The Temple of Fortuna
by Elodie Harper
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Pub Date 09 Nov 2023 | Archive Date 16 Nov 2023
Head of Zeus, Apollo
'Beautiful, moving, captivating.' Jennifer Saint
'Vivid, unsentimental and compelling.' The Times
Amara's journey has taken her far; from a slave in Pompeii's wolf den to a high-powered courtesan in Rome. Though her story is not over yet.
While Amara plays for power in Rome's imperial palace, those dearest to her remain in Pompeii.
But is is AD 79, and mighty Mount Vesuvius is about to make itself known...
Praise for the Wolf Den Trilogy:
'Harper's recreation of this ancient world continues to thrill.' Observer
'Gripping and richly imagined.' Louise O'Neill
'A spell-binding novel that brings Pompeii back to life.' Anna Mazzola
'Brutal yet beautiful... Compulsive.' Susan Stokes-Chapman
'A one-of-a-kind historical novel.' Red Magazine
Available on NetGalley
Average rating from 96 members
The third part of the Wolf Den trilogy has finally arrived - to the great excitement and anticipation of the many fans of the first two books. I had not read either when I received the ARC for Temple of Fortuna, but I swiftly became absorbed in Elodie Harper's marvellous storytelling. She brings history vividly to life - from the funeral procession of the Emperor in Rome, to the dingy streets of Pompeii.
While it does make you curious to read the other books, this one can be read as a stand-alone, for sure. The reader is soon swept up into the life of Amara. Freeborn, yet at at times both a prostitute and a slave, she is now a freedwoman and a wealthy courtesan.
She is also a mother, though the true parentage of her child is a closely-guarded secret. Only a handful of people are aware that Amara's daughter Rufina is not in fact the child of her one-time patron Rufus, but the result of a forbidden affair between Amara and a slave belonging to Rufus, named Philos. Unfortunately, one of those in the know is Amara's ex-employer, the owner of the brothel where she was kept, so this is a source of some worry for her.
Now the mistress of a powerful man, Amara lives in the capital of the Empire - in Rome, with her patron Demetrius - while her little daughter stays with Amara's friend Julia, and is unknowingly taken care of by her father. Philos has been lent to Amara by Rufus for a limited time, to look after her child and manage her businesses in Pompeii.
But this is a infamous time in that city, and the eruption of Vesuvius is not too far off. What will happen to Amara's one-time lover, whom she encounters on a return visit to Pompeii, and to her daughter, her friends and her business ventures, once that happens...?
History is done great justice in Harper's writing, and this book is a must for those who are interested in that time period, as well as in a fascinating, dramatic story about surprisingly relatable characters. Four stars for this one!
I love the Wolf Den trilogy, it’s not an area of historical fiction that I had an interest in until I came across them either, it’s definitely one to pick up if you like that area of fiction
Thank you to Head of Zeus and Netgalley for the ARC for The Temple of Fortuna!
I'm going to keep this review as spoiler-free as I can, so I'll keep my commentary on the series as a whole and what stuck out to me the most, and not too much on specific plot details in Book 3. If you haven't read Books 1 and 2, please be aware of minor spoilers for those ahead.
The evocative nature of The Wolf Den was what first pulled me in when I opened it. It was very much a random pick off of a Waterstones shelf, and the blurb made me think "oh, this is going to be heavy reading, I should save it for later." But I'm glad I opened it that same night and didn't take breaks to open up another book until I'd finished. Book 1 felt cosier (odd choice of word I know, but hear me out) due to the fact the locations were limited and there was this core group of female characters I quickly fell in love with. Book 2 was a wonderful expansion, but more painful to read. I preferred the first two books but the way Book 3 tied up plot points was everything this series needed.
Firstly, Elodie's writing can't be faulted, at least not to me. It's exactly the style I adore reading: straightforward, with an emotional hook that leaves you re-reading lines just to process the feeling of being punched in the guts. I'm honestly so grateful to the author for choosing not to get graphic with scenes of sexual trauma and abuse within the brothel itself. We're surrounded by a world of media where the suffering of women (particularly in this line of work) is so often commodified for shock value. The imagination is a rough place, and it more than filled in the gaps without taking away from just how heartbreaking this series could be.
What stood out most for me throughout all three books is the Stockholm Syndrome that Amara formed towards her former master. So many of her actions began to mirror his (for her own survival) that it felt as if she had a constant question swirling inside her head: 'what would Felix do?' Abusive relationships are so often all-consuming, and I think the author covered this very well. I almost dread to think what their relationship looked like from the inside of Felix's head.
I went into this book expecting a villainous but fairly blunt portrayal of a pimp. I didn't for a second think this would be a book where I considered him as anything short of a monster to be defeated (and Felix definitely was). But despite how horrible his interactions with Amara - and indeed anyone - were, to the point where it sometimes felt too overwhelming to read (the author nailed it with his manipulation tactics), they were still some of the more interesting ones to me.
I felt this strange, fascinated horror each time Amara let slip in her own thoughts that she craved Felix's validation, or that she would have been loyal to him. I don't think she would have been able to manage it in the long run, because you can't grow crops in salted earth. Some people are past changing. The trauma bond was so deep seated, that it felt like it was catching Amara (and the reader) by complete surprise sometimes. For instance in Book 1 when *SPOILER* he was comforting Victoria and she lashed out telling her not to cry, in her head she compared how Felix had treated her grief over Cressa (with detached indifference).*SPOILER ENDS* It was very much an impromptu 'Amara, what???' moment but it made complete sense. He tangled her up with a heap of mental manipulation (for instance being summoned by him was torture, but not being summoned was also a form of torture), and then got caught up in the web himself and became obsessed. Because if Amara is like him and he recognises and loathes that, it makes sense the dynamic would go both ways. I definitely think he could have left her alone after Book 2 but it's this constant pull of hatred (and perhaps something more) that won't stop.
Realising Felix had completely drowned in the trauma of what happened to him in his past was definitely heartbreaking. As a trauma survivor myself, I understood the constant struggle to stay float and not give up on the parts of yourself that are worth saving. Because what's the point, when the world can often feel like an endless cycle of struggle and pain, heaped with memories you can't overcome? Giving into one's worst instincts and shutting off emotionally is tempting but so much more worse for your mental health in the long run, and I saw that represented in Felix's complete inability to maintain humanity towards anyone for too long. He felt like a dead man walking from the moment Amara noticed in Book 1 that he was incredibly lonely. But I couldn't muster sympathy for him. It had to be empathy only, because he grew up to spread the pain of what happened with him onto others in the worst way imaginable (Paris is especially depressing to read about, because his attitude towards the girls felt reminiscent of what Felix might have been at a similar age).
Felix being afforded a backstory like this actually highlighted just how much of a struggle Amara went through not to be like him and to survive him. Even when she began to outgrow Felix and achieve heights far past anything he'd managed, she kept feeling guilt over her supposed similarities with him. But whereas his past was a weight around his ankle keeping him at the bottom of the ocean, Amara was still swimming miles above. She refused to drown, and so was always destined to be free of him (which is honestly such a hopeful message to receive from subject matter that is so dark).
A scene near the end of Book 3 made me cry because it proved Amara's enduring humanity even after all that was done to her, and all the mistakes she made, fearing herself to be beyond salvation. It was such an unbelievably full circle moment, I'm in awe (once you read it, you'll know exactly which scene I mean). The trauma bond mentioned earlier climaxes in Book 3 and it's pitch-perfect. The quote *SPOILER*"And when you are dead, you are nothing"*SPOILER ENDS* is so simple but jarring and is going to stick with me for a while. It highlighted how quiet some of the worst moments of our lives can be, how insidious the trauma is when it creeps in without making a sound. It brought to mind how Britannica fought in Book 1 when she was first introduced to the brothel, and Amara wondered what happened to her own screams and how she'd managed to stay as silent as she did.
As always for this series, the portrayal of female friendships/relationships is a credit to the author's decision to trust the reader's intelligence. I feel that women are taught to judge other women far more harshly than they judge men. This is in large part thanks to the way society is structured, but in terms of popular media, female characters aren't usually written to have the same nuance as their male counterparts so the judgement stems from "they're just not as interesting". I've definitely seen a lot of subpar portrayals of women by authors of all genders, as if they can only be one thing (two at the most) and never have the freedom to be human the way the men do.
Fortunately, The Wolf Den trilogy has no problem defeating the allegations on this front. Some of the things done and said (by Victoria and Amara in particular) were horrible but never felt irredeemable. There was a context given for their negativity and it tied in perfectly with their character arcs. The girls of the brothel are very much their own people, and as so often happens in real life, outside factors came between their friendships and some ended up staying unresolved (I will never forgive Felix on this front, that nasty little man). Knowing where Victoria ended up in Book 2, reading Amara's thoughts on the whole thing was jarring. It definitely came off like she was grieving her, because it was a sort of death, even if there was never much life and freedom for Victoria to thrive in to begin with.
Reading about the girls finding rare snatches of happiness amidst their hopeless situation was so heartwarming. I'm honestly impressed the author struck that balance so well. Even though it's Ancient Rome and as prostitutes, the girls are meant to consider themselves at the bottom of the pole and just take what's given, they acknowledge their own mistreatment and the grief and trauma that comes with it. The narrative does come off quite modern in that sense, but it's the oldest profession in the world and deals with the mistreatment of women, both of which are universal topics. It definitely is an asset to the storytelling that the author chose to write it this way.
I'm definitely going to go back and re-read this book as I was already on a re-read of the first two. I'm sure there'll be more to catch later, but for now, these are my thoughts! Thank you so much to Elodie for writing this absolute masterpiece x
The Temple of Fortuna is the much anticipated ending to the Wolf Den Trilogy, tying up Amara’s story as she has gone from a slave in the Wolf Den, to concubine freedwoman living in the House With the Golden Door and now, living in luxury in Rome.
This was a masterfully written story, like the front cover and the city of Pompeii itself, I felt Vesuvius looming over me as I read and the anticipation of knowing what was coming whilst the characters went about their lives was terrifying. The additional threat of Felix that was established at the end of The House With The Golden Door co-existing alongside the threat of Vesuvius heightened the stakes even more. The pacing was perfect and I found that I was able to move through the plot at a good pace without being bogged down awaiting the inevitable.
The characterisation of Amara throughout the story was wonderful to read, she is cunning, shrewd and perceptive and watching her navigate Rome was a refreshing deferral from the setting of Pompeii in the first two books. It was also interesting to see her navigate her status as a freedwoman and how, regardless of how much money and status she managed to acquire, she still anxiously tried to organise her money in order to protect herself and her daughter. Harper skilfully shows us a world where women are fully fleshed out figures in an Ancient society instead of demure baubles, we get to see Julia Felix, Livia, Drusilla and Britannica exist and thrive and act with agency as businesswomen, wives and athletes.
