Daughters of Rome (Empress of Rome Series #2)

Daughters of Rome (Empress of Rome Series #2)

by Kate Quinn


View All Available Formats & Editions
Choose Expedited Shipping at checkout for guaranteed delivery by Wednesday, January 29
37 New & Used Starting at $1.99


A fast-paced historical novel about two women with the power to sway an empire, from the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of The Alice Network and The Huntress.

A.D. 69. The Roman Empire is up for the taking. Everything will change—especially the lives of two sisters with a very personal stake in the outcome.
Elegant and ambitious, Cornelia embodies the essence of the perfect Roman wife. She lives to one day see her loyal husband as Emperor. Her sister Marcella is more aloof, content to witness history rather than make it. But when a bloody coup turns their world upside-down, both women must maneuver carefully just to stay alive. As Cornelia tries to pick up the pieces of her shattered dreams, Marcella discovers a hidden talent for influencing the most powerful men in Rome. In the end, though, there can only be one Emperor...and one Empress.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780425238974
Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date: 04/05/2011
Series: Empress of Rome Series , #2
Pages: 400
Sales rank: 122,346
Product dimensions: 5.50(w) x 8.10(h) x 1.10(d)
Age Range: 18 Years

About the Author

Kate Quinn is a native of Southern California. She attended Boston University, where she earned a bachelor's and master's degree in Classical Voice. A lifelong history buff, she has written four novels in the Empress of Rome Saga and two Novels of the Borgias, before moving to the twentieth century with The Alice Network and The Huntress. All her books have been translated into multiple languages.

What People are Saying About This

From the Publisher

“A soap opera of biblical proportions . . . [Quinn] juggles protagonists with ease and nicely traces the evolution of Marcella—her most compelling character—from innocuous historian to manipulator. Readers will become thoroughly immersed in this chaotic period of Roman history.”—Publishers Weekly

“Touches on every factor during this time: politics, war, extravagant parties, greed, and love. I definitely would recommend this book to those who love ancient Rome.”—All Things Historical Fiction

Daughters of Rome has an appealing symmetry—the succession of four emperors, the alternating narratives of the four cousins—and strikes an authentic balance between poetic justice and harsh reality. . . . This second book stands on its own two feet, and offers a compelling experience of one of the most turbulent years of the Roman Empire.”—Historical Novel Society

“A fascinating view of four women during the year of the four emperors. . . . Regardless of whether you already have an interest in Roman history, Daughters of Rome will fascinate you from beginning to end.”—BookLoons

“Quinn elegantly captures the Ancient Roman world and the collective undercurrent of panic felt by the populace during the ‘Year of Four Emperors.’ Her characters are alluring and her understanding of Ancient Rome insightful.”—Luxury Reading

“The two sisters are fascinating protagonists . . . Ancient historical fiction fans will enjoy this intriguing look at the disorderly first year after Nero’s death.”—Midwest Book Review

Reading Group Guide


A.D. 69. Nero is dead. The Roman Empire is up for the taking. With bloodshed spilling out of the palace and on to the streets, chaos has become a way of life for Rome. The Year of Four Emperors will change everything—especially the lives of one family with a very personal stake in the outcome.

Cornelia embodies the essence of the proper Roman wife. She patiently waits to one day see her loyal husband as Emperor of Rome, but instead witnesses his brutal demise at the hands of the Praetorian guard. Her sister Marcella is content merely to watch the politics and turmoil, until she discovers she has more of a penchant for shaping history then for writing about it. And while their cousins Lollia and Diana are both beautiful girls, they each come to find that beauty and wealth cannot quell the desires of the heart. But when a bloody coup turns their world upside-down, each of these women must maneuver carefully just to stay alive…



Kate Quinn is a native of Southern California. She attended Boston University, where she earned a bachelor's and master's degree in Classical Voice. A lifelong history buff, she first got hooked on ancient Rome while watching I, Claudius at the age of eight. Her first novel, Mistress of Rome, has been translated into multiple languages. Kate lives in California with her husband.


