Sold by her mother. Enslaved in Pompeii’s brothel. Determined to survive. Her name is Amara. Welcome to the Wolf Den…

Amara was once a beloved daughter, until her father’s death plunged her family into penury. Now she is a slave in Pompeii’s infamous brothel, owned by a man she despises. Sharp, clever and resourceful, Amara is forced to hide her talents. For as a she-wolf, her only value lies in the desire she can stir in others.

But Amara’s spirit is far from broken.

By day, she walks the streets with her fellow she-wolves, finding comfort in the laughter and dreams they share. For the streets of Pompeii are alive with opportunity. Out here, even the lowest slave can secure a reversal in fortune. Amara has learnt that everything in this city has its price. But how much is her freedom going to cost her?

Set in Pompeii’s lupanar, The Wolf Den reimagines the lives of women who have long been overlooked.


4 stars

Thank you Sterling Publishing for granting me a copy through Netgalley. It has no influence on my review.

That story is extremely well written, feels very realistic and made me sad and thoughtful.

Sad because the lot of these women in the lupanar, these she-wolves, were not a lot they had chosen but one they fell into and had to endure the best they could.

It made me thoughtful too because even beyond these prostitutes, it’s a whole society in ancient Rome that was built on slavery. You had other house slaves, not just in the lupanar of course.

And it made me realize how lucky I am.

How lucky I am to be born in a country and in an era of freedom and equal rights for women. Of course, I know prostitution still exists and exploitation of prostitution too but now it’s illegal and people fight against this.

These women didn’t have that chance.

The only hope they had to escape that life was to buy their freedom. But the price was so steep that it was impossible except if another wealthy man could buy them out.

It also showed how people can manipulate others. Felix, the pimp, knew how to make these women feel worthless and then have them feel grateful for something he did, or have them craving his approval. This is twisted and a prime example of manipulator.

Elodie Harper did a good job at describing Pompeii at that time, the merchants, the public bath, the lupanar and of course the slavery.

Know that it’s hard to read at time and filled with triggers. It’s no real “fade to black” and I wanted to scream many times. But it was best to write without sugarcoating anything. Just be warned when reading that story.

But what was also incredible and gave me hope while reading about these bleak conditions was the women’s friendship and support.

They were united in their lot, helping each other the best they could. Sharing food, perfume, etc. There was laughter, expeditions to the arena, stories…

Last word about my reading experience, this is very character driven, centered around these women’s lives, Amara’s in particular hence the pacing is quite slow. If you are looking for something full of actions, that won’t be the book for you.

The Wolf Den is a well written historical fiction, brutally honest, centering around ordinary people instead of emperors or great heroes of the past. It talks about slavery, survival but also friendship and sisterhood.

Thanks for reading


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  1. I love your new layout! And this sounds like an emotionally powerful book, I have never heard of it before. It sounds like a very memorable historical fiction!

  2. I’m so glad you enjoyed The Wolf Den, Sophie! I can’t wait for the second book. It’s one of my highest anticipated books of 2022. ♥

  3. This sounds like the kind of story that grabs my complete attention and makes me angry at the same time: your description of the women’s plight is indeed heartbreaking. But I know I will want to read this one, one of these days… Thanks for sharing! 🙂