This book was clearly written with so much research put into it and the commitment to detail increased the sense of immersion. There were so many references to incredibly well known archaeological artefacts and existing people whom we know existed in Pompeii, like Julia Felix and Pliny the Elder, the dog floor mosaic and Drusilla’s snake bracelet. Furthermore, the quotes from letters, histories and graffiti at the beginning of each chapter really helped to anchor the story in the historical period and at times I often forgot that Amara was not actually a person we know existed at all.
The story has a satisfying conclusion and I enjoyed that it was left open. It does a fabulous job of humanising the citizens of Pompeii, many of whom we grow to love over the trilogy as members of Amara’s found family. It was an engaging and gripping tale that reminded us that the iconic plaster casts were once people caught it the midst of a disaster that they didn’t even have a name for. I just know that this is a story I will be revisiting and that Amara is a character that will stay with me.
Thank you to NetGalley and Head of Zeus for giving me the opportunity to read this book in exchange for an honest review, these thoughts are all my own.
Having read over a hundred books via Netgalley, being granted the opportunity to read this advanced copy, has brought me the most excitement to date!
I absolutely loved the first 2 books in this trilogy and couldn’t wait to travel to Rome with Amara as we follow her journey with her patron Demetrius. Although she loves the wealth and privileges her new life brings, she cannot forget her past and those she has left behind.
A tragic death sees her return to Pompeii and reunite with all the characters I have grown to love and loathe. Secrets and danger soon resurface as she comes face to face with her nemesis Felix.
Knowing we were getting closer to the eruption of Mount Vesuvius built the tension even more.
For 200 pages, I held my breath and my heart thumped as I tried to guess Amara’s fate.
Beautifully written, Elodie Harper once again brings Ancient Rome to life, with her vivid descriptions and detailed knowledge. I also loved how she continued to start every chapter with a genuine quote from the era - poignant and so very clever.
A fitting and satisfying ending to a wonderful trilogy, thank you Netgalley and The House of Zeus for the opportunity to read this arc in exchange for an honest review - I’m so glad I didn’t have to wait until November!
‘The Temple of Fortuna’ is the final novel of the ‘Wolf Den’ trilogy. Much anticipated by those who have devoured the previous stories of the courtesan Amara in Pompeii, this addition begins in Rome. From the outset Elodie Harper makes the reader very aware of the precarious position that prostitutes who have found favour with rich and powerful Romans hold. Even though Amara is now living in luxury, she is forever having to calculate and dissemble.
When she becomes connected with a scandal after doing her patron Demetrius’ bidding, the latter sends her back to Pompeii for her own safety, also deciding to marry her for further protection. And soon she is involved once more with some of those whom we have met in books one and two of the trilogy.
This is another excellent tale of the ancient world. Harper has clearly researched her subject carefully. The Latin epigraphs which herald each chapter highlight an atavistic civilisation which is extraordinarily sophisticated yet undeniably cruel. As the story progresses, we are aware that Vesuvius is about to erupt and, when this happens, Harper captures the terror and the chaos wonderfully. Highly recommended.
My thanks to NetGalley and Head of Zeus for a copy of this book in exchange for a fair review.
I was so excited to be able to read the final instalment to The Wolf Den series ahead of time, as I’ve been looking forward to it since finishing The House with the Golden Door a year ago. It took me a moment to work out where we’d left all the characters, but I was soon straight back into Amara’s world. I think this book was even stronger than the second one, with the threat of Vesuvius really helping with the pace and plot. The characterisation was excellent as ever and I always find myself so drawn into the world. I also loved the ending, which can so often be disappointing at the end of a series. Looking forward to seeing what Elodie Harper writes next!
"The Temple of Fortuna" is the thrilling conclusion to the Wolf Den Trilogy, taking readers on a gripping journey alongside Amara. From her harrowing days of enslavement in Pompeii's notorious wolf den brothel to her triumphant rise as a powerful courtesan in the heart of Rome, this book showcases themes of survival, determination, courage, freedom, and the unbreakable bonds of friendship.
Follow Amara as she embarks on a new chapter of her life in the bustling streets of Rome. However, her path is not without obstacles and challenges. Despite her newfound status and luxury, Amara is haunted by the memories of her daughter Rufina, her beloved Philos, and the friends and foes she left behind in Pompeii. Just as the mighty Vesuvius readies itself for a cataclysmic eruption, Amara's emotions mirror the impending chaos.
Immerse yourself in the vibrant setting of ancient Rome, where women of the time faced remarkable circumstances. Set in September AD 79, a pivotal moment in Roman history marked by the volcanic fury of Mount Vesuvius that ultimately wiped out the city of Pompeii, this book offers a vivid glimpse into the past.
Although a work of fiction, "The Temple of Fortuna" is deeply rooted in historical context, providing an authentic portrayal of life in ancient Rome. It presents the hardships and barriers that women of the era confronted.
Amara emerges as a resilient and fierce protagonist, unyielding in her quest for freedom and loyalty to her friends. Throughout the novel, the dichotomy between slaves and those who have managed to transcend their origins and taste freedom is palpable. Regardless of one's birth circumstances, the indomitable spirit of humans refuses to bow.
It is worth noting that some slaves in Ancient Rome possessed exceptional education, entrepreneurial spirit, and artistic talents, while characters like Britannica, Amara's friend, shine as exemplary warriors and gladiators. The story also weaves in real historical figures like Julia Felix, a prominent businesswoman in Pompeii who owned the illustrious House of Julia Felix on the Via dell'Abbondanza.
Each character and event is skillfully portrayed, further enhancing the immersive experience.
However, brace yourself for the capricious nature of Fortuna, the goddess of luck. This rollercoaster of events and emotional journey will keep readers on the edge of their seats.
"The Temple of Fortuna" is a captivating finale to the trilogy, guaranteed to engage and enthrall.
I wholeheartedly recommend diving into its pages and embarking on this extraordinary adventure.
Thank you so much to Elodie Harper, Head of Zeus and Netgalley for giving me the chance to read this book early – I loved it!
So, this is the third in the Wolf Den trilogy, following an enslaved woman who has worked up from being a slave to a freedwoman and courtesan, during the first century in Pompeii and later Rome. I was enthralled by the very first book two years ago, enjoyed the second one immensely and was desperate for this third part. And it really did not disappoint.
There may be spoilers for the earlier books in the trilogy here, but I’ll try and avoid them for the third in the series.
The story starts up three years after the end of the last one, Amara is now living with Demetrius, the influential older man who has offered to become her patron after Rufus has basically abandoned her. He is a close friend of Pliny the Elder, who is the man who freed her in the first place – giving her his name. She is now living a life of luxury in Rome, but it is a life that feels precarious as she watches how other men treat their courtesans, including the new Emperor and his brother, and fears that her patron, Demetrius is attracted to her but doesn’t love her. She is also worried about the threat of her old pimp, Felix and is suffering mum guilt as a result of not being able to be with her daughter.
However, of course, this is 79AD, so there must be some link to Pompeii and the disaster that destroyed it. Amara goes back to Pompeii, to her daughter, being raised by Rufus’ slave and her ex-lover, and the story invites us into that experience. The explosion of Mount Vesuvius was 100,000 times more powerful than the bombs dropped on Hiroshima or Nagasaki, so the fear and chaos unleashed was incredibly intense, and Ms Harper gives us a front row seat into the lives of the people living through it.
As with the last two books, this is immaculately researched. You follow Amara around Rome and Pompeii, and the creation of the environment is so vivid, it feels as though you’ve been there yourself, and would probably know your way around! The details of the religiosity of the culture, the details of their clothing, their food, the social mores, are light touches but detailed too. This isn’t an academic book, but you feel as though you learn a lot about the way people lived at the time. Things like the Roman Emperor’s response to the disaster are exceptionally interesting, and quite modern in terms of people being cared for and compensation being given, whilst it also reflects the continuing idea of slavery and gladiators. The contrast is fascinating and explains why first century Italy is a worthy setting for a novel.
We spend time with many of the characters we’ve met before, Pliny, Felix, Philos, Victoria and Brittanica but it is Amara who always steals the show. An intelligent woman, who was valued by her father and is valued by the men who are around her, she lives with a wide range of fear and guilt. It felt so realistic that she spends the time looking over her shoulder wondering where the next problem may come from and time regretting her old friends and her mistakes. She is such a rounded character and has developed believably since the first book.
I was gripped from the moment I started, I didn’t want to put it down – just like with the other two books and some moments had me gasping out loud with shock and surprise. When I have time, I will definitely read these books again, because I’d love to read them one after the other.
Genuinely, thank you so much to the author for writing this amazing series. I thoroughly enjoyed it and will definitely be following you to Roman Britain, as you alluded to in the acknowledgements!
What an amazing finale to an amazing series. Elodie Harper is a fantastic writer and I can't wait to devour whatever she reads next.
What a brilliant final book to end the Wolf Den trilogy. Set in both Rome and also Pompeii, we are back with Amara as she makes the difficult decisions to secure her daughter's future. An absolute joy to read. Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for an ARC in return for an honest review of the book.
Utter perfection! For me, the perfect way to end a trilogy! Well perfect would be to just carry on writing as I feel Amara is now a part of me but I needed this. Was it wrapped up in a nice little bow? Of course but sometimes in life we just need that ending!
I really really enjoyed this instalment. The wolf den will always be the best book out of the three but this was brilliant. I kind of wish we had a bit more Felix but he can’t be the main character in every book can he?
As someone who is truly interested in what happens in Pompeii 79 AD, this was an exciting read and I am so thankful that I got to read it. Can’t wait to purchase the paperback! Thanks NetGalley !!
A moving and emotional ending to the Wolf Den trilogy. I have loved all 3 of the books and this final instalment is just as immersive and gripping as the previous two novels. Elodie Harper plunges you into Amara's world once more, full of characters that take on lives of their own as you follow them through the pages. We go with Amara back from Rome to Pompeii, where she spends time with her daughter Rufina and her lover Philos, who, as a slave, is as unattainable as ever. But its AD 79 and it's volcano day. The destruction of Pompeii and its devastating aftermath means that Amara and Philos have one chance to escape their pasts and build a new future if they dare - but fiery Vesuvius proves easier to leave behind than their arch enemy Felix.
The final instalment of The Wolf Den trilogy doesn’t disappoint. Full of vivid descriptions, unique plot line and packed with action, we see the return of Amara and the cast of well crafted characters. I don’t usually read series but I’ve looked forward to each of these books coming out and haven’t read anything else like it.
Thanks NetGalley for the read!
Thoroughly enjoyed the final book in this Wolf Den trilogy. Ancient Rome comes to life, you can hear the noise, smell the cooking and spices, see the slaves collecting water and waiting on their patrons. The volcanic eruption and earthquake vividly described. Whoever hasn’t read this trilogy is in for a treat. Thankyou to NetGalley, the author and the publisher for this review copy.