  • In the opening prophecy Nessus has a vision of the future: "Clear as day he saw widowhood for three of the four girls; a fair amount of misery for one and fame for another; a total of eleven husbands and eight children between them—and of course, that one little hand spilling over with blood" (p. 4). Discuss the foreshadowing in this event. Which Cornelia did you think the bloodied hand belonged to? Which girl do you think saw misery and which one saw fame?
  • As the story develops, the relationship between Cornelia and her sister Marcella begins to change. How would you describe their relationship at the beginning of the book? Do you think that they have any unresolved issues? At which point does their relationship begin to change?
  • What are your first impressions of Lollia? At the beginning of the novel she gets into a heated argument with Cornelia because she buys a body slave from the market. But when there is a massive flood in the city, she is giving out money and food to the refugees and thinking: "I might like my parties and pleasures when times are good, but at least I know how to roll up my sleeves when necessary" (p. 133). What do you think this says about her character? Do you think Lollia changes at all throughout the novel? If so, how?
  • The relationship between Lollia and her grandfather is a complicated one. He often uses his granddaughter to acquire a better position in society through her various marriages—depending on who is favorable at the time. How do you think Lollia feels about this? Do you think that this is one of the reasons she bought Thrax, her body slave?
  • After he is released from prison, Marcella has a conversation with Marcus Norbanus, in which he tells Marcella the following: "I've always liked you, Marcella—you're an intelligent woman, after all, and I like intelligent women. But I find I don't like you anymore, and I don't precisely know why. Perhaps it's just my feeling that you're a schemer" (p. 328). Why do you think he perceives her in this way? Do you think that his perceptions of Marcella are correct?
  • Do you think that it's possible that Marcella really did influence the decisions of three different Emperors the way that Diana claims? Do you think that Marcella's actions shaped the events in ancient Rome in any way? What do you think was a coincidence and what was planned by Marcella?
  • Discuss the changes in Cornelia throughout the novel. She begins the year of Four Emperors expecting to be named the wife to the future Emperor of Rome, but ends up widowed and without the security she had become accustomed to. How do you think her husband's death changed her? Do you think she still would have ended up with Drusus if she had not been widowed?
  • Throughout the book the youngest cousin, Diana, seems to be obsessed with nothing but horses, yet at the end of the novel it becomes apparent that she has been paying much closer attention to her cousins' activities than anyone thought. What are your observations about Diana? What do you think she picked up on that the other girls overlooked? And why do you think she keeps her perceptions to herself until the end? Uncle Paris creates busts of each of the four Cornelias depicted as goddesses: Cornelia as Vesta, the goddess of hearth and home; Lollia as Ceres, the goddess of the earth and the harvest; Diana as Diana the Huntress, the virgin goddess of the moon and the hunt; and Marcella as Eris, the goddess of discord and chaos. Why do you think each woman is represented this way? When do you think he began creating the statues and what do you think it means?
  • There were many strong men portrayed throughout this boo. From Lollia's gentle slave, Thrax, to Cornelia's caring guard Drusus, to Diana's strong-willed and moody Llyn, and to Marcella's opinionated and domineering Domitian. Describe their differences and similarities. How do the men in the novel shape each of the women? Do you think that Cornelia, Marcella, Lollia, and Diana would have faced different outcomes if they were not involved with these men?
  • At the end of the novel, Marcella walks through the streets of Rome as the Empress, just as she desired. What do you think her life is like? Do you feel sorry for her or do you think that she got what she deserved? Has there ever been something that you desired in life that—once you acquired it—was not as great as you thought it would be?

