Congratulations to Erryn Lee for not one, but two cover reveals for her 2022 release of "Child of Rome" (Book One in the Aquila Series) - each cover geared towards a specific audience, which a lot of authors do. Just Google George R. R. Martin's 'Game of Thrones' covers and you will get a wide range of different covers for the same book!
This is an awesome idea and we are thrilled that Erryn chose White Rabbit Arts at The Historical Fiction Company to design both covers. Let us know what you think - we'd love to know which one grabs your attention!!
Erryn Lee has spent most of her life between the covers of books, her passion for historical fiction drew her to a career as an English and History teacher, at least until she needs to give it up to write full time. When not teaching or writing she is deeply immersed in research and studying her Masters in History. Erryn lives with her husband and three bossy cavoodles on a horse farm in the picturesque central west of NSW, Australia.
Cover Reveal #1:
Book Blurb #1:
‘Princeps, I am told that Germanicus’ wife has given birth again.’
Tiberius managed to hold the smile in place. ‘A boy?’
‘A girl, Princeps.’
The smile secured itself. A girl was fine. No girl would ever rule Rome.
Grandchild of Rome's first Emperor, daughter of murdered parents, rival to her siblings and wed to a domineering and brutal husband; Nilla's bloodline is the most desired and dangerous in Rome. In a world where the blood of Augustus Julius Caesar is the priceless right to rule and a deadly commodity, she must somehow learn to be ruthless to survive.
Cover Reveal #2:
Book Blurb #2:
"Rome is a fickle bitch.
She is cruel to those she loves."
The Roman Empire is a fledgling, Augustus is dead, his desired successor not yet of age so the empire passes into the depraved rule of his step-son, Tiberius. But Tiberius’ grip is weak and the Empire clamours for a strong ruler, one with the blood of Augustus. Such blood becomes a desirable and deadly commodity.
Born to follow in the footsteps of their Imperial grandfather, Nilla and Gaius find themselves orphaned and alone amongst the treachery and ambition of the political machine that is the early Roman Empire. Their parents were slain, their brothers are rivals, their blood makes them a target; both must learn to be ruthless in order to survive
“Those in search of thoroughly despicable villains need look no further for they will be spoiled for choice!”
The Historical Fiction Company Review
At some point quite well into the narrative of this fine and well paced novel, the exiled Agrippina Major, widow of the murdered Germanicus and now in exile in Herculaneum, remarks: ''I cannot say I miss the Capital, [Rome] the great beehive of machinations. Alas, if you are not a careful apiarist the hive will turn on you and you end up being stung, and the results can be fatal.''
This is a wise, sagacious and prescient observation in this stirring tale of the claustrophobic politics of early Imperial Rome and the truly complex schemes and politics of its principal characters, all seemingly linked by either blood or marriage. Indeed, before embarking upon the book the reader is strongly advised to refer to each of the figures in the glossary provided and make a note of the links that each has, one to the other. This will prove to of great assistance in gaining a full and proper appreciation of the narrative.
All of the many characters of 'Child of Rome', the first of a trilogy of books by Erryn Lee covering the first six decades of the First Century AD., the first century of the Roman Empire, has his or her own important part to play, and all are provided with admirable character sketches [indeed, those in search of thoroughly despicable villains need look no further for they will be spoiled for choice!], but the book is truly devoted to the early life and times of Agrippina [Nilla], the daughter of Germanicus and Agrippina 'Major', both of whom having strong blood links to the now deified Augustus. The book begins with her birth in Germania in AD 15 and concludes in AD 37 with the death of Tiberius and the accession of her brother Gaius to the imperial throne; the notorious 'Caligula'.
And, in the eyes of history, his sister Agrippina is equally notorious, an infamous figure; an unscrupulous whore and a devious manipulator. Like her brother, [and, indeed, like many who surround her] she is a plotter and remover of rivals and obstacles, a shameless murderer. None of which, of course, is evident in the early life of young 'Nilla', a likeable and inquisitive little girl with highly developed observational powers. Accompanied by her loyal companion, the German slave girl Gisa, the hostage daughter of a German Prince and of Nilla's own wet nurse. Nilla is the vessel of the impeccably pure bloodline of the Divine Augustus. She is born into a world where she, like all others of her class and station, performs a wary orbit around the increasingly remote figure of the ailing and most usually and justifiably paranoid Emperor Tiberius. The reader is led through her early years, the triumphs and the very real disasters that follow her parents, her military father, the darling of the Rome mob, and her mother, the imperious and indomitable and equally revered Agrippina 'Major' . As she, her three brothers and, in turn, her two sisters, travel in the wake of their parents and the murder of one and the disgrace and exile of the other, the reader is well advised to pay attention as figures, both good and bad, make their various, and often bewildering, entrances and abrupt exits against the vivid backdrop of an Imperial Rome. which has been exquisitely researched and vividly portrayed.
It is not the purpose of this review to describe every twist and turn of the complex plot, for that would spoil it for the reader; but suffice to say we arrive, slightly breathless, at the end of the narrative in the year AD 37 on Tiberius' idyllic isle of Capri, scene of much debauchery and unsavoury goings on. The ageing despot is dead, in highly suspicious circumstances. Nilla's one remaining and clearly unstable and unsavoury brother Gaius (Caligula) seems set to don the Imperial Purple. Back in Rome, to say that the twenty five year old and now pregnant Nilla is trapped in an unhappy marriage to a truly and satisfactorily vile man now heavily implicated in treason is a massive understatement. It is at this point, we must await, eagerly, the next of Erin Leigh's admirable triptych of books.
'Child of Rome' requires the reader's attention and awareness at all times of family links and ongoing feuds and rivalries in order to derive the maximum level of pleasure in reading it. Without doubt, this level of concentration will be required for the second two books also. To those already acquainted with the period, it will afford a fresh and enjoyable perspective, and an exhilarating introduction to those new to the subject. It is easy to imagine that favourable comparisons will be made to, say, Sharon Penman or Colleen McCulloch for epic scale and grandeur. Having completed this book, and thinking of the subtle brush strokes of characterisation, of Claudius or of Agrippa Senior or of the fascinating Livia, widow of Augustus and mother of Tiberius, the work of Robert Graves is called to mind.
Without a doubt, this book is awarded the “Highly Recommended” award and five stars from The Historical Fiction Company.
Details coming soon about the 2022 release date for this novel!