How on earth am I supposed to right this review? I have been dying for this book since I finished The House with the Golden Door in October last year. There is not a single book that I have looked forward to more this year. I find I am incredibly emotionally invested in this story. In Amara, Britannica, Philos and Rufina's story. And I feel a hatred for the antagonist only on par with the hatred I feel for Agamemnon. So, you might imagine that the book itself cannot possible live up to all that because no book, no author is perfect...
Well fuck that because I'm pretty sure Elodie Harper had produced a perfect ending to a perfect trilogy. Perfection is impossible my ass!!!
So here's my spoiler free review...
If you'd don't want spoilers, don't read further because I just can't not talk about it!!!
The book begins with Amara in Rome with her new patron, living the life of the rich and powerful. But she misses her daughter and her love in Pompeii and, despite her freedom and money, she's still being used as a political spy for her patron and his powerful friends. Predictably, this lands her is hot water, so much so that her patron asks her to marry him to protect her, and sends her to friends in Pompeii to keep her safe.
The writing in this book is so vivid that I easily felt that I was Amara. Her fear for her own life, the heart ache of seeing her family again but knowing that cannot be together, and the anger and disgust for the man who formerly owned her as a slave and still threatens to ruin her life. I felt all of it like a vice around my chest, tightening with the bad and loosening with the good. I wasn't reading words on a page, I was watching it happen, right in front of my eyes.
I could feel the protective influence of the money, her powerful friends and her gladiator sister wolf... who was by far my favourite character by the way, Long Live Britannica!! And then the event I've been waiting for since I picked up a book set in achient Pompeii happens... Vesuvius erupts. That protection crumbles just as easily as the buildings, as the sky fills with ash and fire and one by one, her friends perish. I felt heartbroken and exhausted by the end of it. It is a genuinely apocalyptic scene, I cried through most of it.
And the ending... I cannot imagine a better one. I was almost lulled into a false sense of security but I knew it wouldn't be as easy as it seemed. Luckily there was a solution to the problem and I literally screamed when it happened!!! I had only one problem with the book as I finished the last chapter... Which was fixed by the epilogue!!
I would have loved a little more, just one or two more chapters to see the reunion which is hinted at actually happen. But I can see it in my head and I've cried for that too. My only problem is that I have noone to talk to about this book!!! Which is why the review is so long... This won't fit in an Instagram post so I'll have to do some editing.
I highly recommend the whole trilogy to anyone who enjoys books set in the ancient world. It's exciting, chilling, heartbreaking, heartwarming, incredibly gripping and completely worth your time!
Bring tissues and prepare to fall...hard.
I've just read the final page of The Temple of Fortuna, the last book in the stunning Wolf Den trilogy, and I can't begin to describe the emotional rollercoaster I've been on. I can't fault this series at all. I'll try my hardest to review this powerful finale without spoiling the series for anyone who hasn't discovered these books yet...and if you haven't read them, get them on that TBR right now.
Elodie Harper takes us back to unforgiving world of Rome and Pompeii, to join Amara on the final part of her journey from a whore of the wolf den to courtesan in Rome. This book is a truly stunning ending to the series with everything we've come to expect and more. The journey is thrilling and fraught with dangers at every moment. Amara is a unique and memorable protagonist. An incredibly clever, tenacious and strong woman who refuses to accept her fate as a whore, Amara has an incomparable ability to identify an opportunity to improve her situation. The stakes are always heart wrenchingly high, but now Amara has far more to lose and fight for. The remaining cast of characters is equally engaging and memorable; the unnerving Felix, jealous and equally opportunistic, Britannica, the iceni warrior; the fiercely loyal Philos and all the others make this a truly stunning set of books.
One of my favourite aspects of Harper's writing is her ability to bring ancient Pompeii to life. Her descriptions bring every aspect of the Roman world to life in a vivid way. It's so well researched and blends easily into the narrative so subtly you often forget you're reading historical fiction and you're almost in a thriller.
I have adored every step I've taken with Amara and I'm truly sad I won't be going into her world again. Harper is a truly wonderful and talented writer and I can't wait to see what world she's going to take us to next. Even if you're not into history, this novel is so exciting, thrilling and captivating you won't fail to love it. My poor heart has been pushed to its limits during this trilogy...at least I get to give it a rest now!
I'm going to buy this trilogy as a gift for all the book lovers in my life for Christmas, I honestly can't recommend it enough. My heart felt thanks to the publishers and netgalley for providing me with an arc in return for an honest review. 5 stars from me.
As enjoyable and absorbing as the first two books of the trilogy. Perhaps and little slower and less satisfying than its predecessors, but still a better read than many books
I absolutely LOVED this final book in the trilogy. The setting was incredibly described - so rich and vivid. The eruption was harrowing and was really worth the wait. The devastation wreaked on the lives of the characters was incredibly moving and I found it really interesting to see how people fled the destruction. I really enjoyed seeing Amara’s and Philos’ characters develop and felt truly satisfied by the ending. I like that things weren’t entirely resolved and that the story seems to continue on beyond the pages of the book. Thanks so much for the advance copy!
* Thank you Elodie Harper, Head of Zeus & Netgalley for the Arc! *
Let me start by saying that I had "The Wolf Den" & "The House with the Golden Door" on my TBR for a year now. So when I read 1300 pages in 2 days it's because Elodie Harper wrote an intricately woven tale that merged history, emotion, and trauma! Set against the backdrop of ancient Rome and the impending eruption of Mount Vesuvius, this final installment was a rollercoaster.
Continuing Amara's journey from slavery in Pompeii's wolf den to her rise as a courtesan in Rome, there's a lot of focus on growth and transformation. As the story unfolds, the looming eruption of Mount Vesuvius creates an atmosphere of tension and uncertainty (and not wanting to spoil anyone Amara is facing the same tension and uncertainty even not knowing about the destruction coming her way... so, double-thrill!). The historical accuracy brings the impending catastrophe to life, making each moment very compelling to read.
So, if you're interested in reading about resilience, power, ambition, and loyalty, with a mix of original & historical characters: start now!
This is the weakest book of the trilogy, and I think it's in part due to our modern knowledge of how the finale must play out. To me, though, it's mostly missing the high-level drama, scheming, and the general strategizing I so enjoyed Amara applying in the previous two novels in order to survive.
Due to a substantial time jump of 3 years, <i>The Temple of Fortuna</i> tries to keep previously prominent characters in the reader's memory by conjuring flashbacks of them instead of having them naturally appear on page, which often felt forced. And while I do enjoy the descriptions of life in Ancient Rome (my beloved), I personally found there were one too many atrium frescoes described in detail.
I have to admit, I am still deeply enamoured with the romance... Philos... what a man. Yes, the romantic drama still provided me with plenty of serotonin. It's because of that, and due to my love of the rest of this trilogy, that I can't bring myself to rate this book any lower than 4 stars! Would read all of them again.
<b>***I received a digital copy from the publisher through Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.***</b>
It was always going to be tricky to finish this trilogy, set in Pompeii when everyone knows what's coming! But Elodie delivers a wonderful final book to close the story, Amara feels so familiar, a fully rounded character and we've lived alongside her rise from rags to riches. Beautiful
Fortune favours the brave.
I re-read The Wolf Den and The House with the Golden Door before starting to read The Temple of Fortuna, not only to refresh my memory, but also to give a review what the book (and the trilogy) deserves. But, as I am sitting here trying to map out the review, I still wonder, how on earth will I manage to give my opinions on a book that is so masterfully written?
I firstly have to give my utmost thanks to the team at Head of Zeus and Elodie Harper for giving the chance to read The Temple of Fortuna in advance.
Instead of re-writing the synopsis or what happened in the book, I will concentrate on the writing, language and the overall emotional rollercoaster that is The Wolf Den-trilogy. Having high hopes for the final installment to be as vivid in language, emotion, culture and history as the previous two. Did it disappoint? Absolutely not.
On this intimate historical journey I have shared laughter, tears, hope, sorrow and faith with Elodie Harper's writing. Did I want the journey to end? No, I really did not. This is one of those very rare books that really will make you stop and reflect.
I also must mention the amount of research Elodie Harper has put into these books is very, very impressive. How everything is woven into the story, merging fictional with the real world of the past. Did I at several points forget, that most of the characters in the book are fictional? Yes.
I highly recommend The Temple of Fortuna, however! Please do read the first and second book before starting this one. Although, this book could be read as a stand-alone, but... read the first two. Do it. You won't be disappointed.
I cannot wait what Elodie will write about next!
What a brilliant, brilliant close to a fantastic trilogy. I can't wait for it to officially hit book stores and i hope this trilogy gets the love and attention it absolutely deserves.
This book was my most anticipated read of 2023 and my high expectations were completely fulfilled.
I’ve been a trembling mess after reading this. My heart was constantly on the edge of exploding and the fearful apprehension had my emotions fleeing to escape, it’s that vividly written, that well researched by the author, it honestly takes your breath away.
I’m always in awe by the authors amazing ability to bring to life an ancient time & place, to make you feel fully invested in every single gripping moment with these compelling complex characters. The characterisation and narration throughout the series is phenomenal.
This series has a very special place in my heart, inspiring me to get on a plane to Italy for my birthday. The history absolutely fascinates me. Pompeii was the highlight of my holiday and is an experience I’ll never forget, and promise to revisit one day. I’m now craving to visit Rome.
I loved The Temple of Fortuna. It was everything I needed, wanted and more. Elodie writes a powerful piece of art that will erupt all your emotions.
There were many times my eyes filled with tears of joy and sorrow, when I got to the epilogue I was a weeping mess. I loved the epilogue, I loved the authors choice of character to wrap up this series in such a satisfying way, perfect ending to a perfect book series….yet I will always yearn for more.
This final instalment of Elodie Harper’s Wolf Den trilogy follows a third new phase in Amara’s life and rise to riches. She has left her daughter and lover behind to search out prosperity and security with her new patron in Rome. A freedman himself, Demetrius treats Amara with respect and dignity and allows her near unrestricted access to his wealth. The only thing missing in her new life is love.
The first page throws the reader straight into the middle of Amara’s new life in Rome, giving constant contrast to her old life of fear and uncertainty. As a classics graduate, I found it particularly interesting to see the comparisons between Rome and Pompeii bought to life with such vivid detail. Elodie Harper doesn’t shy away from describing, in depth, the ancient scenery and society. She even manages to weave in political intrigue and hints of real historical upheavals. The looming threat of Vesuvius adds a particularly interesting tension to the novel as readers wait in expectation for news of a horrific event that the characters remain unaware is in their future. Even though I was expecting the reference to its eruption, I was not expecting the vivid scenes that would be painted or the depth and variety of emotions that these scenes would evoke.
