Next up on David’s Book Blurg I’m reviewing Lucia by Steven A. McKay on available on Audible!
Here’s the blurb
At eight years old, Lucia is torn from the life she knew. Her village burned to the ground and parents murdered by Romans, she is kidnapped, sold and shipped abroad to the Villa Tempestatis in Britannia to serve the young Roman army officer Castus.
Faced with a bleak future of decades of servitude to her master, as well as sadistic brutality at the hands of his slave and manageress, Paltucca, she finds herself fixated by one thought alone. Fuelled by hatred and a belief that the gods saved her for a reason, she vows to never taste freedom until she gets her revenge.
As she and her fellow slaves are exploited mercilessly by the master and his ‘noble’ friends – and brutally punished for even the smallest misdemeanours – Lucia’s longing for vengeance only grows stronger. Despite warnings from her loyal friend, Sennianus, that her hatred won’t bring her happiness, she continues to plot the downfall of Castus and Paltucca.
When Paltucca performs an unforgivable act, cruelly destroying a chance of happiness for Lucia, the manageress seals her own fate and unwittingly becomes her own undoing. But what will become of Castus? Risen within the ranks and trusted by the master, Lucia must decide whether or not to exploit her power and risk everything to fulfil her lifelong desire.
Genre – Historical Fiction.
Lucia is a slaves tale told from the very beginning when she is brutally taken from her family and those she loved left for dead.
Quickly Lucia learns her new place in life but struggles with the horrible Paltucca.. an evil manageress who never seems to be happy with the work no matter the standard.
Her master Castus is an enigma or sorts at first.. as a Roman officer he’s not always at home but when he is the wine and food flows.. some of his guests are less than delightful and their urges quite abhorrent. Castus shows himself to be a good master at times ensuring the youngest slaves aren’t unduly harmed but as time goes on he himself changes…his own deprived tastes come to the fore and Lucia feels the brunt of his affections for a time.
While Lucia learns to deal with her masters demands she proves to be a good slave.. she’s part of a family. Of course she hates those who oppress her and she swears one day to get vengeance on all those who have wronged her.
As time goes on some important events happen to Lucia and her fellow slaves..the most important is her saving the estate from thieves. It’s a catalyst which sees Lucia’s fortunes change.
To say Lucia is a tough read is an understatement… don’t get me wrong.. this tale is gripping and it’s tough to put down.. what I mean is it’s harrowing… real heart wrenching.. to see someone downtrodden..treated like they don’t matter.. it’s hard to imagine a time when slaves were common place. The hardships these people suffer arent easy to forget.
Along the way we see friendships forged..and tested. Sennianus wants nothing more than to live an easy life with Lucia but she’s broken…Senni stands by her but struggles at times to accept the situation.
Regalis is the biggest character for me and plays a pivotal part.. he’s a slave but also has the job of delivering punishments on behalf of Paltucca…the thing is everyone likes the man.. he’s as honest as they come and is just doing as commanded by his master.. there’s no malice in his actions.
Sosthenes, while not very well liked he knows his place. There’s a moment your feelings for him change as you see the man in a different light.
Dentatus, a horrible creature of a man who will do anything if it sees him in the good books of the manageress.
The point I hope I’ve made clear is that this story is not just of Lucia.. yes the main focus is on her life but there’s so much more going on.. each member of the cast play their part and stay with you… they each have their own motivations and you can’t help but feel for them all. Some find it easier to adapt to their new lives than others but under everything they are humans..and their lives are worth more..
Lucia is an Audible book only and the narrator Imogen Church did superbly at making me commit to Lucia with everything I had. I like audio but can get distracted easily..Imogen Church commands your attention.. her tone perfect for each character.. emphasis just when you’d expect.
A compelling 5* story from McKay, an author who continues to amaze me with his writing.