Wolf Den by Elodie Harper
Let me state at the outset that this book was a DAMN triumph. I feigned a headache so I could cancel plans to finish this book kind of excellent.
There is so much classical historical fiction out there, (what a time to be alive eh), so many books that look at slavery, at female oppression. However this is the first book I have encountered that deals candidly and brutally with the lives of the most misaligned, disparaged women in history. Seen as little more than property, dehumanised and objectified every day, these are the women of The Wolf Den, a brothel in Pompeii. Their owner is capricious, dangerous, their lives a sordid fight for survival.
It is such an unlikely setting for a fierce story of female empowerment and solidarity, and @elodielharper does not demur from the violent, explicit lives of a brothel slave. The story feels so authentic and chillingly so contemporary that you can’t helped but be swept away. Richly detailed but character driven, the pace is fast, and the plot compelling.
You compare the struggle of one who remembers the ultimate privilege of freedom to those born into servitude who have only known total subjugation. Their voices are entirely distinct as the author is able to clearly depict different personalities so well. I couldn’t stop thinking about my visit to Pompeii, imagining Amara and her fellow she-wolves walking through the streets.
For me The Wolf Den asks how a person asserts autonomy over any part of their lives when they don’t own themselves.
I am still thinking about this three books later. Sound the alarm people for it is a trilogy and this is book one. @elodielharper you have my loyalty. Do with it what you will. Any tv/film execs this would make a sensational series. @headofzeus I am HERE for this. Thank you so much for sending me a copy.