With her detailed backstory and tumultuous experiences in the first two books, the character of Amara seems to jump out from the page as a real person. There is so much depth to her character that it is impossible not to become fully embroiled in her life as you read. Her emotions became my emotions, her ambition became my ambition, and her fears became my fears; it came to a point where I felt I could predict her thoughts and actions in each scenario. In the pivotal moments of decision where I doubted what path she would choose, I felt that it was her doubt I was feeling as she fought with herself to make the right choices. Mostly these boiled down to a tug-of-war between love and security, a theme that has been a constant throughout the trilogy. It is such a familiar theme that it helps the reader relate closely to Amara’s struggles despite the centuries that stand between us and her.
I can't say much plotwise as this is Book 3 in a trilogy. But if you are looking for a stunning read that will overcome your heart and soul in the best kind of way - look no further than this book!
I adore this series so much and the conclusion to the fantastic Wolf Den and House of the Golden Door did not disappoint!
A fitting ending to this historical fiction trilogy! I enjoyed the first two books and was excited to find out how Amara’s journey would end. This was a very well researched novel and you felt transported to AD 79. I raced through to find out what happened and there still were twists and turns even though you know there will be a big event in the novel somewhere. I thought it was a good ending to the Wolf Den and looking forward to seeing what Elodie Harper writes next.
This is my favourite historical fiction series EVER and I was delighted to have been offered an ARC copy of the book.
"The Temple of Fortuna", to be published on 23rd November 2023, marks the riveting culmination of the Wolf Den Trilogy, beckoning readers to traverse a captivating odyssey alongside Amara. From her perilous days as a slave within Pompeii's infamous Wolf Den brothel to her triumphant ascent as a formidable courtesan amidst the heart of Rome, this narrative unfurls themes of tenacity, resolve, valour, liberty, and the indomitable bonds of female friendship.
Accompany Amara as she embarks on a fresh chapter in her existence amidst the bustling thoroughfares of Rome. Yet, her journey is far from untroubled. Despite her newfound stature and opulence, Amara remains besieged by recollections of her daughter Rufina, her cherished Philos, and the allies and adversaries she left behind in Pompeii. Much like the formidable Vesuvius preparing for a cataclysmic eruption, Amara's emotions mirror the impending tumult. You will submerge yourself in the vibrant milieu of ancient Rome, where women of the era grappled with extraordinary circumstances. Set against the backdrop of September AD 79, a pivotal juncture in Roman history marked by the volcanic wrath of Mount Vesuvius, which ultimately obliterated the city of Pompeii, this tome bestows a vivid glimpse into a bygone era.
There are so many things I adore about this series. The writing is exquisite, with sensual descriptions of smells, foods, outfits. It transports you right into the heart of Roman Empire and gives you broad perspective into what the life was like for the poorest and the richest. Pompeii and Rome truly come to life through vivid descriptions of day to day life, but also special celebrations of festivals.
I got to truly love Amara as an unwavering and formidable leading character, resolute in her pursuit of liberty and steadfast in her devotion to her companions. Across the pages of the novel, the stark contrast between those in bondage and those who have managed to rise above their beginnings and savour the sweetness of freedom is unmistakable. No matter Amara’s initial circumstances, her unbreakable human spirit and deep love perseveres, never yielding to adversity. Britannica is another character that has truly stolen my heart and I wouldn’t love anything more than reading a whole book dedicated to her and the Boudicca’s rebellion written by Elodie Harper!
What truly stands out is the amount of historical research that must have gone into this book and the descriptions of Vesuvius catastrophe. I have never read a book that described natural disaster in more skilful manner. The fear, destruction and chaos are palpable, I was holding my breath while reading the passages.
Overall "The Temple of Fortuna" is an incredible end to a fantastic trilogy, a true work of art! If you love historical fiction and want to be truly immersed in the world of Ancient Rome, go and read this series NOW!
* Thank you Elodie Harper, Head of Zeus & Netgalley for the Arc! *
Wow this book. This is my most anticipated read of 2023 so it’s been one I have held huge hopes for and was dying to read.
My rating is 5 stars and this is because this book is written so beautifully and with so much care for the accuracy of history.
One of my favourite aspects of this book is the timeline, the build up to what you as the reader are eagerly anticipating, the eruption of Vesuvius. I honestly was contemplating the numerous scenarios of what could happen to Amara and her family and those of Pompeii and this anticipation made the book an incredible read. I think what strikes you the most is that you already know what happens, it’s literally history, but the sheer devastation of knowing that characters you have loved for 2 whole books have the potential to be lost and it’s just a matter of finding out who it could be.
On top of that, you can see Amara’s pain and trauma from her past throughout this book, the past always being at the front of her mind and never really letting her live her life the way she would like to and it’s very much a hard read for the reader who can see so clearly what she should do but knowing that it is harder said than done.
The ending of this book was incredibly relieving and through the devastation that was Pompeii, it brings you a level of hope, that we do know people survived and they made new lives for themselves and that’s what really makes this book incredible from start to finish.
I would recommend this book and series to everyone, it will hold you so tight in it’s grip and it’s a beautiful series and conclusion.
What a satisfying end to this wonderful series! I really had no ideas as to how the story might continue and the way it was handled was perfect. I look forward to many more wonderful novels from this gifted historical fiction author! Many thanks to Netgalley for an arc of this book.
I was so thrilled to be given an ARC of this book and have loved following Amaras story. I think Elodie did an amazing job concluding what has been a highly emotional and at times difficult read. I think the story concluded beautifully.
The growth of Amaras character was wonderful to see even if hard at times of great suffering. The people she met and loved along the way and of course those she hated helped make this a compelling tale.
I wont give any spoilers but there was just one character I wanted to know fate of however it is minor and upon finishing the story I was crying and smiling. I cannot wait for more people to read this final chapter of the trilogy so I can discuss everything.
This book and the two previous books in the wolf den trilogy are perfect for those who love ancient Rome tales and strong female characters.
Thank you Elodie for sharing this with us!
Thank you to Netgalley and Head of Zeus for the ARC of The Temple of Fortuna!
After devouring The Wolf Den and House With The Golden Door in January, this book was one of my most highly anticipated releases of 2023 for good reason. The Temple of Fortuna beautifully concludes one of the best historical fiction trilogies I've read in years, and to give both Elodie Harper and this trilogy its due justice, I'll be refraining from any significant spoilers and conclude my thoughts on the series as a whole.
The final novel of the Wolf Den trilogy immediately immerses us into the world of Ancient Rome, 79 CE. The Empire is left reeling following Emperor Vespasian's death; Amara finds herself embroiled in the middle of a power struggle between the Emperor's two sons, Titus and Domitian, alongside her patron, Demetrius, all the while being haunted by her past, those she left behind in Pompeii. And with the added benefit of hindsight, we know that one of the world's most catastrophic natural disasters is on the horizon.
What initially drew me into the first book was not only the setting but the key themes that continue throughout the whole trilogy. Amara's development as she regains her autonomy and processes her trauma is so intricate, raw and authentic. You truly get a sense of Amara struggling between merely surviving, using her cunning and shrewd nature, manipulating people just as Felix does, and navigating life as a freedwoman, a mother and a courtesan in the Imperial Palace. The Temple of Fortuna is a brilliantly dark study of trauma, grief, strength, revenge slavery, sisterhood and sheer determination to survive, set in a beautifully rich, fleshed-out historical setting.
How Harper fleshes out female characters adds a more profound complexity and vivacity to the women in this novel, not just Amara. In a society where their roles and lives had so little agency, it is returned to them here. I particularly loved the continued friendship between Amara and Britannica and the blending between fictional characters and literary interpretations of historical figures, namely Julia Felix and Pliny the Elder; as a reader, you can genuinely understand and appreciate the amount of research and detail given by Harper.
What a spectacular ending to a touching, powerful series that gives agency to women often overlooked in history. The Temple of Fortuna by Elodie Harper is a 5/5 for me!
After adoring the first two books in the trilogy, I was looking forward to the conclusion and I'm happy to say I wasn't in the least disappointed. I knew I could trust Elodie Harper with a wonderful finale.
The story starts with a change of scenery: after becoming the concubine of Demetrius, Amara moves to Rome where she becomes entangled with political intrigues and dangers. Even though I was looking forward to her return to Pompeii, I really enjoyed this part and I wouldn't have minded reading even more about it. I just love political intrigue and I loved what we saw of it.
Once Amara returns to Pompeii, admittedly, the story becomes even better. I liked seeing her reunited with her friends, while her more tense relationships, not only with Felix and Victoria but also with Philos and her daughter, where very interesting.
The eruption of Vesuvius was, however, my favourite part of the story. It was extremely well written, tense, raw and very emotional. I just couldn't put the book down, I was so anxious to see what would happen to everyone. I also found the aftermath very interesting: Harper really showed the huge impact the eruption had on the lives of the survivors, and I really sympathized with them.
The conclusion was very satisfying. I was so glad with everything which happened to Amara, and the open ending makes me really hope that Elodie Harper will write more in this historical setting, because this series has been a wonderful reading experience from start to finish. I'm already looking forward to re-reading it.
I loved reading this final instalment in Elodie Harper's Wolf Den trilogy. In The Temple of Fortuna we finally reach the eruption of Mount Vesuvius and Harper's depiction of both the horror of the eruption and its aftermath for the communities it affected, is brutal and compelling. One of the great strengths of this trilogy is the way characters are developed --they are frequently flawed but ultimately believable and I feel sad to be leaving them behind.
Just over a month ago, I read a sample of The Temple of Fortuna, and was intrigued enough to find The Wolf Den and read it. I was hooked and immediately bought The House With the Golden Door and later waited impatiently for the full publication of the final book in Elodie Harper’s compelling trilogy. Eight years ago, I visited Pompeii and the actual wolf den in the ruins of the city, so it was amazing to be experiencing the author’s vision of what life in Pompeii might have been like.
It’s been a pleasure to share the lives of Britannica, Philos, Amara and the strong, beautiful and complex women imagined by Elodie Harper. It was bittersweet to end the story, but I look forward to reading more by the author.
I loved this book! Having read the other 2 books in the trilogy I knew the characters and the back story but this book could be read as a stand alone to the others. Elodie Harper brings Roman living to life, the sounds the smells, the unambiguous position in life which imprisoned some.
Amara, in this episode of the trilogy looks to have everything she ever desired, but wealth is not everything as she still does not have her daughter with her. Will her patron accept her daughter and bring her to Rome? Will she ever escape from the blackmailer Felix?
Fantastic read highly recommended!
The Wolf Den is one of my favourite historical novels so I was extremely excited to read the final installment of the trilogy. I love Elodie Harper's fantastic use of contextual details and obviously in-depth research on Pompeii - even down to the frescoes and fountains in villas being accurate! I think her writing provides an immersive and at times visceral portrait of life in Roman colonies as a member of the unprivileged classes (slaves, women, freedpersons).
