Amara was once the beloved daughter of a doctor in Greece, until her father’s sudden death plunged her mother into destitution. Now Amara is a slave and prostitute in Pompeii’s notorious Wolf Den brothel or lupanar, owned by a cruel and ruthless man. Intelligent and resourceful, she is forced to hide her true self. But her spirit is far from broken. Buoyed by the sisterhood she forges with the brothel’s other women, Amara finds solace in the laughter and hopes they all share. For the streets of the city are alive with opportunity—here, even the lowest-born slave can dream of a new beginning. But everything in Pompeii has a price. How much will Amara’s freedom cost her?
“[Harper] has that rare knack of making the reader believe she was there, stylus in hand, chronicling what she witnessed. Vivid, wise and unflinching, this is a triumph.” —THE LONDON TIMES Book of the Month May 2021
“A one-of-a-kind historical novel... This is a mesmerising, richly detailed tale of sisterhood and courage that fans of Circe will love.” — RED MAGAZINE - “The Best Books to Read this May”
“There’s nothing like being transported to a different place and time and wholeheartedly believing you are there...a compelling story of survival, friendship, and courage. Amara and her fellow she-wolves are vividly drawn in a fascinating depiction of women at the time. Utterly spellbinding.”— WOMAN & HOME - “Best Books 2021”
“Harper’s style is exhilaratingly direct... you smell the oil lamps and temple incense, taste sticky figs, feel physical blows... It’s a vivacious piece of work, and all underpinned by a woman’s longing for freedom.”
“A gripping historical story.” —The Independent
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Average rating from 138 members
Wow just *mind blows*! I loved this book, now I had me time I was able to finally sit down and devour this book.. devour it I did. The characters portrayal is so well written that i felt the pain and hardships they go through, I really rooted for them. The story is sometimes dark but regardless is a fantastic read. Such a very emotional but raw book that I really would recommend to my fellow book reader friends! I will be really looking forward to the next book.
Thank you to the publisher and Netgalley for the chance to read this excellent book in exchange for my honest review.
The Wolf Den was one of those books that created such a powerful and fascinating world I got completely lost in it. I just didn't want to leave it and found myself slowing down more and more as I got closer to the end ( I'm hoping there will be a sequel!)
Elodie Harper has managed to create a story that we can believe in and feel we understand, even though it is so different from our own.
The Wolf Den is centred around life in one of Pompeii's sordid brothels where Harper reimagines the lives of women who have long been overlooked. Harper shows us that even in the most desperate and brutal of situations there can be friendship and love, but she also lays bare the depths people can sink to in order to save themselves.
The characters are so well-rounded that I found myself caring about almost all of them, sometimes even the 'baddies'!
Harper has blended the real details of historical accuracy with some great storytelling and a wonderful lead character who does whatever she needs to do to survive the awful hand that life has dealt her.
This was a book I could not put down, I recommend you go treat yourself to a read.
With thanks to NetGalley and the publishers for an ARC in return for an honest reviews
Thank you to Netgalley, the author and the publishers for an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.
Not since I read 'Circe' have I been so fully immersed in a book set in the ancient world. I absolutely loved this first instalment of this series and cannot wait to read the rest.
Set in a brothel in Pompeii, and beginning in Ad 74, the story tracks the life of one of the prostitutes, Amara. The daughter of a once prosperous Greek doctor, Amara now shares rooms with her fellow prostitutes, subject to the whim of her mercurial pimp, Felix. Amara, who is intelligent and industrious, struggles in this book to use what smarts she has to escape from slavery and comes to understand what she will sacrifice for freedom.
Everything about this book was enjoyable - the characters well-drawn, the descriptions of Ancient Pompeii evocative and the emotion fully relatable.
As we start in AD 74 and Pompeii was destroyed by Mount Vesuvius' eruption in AD 79 (sorry if that's a spoiler!) I anticipate a thrilling conclusion to this tale and am looking forward to reading the next two books.
November 2021 might just be my best reading month ever, because every single I've read this month just fucking. slaps! The Wolf Den is simply incredible, continuing and adding on all the wonderful books I have read this month, and becoming one of the best books I read this year.
I thought Harper's writing, first and foremost, was extremely engaging, as it really pulled the reader into the story, creating a complicated, yet alive, setting in a foreign time and place. She was smart to include certain well known figures of the time in her writing, like Pliny the Elder, who both anchored the story into a real, once-existing place and reminded the readers that what they are reading is not pure fiction, but was once the reality for many many women.
Speaking of women... Her women were simply fascinating. All of them. If I could reach into the pages of the book and hug each and every one of them, I would. I was especially fond of Amara, our protagonist, as she had a "rougher" side as well, occasionally being ruthless, cunning, and manipulative, all in order to survive. I thought it was very refreshing to see such a protagonist, especially since her actions seemed like a natural reaction to the circumstances she found herself in. I also really liked the fact that the she-wolves, despite experiencing the same reality, did not react to it in the same, or even a similar, way, showing the depth of Harper's characters as well as the characters' own complex and unique backgrounds. I found the women to be very realistic and well-portrayed, and the bond and love they seemed to have for one another absolutely broke my heart.
I think the ending left me slightly unsatisfied, in a way that only a book you wish would never end can do. Realistically, I understand that there was no other way to finish the story, and the very last paragraph was so satisfying it made me stop crying - and yes, I was crying by the end, which I haven't done in a long, long time because of a book. Basically, it was a great ending, but I wish we got some more closure for some characters - and yes, this is me begging for a sequel.
Overall, I absolutely adored this book, mostly because I genuinely found myself immersed in its pages, caring for its characters, smiling and crying alongside them. Highly, highly recommended.