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Publisher's Summary

Set amongst the scandal, wealth, and upstairs-downstairs politics of a Roman family, Crystal King's seminal debut features the man who inspired the world's oldest cookbook and the ambition that led to his destruction.

On a blistering day in the 26th year of Augustus Caesar's reign, a young chef, Thrasius, is acquired for the exorbitant price of 20,000 denarii. His purchaser is the infamous gourmet Marcus Gavius Apicius, wealthy beyond measure, obsessed with a taste for fine meals from exotic places and a singular ambition: to serve as culinary adviser to Caesar, an honor that will cement his legacy as Rome's leading epicure.

Apicius rightfully believes that Thrasius is the key to his culinary success, and with Thrasius' help he soon becomes known for his lavish parties and fantastic meals. Thrasius finds a family in Apicius' household, his daughter Apicata, his wife Aelia, and her handmaiden, Passia, whom Thrasius quickly falls in love with. But as Apicius draws closer to his ultimate goal, his reckless disregard for any who might get in his way takes a dangerous turn that threatens his young family and places his entire household at the mercy of the most powerful forces in Rome.

©2017 Crystal King (P)2017 Blackstone Audio, Inc.

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  • Performance
  • Story

It made me hungry for more

If you could sum up Feast of Sorrow in three words, what would they be?

Hungry for more

What other book might you compare Feast of Sorrow to and why?

America's First Daughter. Both discussed masters and slaves, while trying to keep a realistic description of salvery and weaving it through the lens of the time.

What does Simon Vance bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

I listened to the book as walked to work in Paris. The smells mingled perfectly with the story.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

No

Any additional comments?

I could tell there was a lot research done for the book. I can't wait to see the movie or read the next book that she writes.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Very well written. Great story.

Would you listen to Feast of Sorrow again? Why?

Yes. This one will stay in my library. The story moved along at a great pace and it was well written. The ending brought a tear to my eye,

What other book might you compare Feast of Sorrow to and why?

Hmm. Tough one. The story spans decades, following the lives of a Roman patrician, his household, and his slaves, written from the point of view of his most important slave. The story is almost a bit Dickensian.

Which scene was your favorite?

Many great scenes, but the ending stuck with me. I was sad to reach that end once I had.

If you could take any character from Feast of Sorrow out to dinner, who would it be and why?

Haha! Since wonderful food and feasts are a central theme of the story, I would rather the main characters invite me to one of their dinner parties!

Any additional comments?

Excellently narrated, which complemented the story nicely.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story
  • TFH
  • Vermont
  • 08-28-17

Not just for foodies!

Fascinating adventure in Ancient Rome captured through King's telling of the birth of the first cookbook. The recipes alone are worth reading; the author's attention to detail bring legitimacy to the story, while her evident love of the subject is infectious, inviting the reader to share her enthusiasm. Simon Vance's performance of the audio version is brilliant.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

A Great First Novel

I did not know what to expect when I downloaded this novel, but I was very glad I did. The narration was brilliant and the story flowed like wine. I often found myself sitting back at dinner and just enjoyed the experience. Looking forward to other stories.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Superb Storytelling

What made the experience of listening to Feast of Sorrow the most enjoyable?

This is a very compelling story situated in the richly painted world of ancient Rome. We are led through this world by a slave who is the right hand man to the world's first gourmand. His inner world is articulated as beautifully as the outer world of ancient kitchens and gardens.

What other book might you compare Feast of Sorrow to and why?

Maybe I Claudius by Robert Graves, but this book is distinguished by details that truly give characters three dimensionality. Also, there are recipes!!!

Which character – as performed by Simon Vance – was your favorite?

not sure.

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

The death of Appicater

Any additional comments?

Ideal material for an HBO series.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Performance
  • Story

Perfectly read by Vance, accurate history!

Simon Vance is even better reading this novel than the Ruso Roman Mysteries! This author was really good! I just wept at the end! I feel I visited the Roman Empire, belonged to this family. It is difficult to find books about Ancient history that are this good, and audible. This is not just about meals, it is about life, it's Up's and downs, it's treasures and loves. I am sad this experience is over. I wish there were more books this excellent! It was prose. I will remember it a long time. Thoroughly recommend! Included are some Roman recipes.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful