• From the Ashes

  • The Colosseum, Book 1
  • By: Melissa Addey
  • Narrated by: Melanie Presson
  • Length: 8 hrs and 53 mins
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars (4 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Rome, AD 80. A gigantic new amphitheater is being built... 

The emperor has plans for gladiatorial games on a scale no one has ever seen before. But the games don’t just happen. They must be made. And Marcus, the man in charge of creating them, has just lost everything he held dear when Pompeii disappeared under the searing wrath of Vesuvius. Now it will fall to Althea, the slave woman who serves as his scribe, to ensure the Colosseum is inaugurated on time - and that Marcus makes his way out of the darkness that calls to him. First in a new series. 

If you loved Pompeii by Robert Harris and enjoy books by Kate Quinn, Lindsey Davis, and Colleen McCullough, then the Colosseum series is for you. Following the backstage team of the Colosseum through the risks and rewards of fire, water, earth, and air, this is historical fiction at its most captivating, both action-packed and tender. 

About Author Melissa Addey 

You can read about me and my books (and get a free novella) on my website, MelissaAddey.com. 

I mainly write historical fiction, focusing on the Forbidden City in China’s 18th century, Morocco in the 11th century, and now Ancient Rome in the first century. 

I have a PhD in creative writing and was the 2016 Leverhulme Trust Writer in Residence at the British Library. In 2019, I won the Novel London award as well as the Page to Podcast competition. I live in London with my husband and two children.

©2021 Melissa Addey (P)2021 Melissa Addey

What listeners say about From the Ashes

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Epic story starting with the destruction of Pompei

Althea is a scribe in Pompei. She is also a slave. This story covers over a year, from Althea being transferred to a wealthy, talented man with a wife and young son. The story takes us through the tragedy of the explosion of Mount Vesuvius to Rome, a plague, and a great fire. All the while, planning the building and opening of the biggest and most impressive colosseum in all of the Roman Empire.

The entire story is told through the eyes of Althea, a talented and smart woman, who is dedicated to her master and to the people she lives and works with. The story provides us with insight into the every day lives of the people in ancient Rome; what they ate, how they dressed, their customs, and their gods. It also covers their fears and their work.

This is a well written story that kept me interested from start to end. I think it can be read and enjoyed from young adult through mature audiences.

I listened to the audio version of the book. The narrator did an excellent job.

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Narrator is juvenile

I enjoyed this story and the historical time frame- but the narrator sounds like she’s 11 years old and it took away from the story