The Will of Augustus

| August 9, 2014

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The Will of Augustus

Rome, as her uncle Marcus Septimius always likes to say, is unpredictable…

When Gaius Aemilius Papus falls out of political favour, his daughter Aemelia is sent against her will to join the Vestal Virgins in the hope of placating the Emperor Augustus.

Aemilia Secunda, an exuberant, unbiddable ten year old, must relinquish all ties with her family and devote her life to keeping the eternal fire in the Temple of Vesta burning, the fire that represents the soul of Rome itself. She must also remain unmarried and chaste. A Vestal who fails to do so faces the most severe of punishments: burial alive.

As Aemelia grows she begins to understand the unique power the Vestals wield. They move in the very highest circle of Roman society, can become financially secure through gifts and, unlike the rest of Roman women, are completely independent.

But just as Aemelia comes to accept her role as a Vestal, she finds herself enmeshed in a plot which is perilously close to the very heart of Roman politics and the issue of Imperial succession, where her very survival hangs in the balance.

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