Part of Amara's charm as a character is her determination to advance herself in society despite this forcing her to override her own emotional and ethical intuitions - it is refreshing to have a female character who is complex and morally grey, and yet still clearly deeply emotional. I think the portrayal of motherhood in The Temple of Fortuna, and Amara's subsequent choices surrounding her priorities - family and friends or status, wealth, and security - is brilliantly written. I love that almost none of the characters in the trilogy have clear-cut affinities, including Amara, and the majority do not fail to choose themselves and their advancement over overs, as I feel this really gives an impression of the insecurity and danger of living as a non-freeborn woman, constantly having to ensure alliances and favours are reinforced.
Whilst I would love to discuss the plot further I am conscious of spoilers so I will refrain from saying anything more than that the plot twists managed to take me by surprise! Being familiar with Pompeii's history, I thought I knew what would happen, and whilst I was mostly correct I was still taken unawares by the events in the last parts of the book.
Overall, the final part of The Wolf Den trilogy did not disappoint - The Temple of Fortuna is a masterfully written, emotionally charged, and historically fascinating book. I will definitely be rereading the entire series in the near future as I already miss Amara!
Many thanks to Head of Zeus for the opportunity to read and review this book via Netgalley.
A fantastic final instalment. Engaging, thrilling, moving and just all round incredible.
I loved this book and couldn't put it down. This is a trilogy I know I will return to again and again and tell everyone I know to read.
Last year I bid farewell to Amara when she boarded on a boat and left her child and lover behind. It was utterly heartbreaking and yet, I understood her motive. This year, I was happy to finally get reacquainted with her story and see her thrive.
The Temple of Fortuna kicked off three years after the ending of book II. The first 40% of this final volume, which described Amara’s life prior the eruption of the Vesuvio, was melancholic and slow. But essential. And when the worst happened, the author gave me exactly what I was waiting (and hoping) for.
I loved, loved, reading about how Amara was able to face the unknown, the tragedy and survive the unthinkable. I loved reading about those days, because they felt so real and raw, I couldn’t stop thinking about what might lay ahead.
I cannot talk about the exact sequence of events because it would be a major spoiler, but the ending was perfect and you should trust me on this. I could literally feel that reunion in my bones.
4 full stars.
Oh my god what a way to end the trilogy!
Going into this book, I was a bit apprehensive - I’d loved and devoured the previous two books so this one had a lot to live up to… and it definitely delivered.
While it started slow, with Amara living an easier life than we're used to seeing, the stakes quickly rose and we got back to the story full of feeling, intrigues and power plays expected from Elodie Harper’s books.
And that ending - just what it needed to be: full of heartbreak but also redemption. It fully shows Amara’s humanity but also the determination and cunningness we’ve grown accustomed to.
And the epilogue? Had me finishing reading with a very satisfied, big smile on my face and wishing we’d had more of this voice throughout the books!
I love the Wolf Den series of books by Elodie Harper and was so happy to receive an ARC for the final instalment in the trilogy; The Temple of Fortuna. In this we follow Amara to Rome where she is the established partner to the wealthy Demetrius having left her former lover and daughter in Pompeii. When Demetrius asks Amara to marry him, she returns to Pompeii to prepare for the wedding. I loved The Temple of Fortuna - it is full of drama and atmosphere and is so vivid and well researched. It is a very fitting and satisfying conclusion to the trilogy.
✨ BOOK REVIEW ✨
Temple of Fortuna - Elodie Harper
☀️ Amara‘s heartbreak and anguish could truly be felt through every page. I can’t think of many times I’ve rooted more for a main character. She had so much depth.
☀️ The portrayal of what is effectively Stockholm Syndrome. Seeing how Felix continued to play a huge part in Amara’s decision making really captured the all-consuming hold that abusive relationships can have over someone.
☀️ I can’t fault Elodie’s writing. It had me close to tears on multiple occasions. I also felt SO on edge reading those last few chapters. A book that makes you feel all the emotions is a winner with me.
☀️ The decision to not put graphic scenes on page. Knowing they’re happening is simply enough.
☀️ Characters you connect with and care about. There are a lot of them, but the friendships are all so sweet and genuine.
☀️ Not a happily ever after ending, but not a miserable one either. It was satisfying without being too perfect.
☀️ So much angst and pining.
☀️ The vivid descriptions of the various locations this is set. Nothing ever felt vague or confused, as Elodie does such a great job of painting a clear picture.
☀️ While fiction, I feel like I learnt a lot from its historical context about what women during this time had to go through. You can really tell the author did her research on the Roman Empire.
☀️ I was gripped from beginning to end, almost unable to put it down.
☀️ Philos and all of his gut-wrenching proclamations. I will never recover.
The Wolf Den (5🌟)
The House With The Golden Door (4🌟)
The Temple of Fortuna (5🌟)
If you haven’t read this series yet add it to your list RIGHT NOW. You will not regret it.
The final instalment of the Wolf Den trilogy, and the continuing saga of Amara.
Now living in Rome under the protection of Demetrius, Amara is much different to how she was portrayed in the earlier books. A stylish, pampered woman of some importance, mixing with the high and mighty, the true grit and survival spirit of the earlier works seems to be hidden, though no doubt it is there should she call on it!
On her return to Pompeii, Amara once again meets up with old loves, friends, other she-wolves and, of course, Rufina and Philos.
It is no spoiler that there was a massive event in Pompeii in AD79, so the lead up to that and the subsequent events make compelling reading.
Meticulously researched (good that the date of the eruption was updated) and beautifully written, this book rounded off the series well. A slower start than the other books, and some knowledge of those previous books is needed to make sense of this offering.
As a whole I preferred the previous books, but this was still a must read.
Thank you NetGalley.
Since I received the ARC for The Wolf Den, I have been hooked on Elodie Harper’s depiction of Roman life – from the lavish palaces of Rome to the brothels of Pompeii. The Temple of Fortuna is the final instalment for this trilogy and sees the much-awaited events which have made Pompeii a famous ruin come to fruition.
The world which Harper has created always feels realistic and detailed, and this is certainly the case for The Temple of Fortuna as snippets of graffiti and extracts from writings are used as chapter headings and back up the events in the book. As always, Amara is an interesting and multi-faceted character and has grown so much since the first book which has made the series a pleasure to read. I did get a little bogged down with the sheer amount of characters in the first half of the book though, but as it is the final part of the trilogy I think there was a real need to wrap some of the storylines up.
I did think the first half felt very slow – we know where the events are heading, and the explosive twist doesn’t happen until 60% of the way through. There is some setting up of important events, but I think this might have benefitted from an edit down. I did really enjoy the dramatic events though and the book wraps up most of the threads from the trilogy really well. The ending is almost a cliff-hanger which was a little surprising and I wonder if we will see more from this world from Harper in future – I’ll be keeping an eye out!
Overall, The Temple of Fortuna is the explosive end to the trilogy that we have been hoping for! Thank you to NetGalley & Head of Zeus – Apollo for the chance to read the ARC in exchange for an honest review.
I’ve been a fan of this series from the get go and what a joy it was to be back in Amaras world.
So much research must go into these books. Elodie Harper skillfully creates such a vivid picture of the place and the time. The vibrant society of ancient Italy, rich with customs and fashion and alive with the sights and sounds of everyday life is skillfully recreated. As ever I was utterly captivated.
In this book, we join Amara in Rome as mistress of Demetrius. Entangled in the politics of the day, when matters take a dangerous turn she is encouraged to leave Rome until danger passes.
Back in Pompeii, a place haunted by the ghosts of her former life, Amara is reunited with her daughter Rufina, her lover Philos and her friends. Though she is now a wealthy and protected woman, she is still not safe and her old nemesis Felix is again making a name for himself.
The eruption of Vesuvius has hung over the series. In this book we get to that eruption and the drama and terror of the event and the attempts to flee are so well written and so tense that I was literally left breathless. I felt utterly invested in the characters and their survival.
I couldn’t have hoped for more from the final book. What an incredible series this has been and Temple of Fortuna is an excellent final instalment. I’m just gutted it's over.
So incredibly grateful to Head of Zeus & Netgalley for the chance to read an early copy. Special edition on order!
She sees a woman who understands that being nice will not get you very far in a world that is anything but."
I enjoyed this book so much! I was afraid that the development of the character would get stale after three books, but it didn’t. The journey of Amara kept on bringing me from one side of ancient Italy to the other, with twists I could never imagine. I’ll to to keep the review spoiler free - but I just have to write something about Philos. This character is a lighthouse, every scene in which he wasn’t present, I’d just be waiting for him to enter. The way he is structured and the ending he gets! Just so heartwarming. My second favorite was of course Britannica, she’s just hilarious in her seriousness.
The whole series is brilliantly written, the words flow easily without there being too much description or too little. There are absolutely zero historical inaccuracies, so this was very much pleasant to read: it really felt like following the story of a bold greek-pompeian woman.
The only thing that would make this book perfect is a change of antagonist. After three books he gets what he deserves, but it would have been so refreshing to see Amara fight another kind of man/danger.
Thank you so much Head Of Zeus for the ARC!
The Temple of Fortuna is the much awaited, final instalment in the Pompeii based Wolf Den series and it’s been one I’ve both looked forward to and dreaded in equal parts due to the climax we have been promised.
We continue to follow Amara and her attempts to escape Felix’s clutches, maintain stability with new patron, Demetrius in Rome, provide for her daughter Rufina back in Pomeii with Philos and her new Gladiatorial/bar business. Starting in Rome, Amara is used by Demetrius to gain political information and treasonous plots on new Emperor Titus’ brother, Domitian, a growing threat that ultimately ends in Amara needing to be sent to Pompeii until it’s safe. Once there, Amara is reunited with daughter Rufina, who doesn’t remember her, and Philos and the romantic strain of how they parted.
As mentioned, Felix continues to be a threat since the previous book where Amara defied his advances and harassment, he is still an awfully menacing but fantastic character who you genuinely hate. Victoria is now Felix’s wife and is still just as confusing, she has betrayed Amara however you cannot help but pity her as she is still very much a victim. Brittanica is still easily the highlight of this book, now a Gladiator gaining fame, she’s a loyal friend, a passionate fighter, and she’s just wonderful to read.
The dynamic of Philos and Amara continues to be a complex and interesting one, their statuses now different and time counting down before Philos must return to serving Rufus. Likewise you have Amara learning to be a mother to a child she has sacrificed so much for and yet knows so little, how this progresses is beautiful to read.
Mount Vesuvius has been a shadow over these books from the start, you always knew that the struggles there characters were facing, for freedom and stability, we’re just a part of their survival come the end of this trilogy. In The Temple of Fortuna, intermittent earthquakes hit Pompeii as its residents go about living their lives with no idea of the threat it precedes. As a reader though, you do, and it only builds the anxiety in knowing what these people are to face.
