Friday 8 November 2019

Check out Autumn Bardot's fabulous book — The Emperor’s Assassin #HistoricalFiction #Giveaway @AutumnBardot @hfvbt

The Emperor’s Assassin
By Autumn Bardot

History paints her as the first female serial killer…
Locusta is the daughter of a winemaker in the Roman province of Gaul. She enjoys the indulged childhood of the elite, her concerns only about the day’s amusements. She rides gentle ponies, attends parties, reads Ovid, and learns the herbal arts from her servant. But the day after meeting her betrothed, Locusta discovers the consequences of possessing such dangerous knowledge.
Ordered to leave her pastoral life, Locusta is thrust into a world of intrigue, scandal, and murder—where treason lurks behind every corner and defying an emperor means death. Locusta’s life changes forever when a young Emperor Nero requires her herbal expertise. And commands her to be his personal poisoner. Caught in an imperial web, Locusta must embrace her profession or die.
Or is there another way out?
History paints her as the first female serial killer. Or is she yet another maligned woman in history?
Roman citizens crowded the reception room. All men. All holding scrolls.

It took only a few foul looks from the petitioners for me to sink into the shadows of my hooded cloak. Like a skiff in a storm of togas, I was jostled about. The men pushed and shoved, their rude maneuvering for one purpose only. To reach the front.

Gaius Theon did not tell me I would be one of many. This was not an audience, it was a mob. I was no match for this masculine horde.
The crush of people surged forward. I was trapped. Powerless to do anything but stay upright. They pushed and shoved and elbowed. Sometimes forward. Sometimes sideways.

I drew closer and closer to the dais where Emperor Claudius sat in his imperial chair. Before I knew it, only one whale of a man blocked my way. The whale lurched sideways, and another brute tried to shove me aside. He thrust me forward instead.

I stumbled, tripped, and fell. My hands and knees slapped the ground before the emperor. It was a posture of obeisance exhibited by no previous petitioner. 

Emperor Claudius gestured to the senators at his side. “Ah, proper supplication from a young woman. Make your petition known.”

I rose on quaking knees and gawked at the most powerful man in the world.

Tiberius Claudius Caesar was a tall man, his limbs extending past the gilded chair. Despite his sixty-three-years, he was still handsome and had a full head of white hair.

“I-I…b-b-b,” I stuttered.

The emperor’s smile crumbled.

He thought I mocked his speech impediment.

Emperor Claudius’s eyes tapered. “Speak.”

“I b-b-beg an extension for the t-t-taxes due on Parisii vineyards.”

“An extension? That name…Parisii.”  Emperor Claudius pointed at me. “Are you from Gaul?”

“I am, your excellency.”

He settled back in his throne and looked at me as though I was an insect to be crushed. “You came all this way to beg?” He lifted his chin and spoke loudly. “See this girl begging before the might of Rome. People of Gaul know their place. They are beggars.”

My mouth opened, but my tongue was leaden. Rational thought deserted me.

“Tell me, girl from Gaul, what reason prevents you from giving Rome its due?”

“My father is old and—”

Emperor Claudius roared with exaggerated laughter. “If I deferred everyone's taxes because of old age, Rome’s coffers would be empty. How do you think the Port of Ostia was built? Or the aqueducts?”
“We can make gifts of wine.”

“Wine? I have enough wine.” The emperor waved his hand dismissively. “Denied.”

A guard grabbed my arm and dragged me back into the crowd.
I slunk away, covered my face with my palla, hid my angry tears. How dare the emperor insult me. Insult Gaul. How dare Uncle Amando not prepare a proper appeal for me. How dare Gaius Theon—with all his political scheming and gloating over his favored position—subject me to such a hostile venue. They must have known there was no chance of success. My blood boiled with indignation.

I pushed my way through the Roman wolf pack. Prodded a few men who refused to let me pass. A few bold shoves later, I tramped into the corridor.

Pricilla leaned against a marble column. “Did the emperor give you an extension?”

“No. He mocked me. Called me a beggar."

“A lion does not concern itself with the problems of sheep.”
“Then it seems I’m a lamb in a great flock.”

“I may have found another way to pay the taxes.” Pricilla’s eyes darted from right to left. “There’s someone you must meet.”


“While you were waiting to speak to the emperor, I explored the Forum and happened to overhear two women while I admired a statue of Diana.”

“Overheard? Or spied on?”

“This is Rome. Is there a difference?”

Roman walls have ears. I never imagined they would be Pricilla’s.

“How can these two women help me?”

“By helping them.”

I was not in the mood for word games. I wanted to go home—my home in Gaul—and lick my wounds. “You speak in riddles.”

“Hear their tale of sorrow. Decide if you’ll help.”

Will help? Or can help? There was a big difference. “Pricilla, you’re a fisher of intrigue, and I, the bait.”

“Me?” She pressed her heart and pretended surprise. “Indeed not. Locusta is the fisherman; her humble handmaid, the fishing pole.” She affected a quick bow.

“Fine.” I smiled, Pricilla’s wit brightened my dour mood. “Take me to the fish whose scales will tip the balance of taxes owed.”

We hastened down a marble corridor of statuary and secrets. Here, men conversed in alcoves, senators whispered in corners, scroll-toting scribes disappeared behind drapes, and servants scurried after their masters. It was a busy political hall where pledges were sworn, and policies decided. A hall with many ears.

Pricilla and I passed under a domed fresco of golden constellations and into a courtyard.

I looked about, the only figure a robust marble Neptune spewing water into the air. “I see a pond but neither fish nor Roman citizen.”

“The south gate exits into an alley.” Pricilla pointed. “They’re waiting in a carpentum.”

Two women. How could two women possibly help me? With a loud sigh, I crossed the courtyard and swung open the gate.
During the Blog Tour, we are giving away a paperback copy of The Emperor’s Assassin! Enter HERE!
Giveaway Rules

• Giveaway ends at 11:59 pm EST on November 15th. You must be 18 or older to enter.
• Paperback giveaway is open to US residents only.
• Only one entry per household.
• All giveaway entrants agree to be honest and not cheat the systems; any suspicion of fraud will be decided upon by blog/site owner and the sponsor, and entrants may be disqualified at our discretion.
• The winner has 48 hours to claim prize or a new winner is chosen.
Pick up your copy of
The Emperor’s Assassin


Autumn Bardot
Autumn Bardot writes historical fiction and historical erotica. Her debut historical fiction is THE IMPALER’S WIFE. Her debut historical erotica is LEGENDS OF LUST.
Autumn, a pen name, has worked as an educator for more than sixteen years. She teaches literature, writing, and the magic of words. She has a passion for history and a special affinity for the unsung courageous females that history has neglected. Or misunderstood. Autumn lives in Southern California with her husband and every-growing family. She wishes she was one-tenth as brave as the women she writes about.
Historical Fiction
~ The Impaler’s Wife
~ Dragon Lady
~ The Emperor’s Assassin ( coming Oct 1, 2019 )
Historical Erotica ( Cleis Press)
~ Legends of Lust, Erotic Myths from around the World
~ Confessions of a Sheba Queen ( coming March 10, 2020)
Connect with Autumn

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for hosting Autumn's blog tour!

    HF Virtual Book Tours


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