An Emperor And His Babe


Do not worry about her dowry, it is of no

consequentia to me, of course

you will benefit greatly from this negotium.

I think we can safely say that your business

Is due to expand significantly.

Imperial Rome didn`t have hang ups over the colour of a person`s skin; if you were up to the job, you got the nod. The emperor Severus came from Northern Africa, his babe of the imperial bedchamber he picked up in Londinium, but hailed from darkest Africa of Sudanese parents made good.

The Emperor`s Babe is Bernadine Evaristo`s vibrant, and lyrical blank verse portrait  of Roman London in 211 AD. It`s an energetic city of slum dwellings and sumptuous villas, of low street life and rich gentry and entrepreneurs. The emperor Severus is in town and wants some entertainment and quality time to take his mind off of military campaigning in the north of the province. Enter Zuleika; a precocious, feisty young girl full of sass, on the look out for entertainment, who is shackled in a luxuriant, but dull marriage to an obese, absent Roman. Then one fine day, Severus comes to town looking to rock and roll with the local night life. He brings with him everything Zuleika is hungry for; danger in copious amounts.

This novel in verse is a triumph of the imagination, as it hurtles along: vibrant, lively, passionate and lyrical. It`s an old tale told from a new and imaginative angle, with a vitality of language which sometimes takes the breath away as it soars and glides between modern slang and Latin phrases. Everything is thrown into the mix, as the ancient world is shown in context: it`s not far removed from our own, but very much a part of it, as this wonderful book brings it to life in a joyous and vibrant manner.

It`s a seriously ribald story that tells it like it is.the-emperor-s-babe-24727369

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