Saturday, 25 February 2012

All Reading Leads to Rome by Georgie Lee + Giveaway

Button made by the very talented Susi! Thank you!!

It is no secret that I love Latin and everything to do with the Latin culture (hey my blog is called Ex Libris and  I rate the books by Latin grades) so when I saw that one of Carina Press' new releases was Mask of the Gladiator I knew I had to read it. And I was blown away! Not only was it a captivating story taking me on a time travel through millennia but Georgie Lee managed the near-impossible: tell a fantastic story in 50 pages! Mask of the Gladiator quickly became a favourite of mine, so I am very happy to introduce you today to Georgie Lee and the research behind the story! 

All Reading Leads to Rome
by Georgie Lee

I am a voracious reader of non-fiction history and it is usually while I’m reading that some sentence or fact will make me sit up and say “What a great idea for a story.” The idea for Mask of the Gladiator first came to me while I was reading a book on the lives of the Roman emperors. Something about Caligula’s demise, the real PG version, not the XXX version that has also survived the ages, caught my attention. The story wouldn’t let go until I’d crafted it into a tale in which regular people get caught up in the life and death events of their era with a great romance and sex thrown in because hey, after all, this is Rome.

Having read many books on ancient Rome, I knew a great deal about the era but needed more details on the nitty-gritty of daily life under Caligula. Thankfully, researching ancient Rome was, in many ways, easy. I’m currently doing research for an ancient Egyptian romance, and though historians know a great deal about their mortuary practices, details of their daily lives are elusive. I’d pay good money right now, and I might just have to, in order to find some ancient source or modern researcher who has written a detailed description of a Pharaoh’s typical day (if anyone knows of one, please leave a comment below). But I digress.
The Romans, thanks to the length of their empire, left a lot of material, both written and physical about their lives, and these artifacts are scattered everywhere from Britain to Germany. I remember during my first trip to England marveling as I stood on a medieval wall looking down on the ruins of a Roman amphitheatre. You don’t find that kind of history where I live in California. Here, most people think Mid-Century Modern is an era of antiquity.

The wealth of information on the ancient Romans made research both interesting and easier. Thanks to surviving statues of Caligula, I was able to base my descriptions of the emperor on his busts instead of having to extract details from ancient sources, most of which were not flattering. For details on Caligula’s assassination, I turned to Justinian and Suetonius. Their accounts, though not exactly first hand, are well fleshed out, if not blatantly exaggerated in a few spots. I incorporated details from their stories into my story while adding a few of my own in order to better weave the main characters, Livia and Titus, into the historical events. In regards to the daily life of the nobility, there were endless resources available from the excavation at Pompeii to modern research books detailing the archeological evidence.

While this wealth of historical information is great, it can also be overwhelming and at times distracting. Sometimes, especially if you’ve ever read any books in the History of Private Life series, more details exist than you actually want to know about. It is a challenge deciding what to include or leave out and how true to the time period to stay without forcing the readers to keep Googling archaic terms. In the end, I think I struck a good balance between fact and fiction and created a compelling story that is both true to history and romance. I hope you think so too.

Thank you for joining me today and thanks to Ex Libris for inviting me.

Mask of the Gladiator by Georgie Lee

Rome, 41 AD

Livia Duronius is driven to seek out a gladiator after watching him triumph in the Colosseum. His touch arouses a sense of hope she hasn't felt since Rome fell under the tyrannical rule of Caligula—and her late husband betrayed her. Though in danger of losing more than her heart, she vows to see him again, even after she learns her uncle has arranged her marriage to a senator.

Senator Titus Marius cannot resist indulging in a passionate encounter with the veiled woman who waits for him after the games, though he faces execution if his true identity is discovered. Bound by honor to wed another, and embroiled in a plot to free Rome from madness, he never expects to see the mystery woman again.

When the fates reunite them in the marriage bed, Titus vows to protect Livia at all costs—even from the lecherous eyes of the emperor...

A dedicated history and film buff, Georgie Lee loves combining her passion for Hollywood, history and storytelling through romantic fiction. She began writing professionally at a small TV station in San Diego before moving to Los Angeles to work in the interesting but strange world of the entertainment industry. When not writing, she enjoys reading non-fiction history and watching any movie with a costume and an accent.

Please visit to learn more about Georgie and her books, you can also find her on Facebook and Twitter.


Georgie has generously offered an ebook copy of Mask of the Gladiator to a lucky commentator!

To be entered all you have to do is:

1. fill out the main form so I have your contact info (just once, if you have already filled it out for a previous giveaway that's enough)

2. leave a comment and answer Georgie's question, tell us what is your favourite historical period and why? 

Giveaway is open worldwide and ends on 15 March 2012.

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