This intelligent, intriguing historical novel weaves together both fact and fiction,
bringing the world of the controversial Latin poet Ovid to vivid life.
A great book for everybody, including students in Roman history.
It is the year 14 CE. Emperor Augustus dies without pardoning Ovid, Rome’s darling, whom he banished to the border of the Roman Empire for reasons comprehensible but never named. Ovid is now deserted by his protecting innocence, forced to question life, the absurdity of success and the horror of failure. He must reinvent himself and change more profoundly than the characters of his acclaimed Metamorphoses, if he and his poems are to survive.
Ovid’s journey out of exile, be it along the edge of the known world where he enters places alien even to his imagination, or in Rome where he can no longer recognise the people he used to know, transforms him into a man who is no more obsessed with his own mortality, but accepts the consequences of his own choices. He refuses to be anyone’s scapegoat, confronts friends and enemies, and finally decides to write for posterity rather than glory.
Carefully researched, this novel is based on fact blended with unconventional theories about the strange and mythical places of this ancient world, including the western shore of the Black Sea and the Lower Danube. Michael Solomon travelled through the places described on Ovid’s journey, including Ovid’s birthplace, Sulmona, the city surrounded by the impressive Abruzzi Mountains, seeking these landscapes that might be the same today as they have been two thousand years ago and which inspired the man and ultimately this book.