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See All Customer Reviews

Daughters of Rome 3.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 44 reviews.
dholland08 More than 1 year ago
If I could have given this book three and a half stars instead of four, I would have. Although I ended up really liking Daughters of Rome, for the first half of the book I found it very disappointing. I rushed out to buy this novel the day it was released because I'd been so blown away by Kate Quinn's Mistress of Rome. Since this was that book's prequel I figured it would be similarly original, dark, and suspenseful. When I started to read it I realized this wasn't the case. First off, Daughters of Rome lacked the engaging storytelling of Mistress of Rome. What I loved a lot about Quinn's first novel was the successful use of different voices and types of narration to tell the story. Daughters was limited to the third person, although it followed several characters around in this way. The storyline was that it is A.D. 69, a tumultuous period in ancient Rome, when Imperial power was switching hands faster than the seasons could change. Cornelia, a proper Roman matron with dreams of being Empress, and her sister Marcella, an aspiring historian, try to stay afloat amidst all the assassination and intrigue. Their cousins, the scandalous Lollia and the horse-obsessed Diana are also swept up by the events of that year and are trying to survive. For the first half of the book I can't really say I liked any of the characters. The plot lagged. There wasn't a lot going on in the story to distract from how selfish and scheming Marcella was and how Cornelia was passive and unexciting. Halfway through however, the story picked up and I became invested in the characters Cornelia and Lollia, while the danger felt more imminent. It was fun to recognize familiar characters from Mistress of Rome and to see how the stage was set for the events of that novel. There could have been less details of horse races at the Circus Maximus and more about Domitian, a character I found very interesting. But Daughters had some heart-pounding romances and an exhilarating climax. It was also clearly well-researched and the historical details were superb. In the end it was well worth reading and I definitely recommend it to Kate Quinn fans.
megWREN More than 1 year ago
This book takes historical fiction to the next level. The characters are very well developed, if you have had any interactions with sisters or female cousins, then you will more than likely be able to relate to these characters even though they live two thousand years ago. The plot is well researched with people who actually existed in that time period. If you have read Mistress of Rome this will answer a lot of questions. The format of this nookbook is well done also, no annoying typos or grammatical errors that I noticed.
MinnesotaHoser More than 1 year ago
I picked Mistress of Rome (another book in this series) off the recommended table at my local B & N and really enjoyed it Daughters is kind of a prequel.If you enjoy historical fiction, you will really like it. The third book Empress of the Seven Hills is also very good. Kate Quinn doesn't get overly graphic with sex or violence like most writers do with ancient Rome. She concentrates more on the characters and relationships.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Two Sister... Four Emperors... An empire... Quite the game.... A good read... Too bad I finished in just one day.... I really need to stop reading so fast.
Leslie Hinton More than 1 year ago
Thoroughly researched fictional account of the year of four emperors. Great characters and plot.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is the second of three books in the trilogy and my favorite. I thoroughly enjoyed following the three sisters in this book and the ever-changing politics of ancient Rome. Good character and plot development. Definitely recommend.
AlisaLorrine More than 1 year ago
I read Mistress of Rome when it first came out. I fell in love with Quinn's characters, writing style and story-telling. I had been waiting anxiously for Daughters of Rome to come out. So anxious, when my nook broke, I didn't hesitate to buy the paperback before waiting for my nook to be fixed! (And I LOVE reading from my nook.) Daughters of Rome followed the development of three related women during the Year of the Four Emperors. Quinn seamlessly pulls facts into fiction and is able to develop the main characters as well as add interested secondary characters. Fantastic read, hard to put down and makes you want to read or reread Mistress of Rome to follow the story of Domitian.
Angela89 More than 1 year ago
I love the way Kate Quinn writes. This book is a very good read! I only have one problem and that is that I wish she had added one more chapter. :) I love LOVE love ancient Roman life and Quinn captures the spirit and really makes the story jumo off the page! it's as if your a fly on the wall of these 4 cousins lives.
harstan More than 1 year ago
In 69 A.D. Cornelia is the paragon of a Roman politician's wife as she expects to one day soon become the empress. Their cousin Lollia is used by men in the family as a pawn to gain favors with the affluent. Another cousin Diana chooses to stay out of the elite arena as her preference is as a spectator at chariot racing. Otho leads a bloody coup that ends with the Emperor Galba dead after a reign of seven months following Nero's suicide. Cornelia's dream died with her spouse. Marcella must adapt having manipulated Galba. All four females struggle to survive as two more emperors follow in the "Year of the Four Emperors." This work of biographical fiction looks closely at the impact of the 'Year of the Four Emperors" had on four women. Each of the women is fully developed while the men in their lives serve as background catalysts on the feminist stage. The two sisters are fascinating protagonists turned to antagonists as Cornelia mourns what she felt was her divine right lost with her husband's death and Marcella turns from historian to Machiavellian emperor maker and breaker. The cousins are fully developed but less influential. A prequel to the author's Mistress of Rome, ancient historical fiction fans will enjoy this intriguing look at the disorderly first year after Nero's death. Harriet Klausner
kostal1 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Disclaimer: I won this book through Goodreads Giveaway. Excellent story about the Cornelii Family during the Year of Four Emperors in Rome. The four Cornelia¿s; sisters Cornelia Prima, Marcella, and cousins Lollia, and Diana have very different and often conflicting personalities, but have an unwavering bond¿or so we think at the beginning of the book. There are many tests and trials that affect all the Cornelia¿s. It¿s a great story of love, death, war, friendship, sisterhood and how decisions can make or break relationships¿and people.