With 40% left of the book left, the volcano erupts and it’s as menacing and terrifying as you could imagine. Elodie Harper does a fantastic job of building up the frantic confusion, the escape methods, the desperation and the suffocating conditions as Vesuvius erupts, the bids for escape, the money making schemes of those hoping to profit and the efforts of the Roman soldiers to aid the survivors. The after effects of the eruption are also explored, this event isn’t simply something that happens in the book but a a major event that changes the direction of the book and it was worth the wait - if that’s not too morbid to say.
You are robbed of closure for a few characters in this book, either never hearing of their fate or it being off the page, however as this has always been Amara’s story, you know what she knows and in a natural disaster such as Pompeii, it’s unrealistic to think every character in this book would be together or everyone accounted for. Likewise the political plot for the start of the book with Domitian is abandoned however the main purpose of this is to help set the scene for the time period and to get Amara back to Pompeii. Would it have been interesting to explore this further? Yes but it would have also been out of place and unnecessary also.
The world building continues to be superb, bringing to life Pompeii, Rome and even Neopolis with vivid colour, smells and sound in a way that feels well researched but never gratuitously detailed to show this research off. Pompeii is a period of time that has been preserved as a moment of terror with people frozen in time - Elodie Harper does a beautiful job of bringing these people to life, giving them a voice and a story and a life, not just a death.
Thank you NetGalley for the copy in exchange for an honest review - it was an honour to read this series.
I was bowled over by both The Wolf Den and The Golden Door, the first two books in the powerful The Wolf Den trilogy, so have been eagerly awaiting Amara’s return in book 3 – The Temple of Fortuna by Elodie Harper and once again I was blown away by the passion, the emotion, the detailed level of research and background work undertaken to bring Rome and Pompeii to life!
At the start of The Temple of Fortuna, Amara is in Rome with her new patron, a rich and powerful man who recognises her intellect and political acumen, and uses that for his own purposes, using her to spy on his powerful friends and political enemies. Amara is content to prove her usefulness and value to him, if anyone understands the value of trade it is Amara but, this doesn’t stop her from desperately missing her daughter, and still wanting to assure her daughter’s future. However, despite Amara’s efforts, life does not remain settled, and she soon finds herself in Pompeii.
Throughout this final chapter in the trilogy, we continue to see the strength, intelligence, tenaciousness and sheer will of Amara, a woman who from the first book in the trilogy has refused to accept the fate that life has handed her and want more, who has fought tooth and nail to climb from the position of slave whore to a freed woman, who continues to fight as the stakes rise.
This book also sees the return of other vivid and strong female characters in the trilogy, including Victoria, Berenice, Julia, Livia, and the outstanding Britannica, who continues to be a true tour de force! I will challenge anyone who objects to my absolute adoration and admiration for Britannica – she is amazing!
Elodie Harper brings ancient Rome and Pompeii to life; there is no questioning the immense research and effort that went into bringing to life this ancient civilisation, from the details of the frescoes (fables) that decorate Pliny’s home to shopping for wedding outfits – no stone has been left unturned in the research for this trilogy, and it is all delivered through such perfect descriptive writing that flows as part of the story, that never once have I ever felt lectured but, I have learnt a lot!
And of course, I must reference the eruption of Vesuvius! There is no question that like every other reading, I’d been waiting for it, and Harper truly brings to life the devastation and destruction that apocalyptically destroys the physical landscapes and protections that Amara has acquired but, also the emotional and mental destruction, as lives and security and safety crumble to ash. Harper’s description of the events and the losses was truly heart-breaking, and I definitely cried…a lot!
Congratulations Elodie Harper, The Wolf Den is an outstanding trilogy that you completed perfectly, I cannot see how it could have ended up any other way and that epilogue was just ‘chef’s kiss’!
Even if you aren’t a fan of historical fiction, I totally recommend The Wolf Den Trilogy or even just The Temple of Fortuna (which you could read as a standalone but, trust me – the whole trilogy is amazing!) These books deliver action, adventure, emotional torture and joy, politics, history and more, and will grab you by the throat until you have read them from cover to cover.
Huge thanks to Head of Zeus, Apollo and NetGalley for the arc of The Temple of Fortuna by Elodie Harper in exchange for my honest and unbiased review.
This is one of my favourite series, definitely my favourite historical fiction trilogy to date. Elodie Harper is such a skilled and powerful writer, who can unearth and bring to life characters that feel so real, it's painful to leave them. After finishing The Temple of Fortuna, I sat dumbfounded for a while, thinking "am I really never going to get more of Amara's story?" and it had been a long time since I'd felt for fictional characters so much.
I can't say anything about the plot for this story as you really need to read the first two books in the trilogy before starting this one, but it was incredibly strong and well-paced. There was not a wasted page or wasted word, if anything I would have liked for the book to be 50 pages longer. As with the previous two books, Harper's prose is evocative and transports the reader into the world of the Roman Empire, in Pompeii 79 AD, before the eruption of Vesuvius. A time period that has always interested me, Amara is also an incredibly compelling main character whose qualities, flaws, and tribulations are well understood by the reader. I think it would be very hard for any reader not to sympathise with her, even when she makes decisions that don't seem like they are good ones. Everything is there for a reason, and has its place.
The writing style is also incredibly easy to read, and once you start reading, it's very hard to stop. Time flies by, but if you do put the book down and pick it back up later, you fall right back into the story within a couple of paragraphs. I can't recommend this trilogy enough, and will absolutely be re-reading it in the (probably not so distant) future. If you are hoping to try historical fiction after reading Greek myth retellings, this is definitely the trilogy for you. One of my favourite books and authors of the year hands down.
With thanks to Head of Zeus and NetGalley for providing me with an early copy in exchange for an honest review.
Pompeii October 24th AD 79
Well, it’s the end. You only have to know the date to realise this, as this superb trilogy comes to a close and we reach the conclusion of Amara’s captivating story.
Amara is now in Rome, separated from her lover Philos and her daughter Rufina, who are in Pompeii. She is with her patron Demetrius living close to the seat of power, the emperor Titus. And although Amara has risen high, she is still threatened by her former life in the wolf den.
Her secret is known by her former brothel keeper Felix, betrayed to him by his now wife and her former friend Victoria, written into his will and is why she pays each month for his silence. If this is found out her world will collapse around her.
I loved being back with these characters, especially Amara and Britannica, the writing really gets you inside their heads and I was rooting for them both.
‘the ring Demetrius gave her when he first brought her to Rome. It is solid silver, stamped with a leaping hare, the symbol of sexuality and fertility.’
Packed with exquisite details, the level of research in this book is something else. But it is the power of the story that will really captivate you.
“Earthquake,” says one of the slaves helping to unload the vessel which carried her from Misenum. “Two days ago.”
There is so much emotion in this book, attached to characters that we have grown to love, the grumbling presence of Vesuvius at the edges of our vision as we read, a malignant shadow hanging over the story. I felt quite tense reading this one, entranced by the writing, gripped by the story and yet not wanting it to be over.
‘Britannica has the strength, the fearlessness, the unbridled fury she has always wanted for herself, and unlike Amara, unlike every woman here, this woman has the power to make men feel afraid.’
When the climactic eruption comes, I held my breath, the detail is incredible, the fear is palpable and Elodie Harper has created something very special. My heart was thumping to know how anyone would survive and the threats didn’t stop!
No.” Philos grips her by the shoulder. “This is not where you die. Think of everything you have already survived.’
A breathtaking conclusion to a powerful trilogy, saving the best til last; I will miss this!
I'm still reeling from this wonderful book. Elodie Harper finishes her Wolf Den trio, set in Rome and Pompeii in the AD70s, with a triumphant flourish.
Amara is now a highly-regarded courtesan in Rome, with a rich and powerful protector, Demetrius. But his friend and protector, Emperor Vespasian, has died and Demetrius's position of power is less secure. Which means that Amara is in danger from his enemies. She returns to Pompeii to visit her daughter, who is being cared for by two good friends - and the slave Philo, her daughter's secret father. Unfortunately, in Autumn 79, there are earth tremors in Pompeii... we all know where this is heading, but Elodie Harper handles the known facts skilfully.
This book is beautifully written on top of having a gripping, clever plot. The sense of unease is there from the first page, but the author ramps it up and up until it's almost unbearable.
Amara's past catches up with her in many different ways; it's no spoiler to say that her nemesis, Felix, reappears, but the way she deals with him is completely unexpected (and very satisfying)
The horrors of the eruption of Vesuvius, the suffering of survivors, the emotional rollercoaster Amara rides, all contrast beautifully with the luxurious lifestyle she leads in Rome. This book leaps from the page, fully alive, and won't get out of your head. Superb.
Where do I even start reviewing this book and a series that I’ve been wholeheartedly invested in and at times, couldn’t stop thinking about!
Amara is one of my favourite characters. She is a joy to read about and has taken me on an incredible journey throughout the three books as she finds her own path. I have loved every bit.
I loved seeing the characters all have their story arcs and watching how Elodie tied everything together so beautifully. I read this one in Sorrento and visited Pompeii whilst there, so I really did feel completely immersed. I could imagine Amara in the setting and having our tour guide sharing information that I had known from this series was brilliant. I loved seeing how much research had clearly gone into the series to make it what it is.
I’ve read The Wolf Den twice already since it’s release and I know this is a series I will regularly come back to. This last book is easily my favourite of the three and I know I’ll think of the events of this book and the history in Pompeii often.
I can’t wait to see what Elodie is working on next and hope to see a cameo from my favourite gladiator!
The Temple of Fortuna ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
This is how you write a final instalment! @elodielharper has done it again with the final book in The Wolf Den trilogy, and all I can say is wow. Our heroine Amara faces yet more turmoil, as she journeys back to Pompeii from her new home in Rome. Upon her arrival she is greeted by familiar faces, including her daughter Rufina and her sacred love Philos. As the ground begins to shake and Vesuvius shows her wrath, Amara quickly learns that no fight is without risk. Doing all she can to protect her family, Amara sacrifices everything she has worked for to keep those she loves safe. With Philos’ hand gripping hers, they remain tethered to the living world, ready for one final Herculean feat of revenge 🌋🧡
I have loved every page of this book, and the trilogy as a whole. Harper’s lack of fear, to delve into the firey depths of Vesuvius was truly awe inspiring. I wailed “how could this be the end?” as I turned the last page. Yet whilst I long for more, I am thankful to @elodielharper, @headofzeus and @netgalley for giving me the opportunity to read this book prior to publication. A magnificent read 🐺🏛️
#ReadsByRachel #Bookstagram #Bookstagrammer #BookLover #BookReviewer #BookReviews #BookBlog #Blogger #BookPhotography #Books #Wordpress #NetGalley #Goodreads #Harper #ElodieHarper #TheTempleOfFortuna #TheWolfDen #Fiction #HistoricalFiction
At the beginning of this, the final part of the Wolf Den trilogy, Amara is in Rome a freedwoman and a courtesan to the rich and powerful Demetrius. She mingles with the highest in society and yet something is lacking. Her daughter Rufina is still in Pompeii, a small child in danger of completely forgetting her mother.
