Amara was once a beloved daughter, until her father’s death plunged her family into penury. Now she is a slave in Pompeii’s infamous brothel, owned by a man she despises. Sharp, clever and resourceful, Amara is forced to hide her talents. For now her only value lies in the desire she can stir in others.
But Amara’s spirit is far from broken. By day, she walks the streets with the Wolf Den’s other women, finding comfort in the laughter and dreams they share. For the streets of Pompeii are alive with opportunity. Out here, even the lowest slave can secure a reversal in fortune. Amara has learnt that everything in this city has its price. But how much is her freedom going to cost her?
Set in Pompeii’s lupanar, The Wolf Den is the first in a trilogy of novels reimagining the lives of women who have long been overlooked.
The Wolf Den really is a beautifully crafted historical novel, the sheer immersive sense of it is wonderful, bringing to life a long ago community in a place which we know holds no happy ending.
This is before that well known tragedy, featuring a strong, intelligent and intriguing main protagonist who, despite her most horrific circumstances, refuses to accept this is all she can be.
Set in Pompeii, specifically in The Wolf Den, a brothel where the women slaves have no choice on what they do, the life is brutal and mentally harsh. Somehow however, this is a place of hope in so many ways and The Wolf Den is a tale of friendship and love, of determination and rising above, of a struggle for survival both without and within.
Elodie Harper paints a picture that is hauntingly vivid, writing with an almost cinematic style that describes both character and setting pitch perfectly. The story plays out against the backdrop of a place long lost and it is hugely addictive and cleverly layered.
I’m so happy there will be more. I was reluctant to leave this book and Amara behind me, it was a brilliant read and I can’t wait for the next.