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Master and God by Lindsey Davis

Master and God (2012)

by Lindsey Davis

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This was a reread in Sept. 2016--just as fantastic the second time as the first reading. This novel told of the on-again/off-again friendship then love between Lucilla, a hairdresser to the Flavians and Roman nobility, and a Pretorian, Gaius Vinius Clodianus, who had been badly injured, disfigured, and held as a POW in Dacia for several years. Their story was set against the background of the reigns of Titus, then Domitian. It chronicles Domitian's reign, his descent into paranoia despite good things he achieved and his assassination, in which Gaius takes part. Ms. Davis created a persona for Gaius, mentioned in Suetonius and for a hairdresser who must have had a whimsical sense of humor, devising the risible Flavian hair-do [and also making toupees for Domitian]. I felt there was a lot of "info-dumping", but it was interesting because of the author's breezy style.

Highly recommended. ( )
  janerawoof | Sep 15, 2016 |
A hairdresser to the imperial family and a Praetorian Guard try to survive in Domitian's Rome.

Historical fiction needs to strike a balance between setting the period and telling the story. Unfortunately for most of this novel, I don't think the author really managed it so that at times it felt like the author was writing down everything she knew about the Flavians. Still, the relationship between Gaius and Lucilla was well done and the last section was quite gripping. ( )
  Robertgreaves | Sep 1, 2016 |
Lindsey Davis is one of my favourite authors because of her Falco series, set at the time of Vespasian. Most of the books in this series are very well written and very enjoyable.
This is a standalone book set at the time of the emperor Domitian.
I did not enjoy this book because, as a novel, it didn't seem to hold together properly. It was a novel interspersed with history--perhaps all her Flavian research that Davis wanted to make use of? The hero and heroine seemed very reminiscent of Falco and Helena in their relationship, not necessarily a bad thing, but it just reminded me how much I was forcing myself to read this book, which I don't have to do with her Falco series.
Read this if you'd like to learn everything you wanted to know about Domitian and his time period and Davis is very thorough here and puts in lots of interesting facts, but on the whole I wouldn't really recommend this book. ( )
  quiBee | Jan 21, 2016 |
Now this was a delight. Set in Rome in the reigns of Titus and Domitian, this standalone novel by Lindsey Davis offers warmth, humour and the kind of characters you feel sorry to leave behind. It traces the intertwined fortunes of Gaius Vinius Clodianus, investigator of the vigiles and then (somewhat unwilling) Praetorian Guard, and Flavia Lucilla, hairdresser to the imperial court. Davis writes with lightness and flair, always conscious of the innate absurdity of life. A political thriller combined with a grown-up rom-com, this was a deeply enjoyable book and (the 'romance' element being handled sensibly and well) it comes highly recommended for anyone who enjoys good historical fiction that doesn't take itself too seriously.

For a full review please see my blog:
http://theidlewoman.blogspot.co.uk/2015/10/master-and-god-lindsey-davis.html ( )
  TheIdleWoman | Oct 30, 2015 |
I listened to this book as an Audible.com audiobook on my iPod Touch. I agree with thereviewer who indicated it had an unusual style described as "dry history," which I assumed referred to it having been long on narrative and short on dialogue. It took some getting used to. Eventually I became very involved with the soldier and his long, often thwarted love with his Imperial Hairdresser freedwoman. Their careers advance as the Roman society around them spiraled into fear and suspicion as the Emperor became ever more paranoid and oppressive. The "everyman" figures have intelligence and personality, suffer, heal, and keep moving. About one third through, I found that I was totally engaged and absolutely sympathetic with the very believable characters. It is not a war story, although wars occur. It is about people in difficult, historic events over which most individuals often have little control and incomplete understanding. I thought it was a brilliant novel. The reader was superb. ( )
1 vote jmulick | Feb 14, 2013 |
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Dedicated to the city of Rome.
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It was a quiet afternoon on the Via Flaminia.
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About an unlikely friendship between a Praetorian Guard and a style-setting woman who makes wigs for the Emperor Domitian, and the choices they must make as Domitian descends into madness.
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Gaius Vinius is a reluctant Praetorian Guard. Flavia Lucilla is responsible for making toupees for the balding and increasingly paranoid emperor. The two of them are brought together during a devastating fire in Rome, leading to a lifelong friendship.Together they watch Domitian's once talented rule unravel into madness and cruelty, until the people closest to him conspire to delete him from history.… (more)

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