Amara is pleased to have to move back to Pompeii when circumstances demand it. She begins to get to know her daughter again and also the father of her daughter, all the time aware that there is no future for them because his master refuses to sell him to Rufina. But there are troubles ahead - we all know what happened in Pompeii after all. The eruption when it comes is utterly devastating and very well described, You feel as though you are there with the people fleeing to Naples and Sorrento, ash choking you and rocks bombarding you.
This is a very fitting end to the trilogy with an open ending so presumably we could get more. The acknowledgements hint at more to come, not necessarily about the characters of the Wolf Den but something set in Roman Britain. Whatever it is, I can't wait. I have loved this series and look forward to whatever Elodie Harper writes next. Thanks to NetGalley and Head of Zeus for the ARC.
I screamed when I got approval for this proof because this is hands down my most anticipated book of 2023, and Elodie Harper didn't disappoint. The story was far from predictable, and Harper writes to put you on the edge of your seat because you care so deeply for the characters. It reminds me why I want to study ancient history in the first place, because even though Amara isn't real, there are many women silenced in history like her that deserve their story told. Elodie Harper encapsulates the experience of womanhood, sexual violence, and feminine rage better than any author I have read. I also LOVE how even though this series is fiction, Elodie Harper takes so much effort and care to remain historically accurate to the farther extent she can go and makes a conscious effort to continue to point back to the source material. I read a lot of books every year, and I have a short attention span so a mark of an amazing book for me is when I remember it, and I always think about Amara. This series is my 'a little life' and I'm dead serious that this series should be buried with me when I die, I'll never forget it as long as I live and it instills a feminine rage in me so deep the only thing that would satisfy it is a male human sacrifice. This series is my roman empire. As well as the actual Roman empire .
there are certain books that convince you their authors must be time travellers, and none more so than Elodie Harper.
I don’t think it’s an exaggeration to say that The Temple of Fortuna, the final instalment in Harper’s Wolf Den trilogy, is one of the most highly anticipated books of the year.
Harper combines everything you want in ancient historical fiction. Accuracy, authenticity, and empathy. Amara (the protagonist) is as real to us as any ancient figure. Her story feels real, and it *could* have been real - this is the beauty and genius of Harper’s work. We know women were captured as slaves and sold into prostitution in Pompeii. We know they could have used their intelligence and wits to become mistresses to wealthy Romans. We know they could have been caught in the eruption of Vesuvius in 79AD. It is the perfect blend of fact and fiction that makes this trilogy so stunning and so tangible. Pompeii, Rome, the ancient world, leaps off the page in Harper’s gorgeous, crystal-clear and evocative writing.
There is so much about this book, and this series, that I *adored*, it’s impossible to sum up in just a few words (especially without spoilers!). One of my favourite things, as touched on above, are the little snippets of the real ancient world that Amara passes by in her story that act as touchstones, we might say, that ground us in the past. The infamous dog mosaic at Pompeii, for example, which makes a wonderfully teasing fleeting appearance. And Pliny the Elder…oh my. There’s a high bar set when recreating ancient figures in historical fiction, but Harper has Pliny down impeccably. If this series doesn’t represent him precisely how he was…well. I wouldn’t believe you.
In short, this finale was everything. As a Classicist, a Classics Editor, and just an obsessive reader, Harper’s series has ticked all the boxes every time. Faultless.
Thank you so much to NetGalley and HeadofZeus for this absolute privilege.
I couldn’t wait to read this final book in the Wolf Den trilogy and I was so pleased when I received an ARC from the publishers and NetGalley.
This was a brilliant historical novel and Elodie Harper does a fantastic job at recreating Rome and Pompeii in the first century.
Amara is still a completely convincing heroine who will do whatever is necessary for her and her daughter to survive in this cut-throat society. The section takes place in Rome and while it was interesting, it didn’t really add anything to our understanding of her character. In fact, she seemed more passive than at any other time in the three books.
For me, the book came alive when she returned to Pompeii. I loved the account of the eruption and the way that Elodie Harper described the effects on the surrounding towns and villages rather than just Pompeii was excellent.
Besides Amara, Philos and Britannica were the other stand out characters for me. I loved Philos and how steadfast he was but Britannica stole the show. I would love to read a book where she is the star.
This was a great historical novel and definitely worth a read although I didn’t think it quite had the Wow! Factor of the first book.
Huge thanks to Net Galley and Head of Zeus for allowing me to read this ARC in exchange for my honest review.
So many releases to smile about right now… [PR product]
‘The Temple of Fortuna’ is the final instalment of @elodielharper’s magnificent ‘Wolf Den’ trilogy, set in Roman Pompeii. There’s been a volcano-shaped elephant in the room from the start. It’s a testament to the writing that you quickly become so immersed in the world of the heroine, Amara, that you soon forget all about the mountain smoking in the background. Until now.
We rejoin Amara in Rome, where she is the mistress of the fabulously wealthy and well-connected freedman, Demetrius. Amara’s worked hard and made great personal sacrifices to get here, but she tells herself that it’s all worth it to secure her own future as a free woman, and, more importantly, that of her daughter, Rufina. She’ll do almost anything to avoid her past life as a brothel slave catching up with her, and another scandalous skeleton in her closet being exposed.
When Demetrius suggests marriage, it looks as though she might finally be able to put herself and Rufina beyond the reach of the unscrupulous, blackmailing Felix, her former master and pimp, who is determined to drag her back to the gutter, or at least get rich trying. She goes back to Pompeii to prepare for the wedding. But it’s 79AD…
Like it’s predecessors, the book combines brilliant, compelling characters (some good, some very bad) with a pacy plot and wonderfully vivid details that make you feel as though you’ve travelled 2,000 yrs into the past. This one also has some stunning descriptions of an unimaginable natural disaster, plus moments of deep sadness, anger, inspiration and beauty. And the ending is 👌🏻👌🏻 👌🏻
Its predecessors - ‘The Wolf Den’ & ‘The House with the Golden Door’ - could both hold their own as standalone novels. I’m not sure that’s the case here, but that’s not really a criticism, more a tip to read the others first.
There were two things I didn’t like. One is personal: I had nightmares after reading Robert Harris’s ‘Pompeii’ years ago & vowed never to look at another volcano novel. This is so vivid I’ve just remade the vow. The other is I’m deeply sad to say goodbye to Amara & her world.
Thx to @netgalley & @headofzeus for the eARC!
I really loved my time with The Temple of Fortuna, finding it a propulsive, riveting read and a totally satisfying conclusion to the trilogy. Amara is now a highly placed courtesan in Rome, but eagerly seizes the offer to return to Pompeii to spend some time with her young daughter and secret enslaved lover, before her forthcoming marriage. But the year is 79 AD, well known to modern readers as the date when Mount Vesuvius erupted to devastating effect.
Once again Elodie Harper excels in recreating the daily life of Ancient Rome. The book is packed full of details but they are seamlessly woven into the story, never feeling at all “info dumpy”. Harper has clearly done her research, as the epigraphs - used to such good effect - show. The intrigue and social positioning surrounding the new Emperor and his brother are just as convincingly depicted as market scenes, or the threatening atmosphere of the streets at night. Action scenes including a gladiator battle and terror and chaos of people desperately trying to flee Pompeii in the wake of the eruption come across as naturally cinematic. There is also lots of interpersonal drama - Amara can’t openly be with her true love due to class differences, Felix, her former pimp, continues to threaten her, a former friend betrays her - which ensured my emotions went on a real roller coaster ride, something that continued right to the end.
This entire series is essential reading for fans of historical fiction, especially those who appreciate seeing history depicted through a female-centred feminist lens. Amara is such a brilliant protagonist, fiesty and flawed, someone who has endured much but is resilient, skilled in the art of surviving. In The Temple of Fortuna Elodie Harper has done her proud.
Many thanks to @netgalley and @headofzeus for my ARC. The Temple of Fortuna publishes on 9 November.
This is the third and final book in a trilogy I have enjoyed very much. Set in Ancient Rome, we have followed Amara as she went from whore in the Wolf Den to high ranked man’s concubine. But all this time we knew at some point Pompeii would end up buried under whatever Vesuvius decided to spit out. That expectation and knowledge has hung over Amara’s story like a dark cloud from the get-go.
Well, this is the conclusion and of course Amara’s fate is dependent on that volcano blowing its top. I thought, like the previous two books, this one was very well written. At times you forget about that volcano brewing in the background and you only care that Amara’s life turns out the way she wants it to.
I liked the author manages to make you relate to the way Amara sees her relationships and how she is pulled in different directions for a variety of reasons.
I do love the setting in Ancient Rome and Pompeii. The author really achieves bringing it to life very skillfully and enjoyed it thoroughly.
Maybe the ending was not entirely satisfactory to me, but it was good enough and I can definitely live with it.
I highly recommend this trilogy if you like the idea of a story set in Pompeii in the shadow of an ominous volcano.
In Elodie Harper’s final instalment of this gripping trilogy we find out how the eruption of Vesuvius affects Amara’s story. Like a revenant, Felix is back casting a shadow over her future and threatening to destabilise everything she’s built. All our favourite characters feature and Harper keeps you on the edge of your seat as events unfold, waiting to find out who will survive and how their fortunes will turn. A fitting conclusion to this insightful trilogy that transports you back in time. Thank you to Netgalley and Head of Zeus for a copy of the ARC.
The eagerly awaited final part in the fantastic historical fiction trilogy by Elodie Harper set mostly in Pompeii. I have loved every page of this wonderful story from the very beginning right up to the nail biting finale and highly recommend it.
The Temple of Fortuna is the final part of the Wolf Den trilogy, featuring Amara in her journey from slave to rich businesswoman and courtesan, and beyond.
It's AD79 in Pompeii and the reader knows that the inevitable volcanic eruption is just about to happen, although the characters don't. The goddess Fortuna will have a hand in everyone's fates: some will die, others will live.
I found the ending of the trilogy to be very satisfying, with the sense of place and time being excellently evoked. A recommended read for all lovers of historical fiction - but start at the beginning!
This epic conclusion to The Wolf Den trilogy was powerful, emotional and just so enjoyable. Ive loved Amara's journey every step of the way, and seeing this story end was bittersweet. I will read any and everything from Elodie Harper going forward, and I really hope she does a series about a certain character...if you know, you know.
Fans of these tropes and aspects will absolutely devour this book, and series as whole.
