Invitation to Die: A novella of Ancient Rome by Lindsey Davis
English | 2019 | Mystery/Thriller | ePUB | 5.1 Mb
Invitation to : In 89 B.C.E., Roman emperor Domitian throws a terrifying banquet for the Senators—one that everyone is certain they won’t survive—in Lindsey Davis’s Invitation to Die: A Novella of Ancient Rome.
The emperor Domitian is paranoid, autocratic, and violent. And he has a special grudge against both the Senate and the Camilli. So when a strange invitation to a banquet appears given by Domitian, it’s not good news for Aulus and Quintus, the Camillus brothers. Both are Senators, brothers-in-law of Marcus Didius Falco, a disreputable private informer with his own past with Domitian, and nephews to a man who plotted to depose Domitian’s father.
But they dare not refuse an invitation from mercurial and vengeful Domitian. And their concerns were well founded—Domitian has gathered the most powerful men in Rome for what is known to history as The Black Banquet. The place markers are tombstones with names on it, the servers are slaves covered in black make-up, and Domitian speaks only of death. Aulus and Quintus—like all the attendees—are sure they will not survive the night.
Bestselling historical novelist Lindsey Davis explores one of the more famous episodes in the reign of the much-feared 1st Century Emperor, through the extended family of her most famous creations—the brothers-in-law of Marcus Didius Falco and the uncle to his successor, Flavia Albia.
“Law,” proclaimed the noble Camillus Justinus, since he made his living by it, “is always important.”
“Right! But the Emperor never has to be so friendly with the Senate that he feels obliged to ask you all to dinner?”
Once again the father attempted to put forward a line that would sound safe if an informer got hold of their discussion: “No, he has no obligation, so it is very gracious of him. Our Emperor is known for giving civilised banquets, with fine food and delightful entertainment.”
Gaius sniffed. “You don’t believe that. I heard you say he winds things up too early. He doesn’t enjoy the eats and drinks, he upsets guests by saying rude things about them, he chucks bread and flicks sauce at them because nobody dares object.”
“I should have known,” Quintus remarked to the ceiling in a man-to-man fashion, “not to say that with children listening! No imitations, Gaius. You haven’t been given tribunician powers by the Senate, so don’t you try sauce-flicking at home.”
“Our mother would never allow it.”
“No, and I suppose if Domitian had not lost his mother when he was young, maybe he would have been brought up as nicely as you lucky bunch.”
During their last remarks, the study door had opened. Someone was leaning against the architrave, listening in. Fortunately it was not an informer.
Quintus, when he noticed, gave no hint of anxiety, merely cocking up one eyebrow to enquire why the visitor had come.
“So,” drawled his brother Aulus laconically. “This dinner tonight. Are we going then?”