Threshold of Fire: A Novel of Fifth Century Rome
Academy Chicago Publishers, 2005 - 255 pagina's
In this vivid, dynamic novel, Hella Haasse has once more brought the past to life. This time she has chosen to illuminate a crucial, yet relatively obscure period of history: it is 414 A.D. and the once-powerful Roman Empire is in its death throes—split between East and West, menaced by barbarian hordes almost literally at its gates. The Emperor Honorius, an incompetent weakling, cowers in the marsh-bound city of Ravenna, where he has moved the government; he rarely "makes entry" into Rome. This is the brilliant canvas against which the characters in this drama interact. There is the Prefect Hadrian, a powerful official and fanatical Christian convert; there is Marcus Anicius, the pagan aristocrat who is clinging to a dying past, and there is the Jew Eliezar be Elijah, hemmed in by his own traditions and burdened by his dark vision of the future. There is the intrigue and uncertainty of life at Honorius's court, and there are the streets and tenements of Rome, pulsating with life and with corruption.
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In an instant he will have crossed a threshold — not just the tangible threshold of
the justice hall. A voice behind him (one of the police officials) asks whether the
instruments should be prepared for the more stringent interrogation. With a hasty
“What statue?" “Of the poet Claudius Claudianus." The Prefect is silent for a long
time. Finally, still seated, he says, “Bring the mime Pylades and his dwarf. Not in
the justice hall. Here.” With a grimace, Urbanilla thrusts herself away from the ...
When, later than usual, the Prefect sets foot on the black-and-white marble floor
of the justice hall, the sight of his officials, scribes, assessors and attendants
arranged in a half-circle before him on the dais, brings home to him the full ...
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LibraryThing ReviewGebruikersrecensie - janerawoof - LibraryThing
This one was fantastic! Not a book of 'action', except in the memories expressed by two of the main characters, Prefect Hadrian and the poet, Claudius Claudianus. Hadrian presides at the trial of a ... Volledige review lezen
THRESHOLD OF FIREGebruikersrecensie - Kirkus
The cusps of the past are further explored in another of the prolific Haasse's historical sagas (In a Dark Wood Wandering, 1989; The Scarlet City, 1990)—a 1964 novel newly translated from the Dutch ... Volledige review lezen