Judith_Starkston on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
The Feminine Side of RomeTypically historical fiction set in ancient Rome focuses on senators, military geniuses, mad emperors, and a lot of blood. Daughters of Rome has six emperors (It takes place largely in the year of four emperors¿then add in Nero and Titus mentioned in the beginning and ending portions.), chariot races and battle scenes, but much more predominantly it has four women of the patrician family of the Cornelii. These women, who have four profoundly different approaches to living upper class lives, reveal the other side of Rome many people will have heard very little about. The book glides from ¿frivolities¿ like brightly colored silk stolas and ancient makeup to the mental requirements that women accept being political pawns in marriages to men they have good cause to hate, to the tawdry state of marriage and family in a society that pretended to value them above all, to a host of other complicated social issues that Quinn weaves in without our ever stumbling over them or thinking ¿too much history!¿ And she does this while keeping us turning the pages, wanting to know what the next political machination will be, the next wild sex scene, the next intimate moment between women when their lives are threatened and they have only each other to get them through. These four women are cousins from an old and respected family, now funded largely by one of the cousin¿s ex-slave grandfather who built a vast fortune and then bought his way into a patrician line¿and he¿s a genuinely likeable character with a good heart among many scoundrels with old pedigrees. The four live through the calamitous events of the year when Rome discovered that societies are forever altered for the worse when the rule of law is overthrown by power hungry men who do not care about the bloody means they use to usurp legitimate rule. Rome was no innocent before this particular year. The ¿Republic¿ had long since given up anything but lip service to the old Roman ideals of elections and a free citizenry and had been kissing up to emperors, crazed or good, for some time. But through the transformations of Kate Quinn¿s characters and her vivid portrayal of Roman life turned upside down, the author makes a good case that this year-long spasm was different than any that had come before. It¿s an apt lesson from history that is worth pondering, especially if you can have so much fun in the process. This may be a well-researched, historically engaging book, but it also has golden boy Thracian lovers, extravagant jewels and feasts, family and political intrigue. Let Quinn build her characters in the opening chapters¿some people think the beginning is a bit slow with so many people to put into place¿and then hold onto your hat.
besodenena on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I received this book as a GoodReads First Read copy. While the style of writing was interesting, I felt that the characters were poorly developed. Each time I started to relate to one of the four female leads, her actions or thoughts would show a completely contradictory side that made her seem insipid, callous, superficial or downright cruel. While some readers may find enjoyment solely in the period, history, or graphic nature of some of the scenes, in my own preferences, I need to be able to relate to at least one of the characters that I am following in order to truly enjoy a book. At the end, I found myself hating every single one of the titular "daughters of Rome". I appreciate the opportunity to read and review this book, but it was definitely not aimed at me.
BookAddictDiary on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
After thoroughly enjoying Kate Quinn's first novel Mistress of Rome, I couldn't wait to dive into her follow up, Daughters of Rome. Following a new collection of characters, Daughters of Rome promised to continue Quinn's exploration of Ancient Rome and offer new, juicy and intriguing stories of women in the Ancient world.Daughters of Rome follows the tales of two sisters, each with their own lives, personalities and ambitions. The novel switches between the viewpoints of the two women -Cornelia and Marcella -and explores their lives of intrigue, uncertainty, romance and powerful ambition during the year of four emperors in Rome. With an empire in dissaray, the world never quite seems as solid as it once did. Cornelia seeks to be the perfect Roman wife -and see her husband as emporer, while Marcella wants to be nothing but a simple bystander. Then the terror starts, and the empire is throw into bloody coups where the emperor seems to be constantly changing. Cornelia and Marcella are thrown into a new world where they must learn to survive.Daughters of Rome takes on a somewhat different approach than Mistress of Rome. Rather than taking the romance route, Daughters of Rome prefers intrigue and power, as well as rebellion. Usually I would be more at home with these themes, but I found that I just got lost in this story between the two women and the shifting tides. I hate to say it, but I thought Mistress of Rome was better. It just felt more solid, easier to follow and the characters seemed more fleshed out and stronger to me. It almost seemed like Mistress was the product of years of meticulous research and thoughtful writing while Daughters was put together more quickly -and somewhat sloppily.The tale of Marcella and Cornelia just didn't intrigue me as much as I wanted it to. Their personalities and struggles never fully came alive for me and made it difficult to become fully invested in the story. I'm not sure if it was the writing itself (which was lovely) or the detail/historical accuracy (seemed fairly well researched....), but the characters remained flat.A decent second effort, but just not as good as Mistress of Rome.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I liked all the details of how all the emperors came to power.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I have always been a fan of Ancient Egypt as well as Ancient Rome. That being said, I purchased this ebook by Kate Quinn with excitement, knowing that all of her other stories set in Ancient Rome were phenominal. However this story was cut and dry. The characters lacked personality and at the end I felt no connection with any of them. This story was painful to finish.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Lord is this book terrible, slow plot, boring characters and no end in sight. I am 150 pages in and it's a task to keep reading.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
If you love ancient Rome, this is the book for you. You won't be able to put this book down. I have read all the books, can wait for the next one !!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago