Release Date: 13th May 2021
Publisher: Head of Zeus
Find it on: Goodreads. BookDepository. Waterstones.
Source: The publisher kindly sent me a copy of this book to review
Rating: 4.5/5 stars
Sold by her mother. Enslaved in Pompeii’s brothel. Determined to survive. Her name is Amara. Welcome to the Wolf Den…
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 as a she-wolf, 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 her fellow she-wolves, 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 reimagines the lives of women who have long been overlooked.
I have been reading quite a bit of historical fiction lately so when I heard about The Wolf Den I was desperate to read it. The story follows Amara, a young woman sold into slavery and forced to work in an infamous Pompeii brothel. Working for a man she hates, Amara fights every day to survive the streets of Pompeii and find a way to secure her freedom.
The Wolf Den is a beautiful story and Harper has executed this story to perfection. I got completely wrapped up in this story and I didn’t want to put it down. I really fell in love with Amara and her fellow slaves, how they find a sense of comfort and friendship in each other despite the horror of their lives. The story is well-paced, giving the reader a chance to get to know these well-crafted characters.
Ammara is a wonderful protagonist. She is strong-willed, determined to survive life as a slave. She is also clever, doing what she needs to do to get what she wants. The time period isn’t something I know too much about but the story was incredibly detailed and it felt like an immense amount of research had gone into this novel. The sights, sounds and smells of Pompeii all come alive in this novel and I was completely captivated by the story.
The theme of powerlessness is strong in the story and there are quite a lot of trigger warnings for violence and abuse. While it was at times dark and disturbing, it really stuck with me and I wouldn’t be surprised if this book was amongst my favourites of the year. Harper has created a really compelling and engaging tale – I cannot wait to see what she writes next.