- Pompeii historical fiction
- Eruption of Mount Vesuvius
- Bittersweet romance
- Roman mythology references
- Motherhood, sisterhood and friendship
- Trauma, grief, sacrifice and strength
- final instalment in trilogy
- Epic and gorgeous prose
- Powerful narrative
- Stockholm Syndrome representation
- Mental health representation
I will say, Harper doesn't shy away from hard emotions like grief, depression and anxiety, post-pardom, trauma and pain. But although this entire saga is about the lives of the women in the Roman bathhouses of Pompeii, she gratefully doesn't of into detail on those harsh aspects. The prose she weaves while telling beautiful yet painful stories makes this such an enjoyable read, while providing rich history of Pompeii and the Roman way of life during that period.
As this gripping tale came to an end, I was curious as to how the author would include and variate the monumental event of Mount Vesuvius erupting -- and she executed it perfectly. Without spoiling any of the plot, Harper remains true to our characters and their development as this epic story comes to an end. Amara, who has suffered so much trauma and grief, develops a sort of Stockholm Syndrome towards her former employer, Felix, and it's as fascinating as it is heartbreaking. Seeing her overcome the many obstacles and pain life has thrust in her direction, and move forward in the only way she knows how; I thought these books couldn't get any more emotional, and I was proven wrong. Her journey is full of strength and not always honor, but always kindness and self-preservation. Blossoming into motherhood, and the treading lightly that came with that entire part of her life, felt so real and raw and somewhat relatable; the mental health aspects and trauma, not the hidden family.
This series has become a favourite of mine; one I can't wait to reread over and over. The voices given to the women of this time period were strong and raw and powerful and tragic. I am holding onto so much hope for a future book, or series, involving my absolute favourite character. I won't say who that is, but for those who have read it, I'm sure you can guess.
I usually worry when we approach the final book of a trilogy, particularly one as well loved as The Wolf Den. Elodie hasn’t let us down. We all know what happened in Pompeii and we’ve all been holding our breath waiting to see what happens and how it plays out. It was perfection. We return to Amara in the midst of a transition of Roman Emperors and political gameplay which throws us straight into the action. I love reading about Greek mythology and the Roman history aspect in the novel feels like a natural progression to something I would like to read into more in the future.
This was everything I was expecting and more. A perfect finale to Amara’s tale.
Thank you @headofzeus and @bloomsburypublishing for an eARC of The Temple of Fortuna. Out November 9th 2023.
A gripping end to an unusual and immersive historical fiction trilogy. I'd been so immersed in the story that it came as quite a shock to me to realise that the trilogy was going to culminate in the eruption of Vesuvius - it seems very evident, but it was all so real to me that I had forgotten I knew the end of the story in many ways. Fascinating characters and very rich in detail and atmosphere.
I have loved this series and following Amara and her journey. Amazing sense of place and character development with an ending I wasn't expecting. Thoroughly recommend to all historical fiction fans!
What a thrilling conclusion to this trilogy. The anticipation of Mt Vesuvius built the tension and my adrenaline was running when the eruption finally occurred. This was a huge push in the development of Amara to make her realise what she truly wants in life. Her actions at the end were understandable as she was pushed to the edge.
While not perfect (the section in Rome is very different to the rest of the book) it was a worthy ending for Amara and those she holds close.
As the readers we know lives are lost during the eruption and while we do lose people it’s tough because we just want those we know and love to survive. I will continue to wait for Amara and Britanicca to be reunited
Like The Wolf Den and The House With the Golden Door before, I absolutely adored this book! Powerful, emotional, captivating. This epic trilogy blew me away and the way Amara's saga ended was just perfect.
Definitely a five star read!
A big thank you to NetGalley and Head of Zeus for an ARC of The Temple of Fortuna. It's out now!
What a stunning conclusion for now what is an all time favourite book series
After reading and loving The Wolf Den and The House with the Golden Door, I was slightly nervous how The Temple of Fortuna would hold up, but I’m not at all disappointed. Amara cements herself once again as a favourite fictional character, her courage and strength knows no bounds in this one. The Temple of Fortuna was a more emotive read for me than the previous two, as we deal with the fallout of Mount Vesuvius but truly this just kept me glued to the story, it only took me 2 days to finish this one.
Such a stunning story, would highly recommend everyone give this a read.
Superior historical fiction, The Temple of Fortuna was a fitting end to a wonderful series. In addition to the nail biting drama of the harrowing destruction of Pompeii, the finale brings the story of resourceful Amara full circle.
Admittedly, because I had become so attached to these characters, I wasn’t sure what direction I was hoping Elodie Harper would take the narrative. I found I was so incredibly anxious beginning the book, but I need not have fretted because the final instalment, while poignant and affecting felt marvellously satisfying. A sublime series for lovers of historical fiction.
Amara - a former slave turned courtesan and spy - cannot escape her past, as much as she may wish to. Despite being in Rome, living in luxury, the only man who she has ever truly loved is still a slave in Pompeii, helping to raise their secret daughter. She is nothing if not cunning, a woman who has been forced to fight for everything she has, and while her loved ones are safe - for now - Amara doesn’t want to take any chances with her daughter’s future. Fortuna can be fickle, and her wheel may not always spin in her favour.
Especially as the year is now 79 AD, and Mount Vesuvius is preparing to make itself known...
The Temple of Fortuna is the perfect ending to a brilliant trilogy. I read it in a day, in basically one sitting, and really couldn’t put it down. It’s meticulously researched, completely absorbing and thoroughly immersive in its descriptions of life in Ancient Rome and Pompeii. Book one had me hooked with Amara’s story, even though I found the sheer amount of female suffering depicted utterly horrifying (and anger-inducing!), book two saw her grow even further and book three wraps everything up in such a satisfying and cathartic way - I couldn’t imagine a more fitting ending for these characters, and truly loved the epilogue!
I’ll be buying anything Elodie Harper writes in future and can’t wait to see what she does next! Thank you to @netgalley and the publishers for an e-arc of this book.
A WORTHY ENDING TO A GREAT SERIES
I have been invested in the Wolf Den Trilogy since the beginning, and this final book did not let me down. The writing was so immersive, I could almost smell the smoke and feel my heart beating in my chest. It takes you through all the emotions, from elation to devastation. Amara in particular really grows in this book and learns about was really makes life worth living.
I loved this series
5 of 5 stars
My Five Word TL:DR Review : It Can’t Possibly End Here?
Well, I’ve just finished the final instalment of the Wolf Den Trilogy and Amara’s story. Although, clearly, given the ending, I’m thinking that the author may return to the series (or perhaps start a new series from the same period but from a different perspective – I certainly hope so and have my fingers crossed for such an outcome). What I will say straight away is that if you’ve been enjoying this series I think you’ll be very happy with this final episode. I don’t want to give away spoilers so I’ll avoid saying anything too revealing but this is a series that I’ve thoroughly enjoyed from start to finish.
What a journey Elodie Harper has taken us on here, every book has contained different aspects from the tense start in the infamous Wolf’s Den where we first met Amara to her precarious rise in fortune that eventually sees her escape the Den to this final episode where she has become established as a courtesan in Rome with an influential patron. Of course, even with a wealthy patron and improved situation Amara misses her friends and family and Rome is not a place without it’s own convoluted politics and backstabbers so nothing can ever really be taken for granted.
Now, I don’t think it’s a spoiler if I mention here a certain historic event, that I think most people are aware of and that plays a large part, unsurprisingly, in this final chapter. Yes, Vesuvius and it’s fatal eruption that completely wiped Pompeii off the face of the map. To be fair, I thought this would play a large role in the final instalment and in fact it does, and I will say it makes for riveting reading, even though you’re aware of how this disaster eventually played out it’s absolutely compelling. I was hooked.
I love the way this series has been written. There’s a strong focus on female friendships and found family and although parts of the story will make you gasp out loud at the terrible misfortune that some of these people find themselves in there are no gratuitous scenes. The writing is a perfect combination of real events and people combined with fictional characters and a very easy to read style that I think struck the perfect balance. When I’m reading a story set in a different period I don’t expect the author to stick pedantically to speech patterns from way back when but at the same time I find it very grating when people use modern phrases, it just pulls me out of the story and I find it frustrating. Fortunately, that isn’t the case here at all and there’s also a great balance between details and back stories without any purple prose or info dumps.
Overall, I think this is one of my favourite series for a long while. It’s just a wonderful story of love and hope, persistence against the odds all set within a fascinating period of history. I loved this final episode and I’m keeping this review fairly short because I really don’t want to give too much away and spoil the conclusion for others, not because I don’t want to gush uncontrollably.
I received a copy through Netgalley,courtesy of the publisher, for which my thanks. The above is my own opinion.
What a brilliant end to this thrilling trilogy that manages to combine, history, drama, danger, and romance in an utterly spell-binding story. I’ve loved all of Elodie Harper’s books about Amara, and her journey from a slave in Pompeii's wolf den to a high-powered courtesan in Rome, but this finale is the best book yet.
In this final book, Amara has come a long way since her days in the wolf den. She is now a courtesan to a powerful man with links to the emperor. But her heart remains in Pompeii. She eventually returns there just as earth tremors hint at the disaster about to unfold.
Harper’s recreation of the ancient world is vivid and richly imagined. While many authors have written tales about high-born Roman generals and emperors, few manage to capture the sights, smells and sounds of ordinary Roman’s lives as captivatingly as Harper.
I’ve rarely found the end of a series so satisfying and would highly recommend this book and the entire trilogy.
With thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for an ARC.
In this third volume of The Wolf Den trilogy, we meet Amara in Rome as the wealthy concubine of Demetrius, former counselor to the just-deceased emperor Vespasian. But Amara still longs for her old lover Philos and her daughter Rufina who reside in Pompeii. But several challenges will await her in Pompeii: her old pimp Felix knows her deepest secret and then there is Mount Vesuvius that will strike mercilessly.
I've been heavily looking forward to the third volume in this great series for a while and The temple of Fortuna did not disappoint. The book begins with a sidestep in Rome where we meet Emperor Titus and his power-mad brother Domitian. Amara flees at one point to Pompeii, where only new dangers follow. We meet Felix, Victoria and Berenice again, as well as Drusilla, Livia, Julia, Philos and Rufina. Pliny the elder and his rescue mission is also portrayed. And Britannica, a genius character in my opinion who might be my favourite.
Of course, we all know the volcanic eruption is about to happen and the horror and ignorance that follows is well portrayed. The ending is bittersweet and does fit well. My only criticism is that a suspicious number of characters do survive the disaster and the epilogue was unnecessary for me. It feels weird to end the book not from the main character's point of view but from one of the side characters.
I hope Elodie Harper keeps writing books and preferably still in Roman setting. Warmly recommended.
Thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for a copy of this book in return for my honest opinion.