The Secret Heiress
A fabulous fortune. Beautiful, identical twins… Dark shadows fall across the golden summer of 1886.
Naïve country girl Ida Garfield longs to escape the farm. When Miss Matilda Gregory, the elegant mistress of Summersby House, offers Ida employment as a housemaid, Ida leaps at the chance. Yet it’s not for her servant’s skills that she’s wanted. It’s her inquisitiveness.
But before Ida starts her first day, Miss Gregory is found dead. Fearing her one chance of bettering herself lost, Ida goes to the funeral, hoping that someone else from Summersby will still want her.
Someone does. Handsome blond Englishman Mr Samuel Hackett is the late Miss Gregory’s fiancé. He expresses a keen need for a housemaid — and a friend. But Miss Gregory’s will brings to light an extraordinary deception and a terrible wrong from the past. Summersby has a secret heiress, whose name is also Matilda Gregory, a strange, ethereal girl with an irrevocably broken memory. Who is this mysterious heiress, and why is Ida bound forever to the truth?
It is 44 BC and the rival powers of Rome are driving the Republic to a violent end. A soothsayer foretells that the young Tiberius Nero, if he is wed to his cousin, the darkly beautiful Livia Drusilla, will sire four kings of Rome. Fuelled by ambition, Livia devotes her life to fulfilling the prophecy. No crime is too great when destiny beckons.
So begins a murderous saga of sex, corruption and obsession at the dawning of the age of emperors.
Den of Wolves brings to life the great women of Imperial Rome — Livia, Julia, Antonia and Agrippina — women who relied on their ambition, instincts and cunning to prosper. In this first book of the dramatic new series Empress of Rome, Luke Devenish superbly recreates these outstanding women who lived in such monstrous times.
The second in the series is… Nest of Vipers. Rome is bathed in blood as the Emperor Tiberius is tormented by drug-fuelled terrors of treason. The innocent are butchered while the guilty do evil in darkness. None is guiltier than the Emperor’s devoted and deluded ‘son’, Sejanus.
In this city of poison three beautiful women are locked in a lethal rivalry… Rome is a nest of vipers, and Livia, the one true Empress of Rome, is hell-bent on wreaking her vengeance… Nest of Vipers is the second volume in the gripping Empress of Rome series.
Rights: Den of Wolves was published in Australia and New Zealand by Random House in 2008, and has also been sold into Turkey, Spain and Russia. It is the first book in a trilogy commissioned by Random House.
The author: Luke Devenish (photo above) is a writer for television and theatre, and a lecturer in screenwriting. He lives with his partner in central Victoria, Australia. Den of Wolves is his first novel. Visit his website: http://www.lukedevenish.com/