Orion signs Damned Emperor series

Craig Lye at Orion has signed UK and Commonwealth rights from Sallyanne Sweeney of Mulcahy Associates for Caligula and Commodus, the first two books in the Damned Emperors series by SJA Turney. Orion will publish Caligula in hardback in spring 2018, with Commodus following a year later.

The series will centre on the lives of emperors who were “damned” by the Senate after their deaths, a ceremonial mark of shame that meant their statues were torn down, their names chiselled out from inscriptions, and their likenesses scratched from frescoes. Each story will be told from the perspective of a powerful woman close to the emperor.

Lye said: “Caligula is going to do for Imperial Rome what Imperium and Emperor [by Robert Harris] did for the Republic. An accessible, balanced narrative combined with great storytelling and a keen eye for historical detail will bring Rome under the emperors to vivid life. The narrative is told from the point of view of Livilla, Caligula’s sister, and will have a broad appeal. SJA Turney has written a stunning novel that you will not be able to put down.”

Turney added: “I’ve always supported the underdogs. Yes, Caligula was the ruler of the most powerful nation on earth, but history has vilified him and turned him into something of an underdog compared to Saint Constantine, or wall-building Hadrian. The challenge of taking one of history’s most reviled caricatures and turning him into a real person that a reader can both understand and even sympathise with is one I have truly relished.”


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