican." One contemporary wrote that women might as well become priests, since one of them was already pope.

Born in modest circumstances, Olimpia was almost forced into a convent at the age of fifteen due to the lack of a dowry. She used deceit to escape, and vowed never to be poor and powerless again. Throughout her life, Olimpia exacted excruciating vengeance on anyone who tried to lock her up or curb her power. But her grisly revenge on the pope who loved her would be reserved for after his death. . . .

Seventeenth-century Rome boasted the world's most glorious art and glittering pageants but also suffered from famine, floods, swarms of locusts, and bubonic plague. Olimpia's world was kleptocratic; everyone from the lowliest servant up to the pope's august relatives unblushingly stole as much as they possibly could. Nepotism was rampant, and popes gave away huge sums and principalities to their nephews instead of helping the poor. Dead pontiffs were left naked on the Vatican floor because their servants had pilfered the bed and stripped the corpse.Mistress of the Vatican brings to life not only a woman, and a church, but an entire civilization in all its greatness . . . and all its ignominy".

"Fiery, fierce, and erotic, Blood Canticle marks the triumphant culmination of Anne Rice’s bestselling Vampire Chronicles, as Lestat tells his astounding tale of the pleasures and tortures that lie between death’s shadow and immortality. . . .

Surrounded by its brooding swampscape, Blackwood Farm is alive with the comings and goings of the bewitched and the bewitching. Among them is the ageless vampire Lestat, vainglorious enough to believe that he can become a saint, weak enough to fall impossibly in love.

Gripped by his unspeakable desire for the mortal Rowan Mayfair and taking the not so innocent, new-to-the-blood Mona Mayfair under his wing, Lestat braves the wrath of paterfamilias Julien Mayfair and ventures to a private island off the coast of Haiti. There, Saint Lestat will get his chance to slay his dragon. For Mona and the Mayfairs share an explosive, secret blood bond to another deathless species: a five-thousand-year-old race of Taltos, strangers held in the throes of evil itself".

Taltos by Anne Rice
"In the third chronicle of the Mayfair Witches, the Talamasca seek to preserve the nearly extinct Taltos race by bringing together a male and female. Their searching catches the attention of an ancient Taltos named Ashlar entwined with Lasher's identity. Ashlar reveals the taltos mythology and lineage and enlists the help of Michael and Rowan in his battle againsst evil. Ashlar longs to make right the sufferings of his people. To help Ashlar, Michael must keep his coupling with Mona Mayfair (a precocious teenager who loves sex and computers equally) a secret, for it has produced a new female Taltos. Rowan attempts to assist him, but the task is difficult given that Morrigan, the Taltos, has been named the heir to the Mayfair fortune. Morrigan becomes the new monster of the Mayfair family".

~Lizzie~

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