Friesner blends understated speculation on the affairs of men and their gods with the story of Marcus Junius Brutus whose fate is taken into the hands of a goddess on the eve of Caesar's scheduled assassination. Venus has plans for Rome that preclude Caesar's death, and she recruits Brutus to her cause, making him a new god-sponsored hero in the classical mold. Yet Brutus is not a god, but human, and as he seems progressively more godlike, it becomes clear that his humanity rules him. The tension between the mortal and the divine pervades the story; the ending provides an unspoken resolution to this tight, intelligent historical fantasy. |
On the eve of the conspirators' plan to assassinate Caesar, Marcus Brutus is surprised in his garden by a vision of a woman so exquisitely lovely that he is immediately enchanted by her. She seduces him with ease, then persuades him to save Ceasar's life instead of taking it. She only prevails by showing him visions of what Rome will be like with Caesar dead.