Baker & Taylor In order to win the love of Ligia, a Christian, Vinicius, a soldier, must come to understand the true meaning of her religion, even as Rome sinks under the excesses of Nero and Christians are thrown to the lions.
Blackwell North Amer The work of a master storyteller, Quo Vadis is a panoramic historical novel that has captivated readers for generations. "Sienkiewicz wrote Quo Vadis for the entire world and the world took it to its heart," commented James Michener. Now, a sparkling new translation restores the original glory and splendor missing from earlier English translations of this great tale. Set at a turning point in history (A.D. 54-68), as Christianity replaces the era of corruption and gluttony that marked Nero's Rome, Quo Vadis brims with life. Its characters include: Vinicius, a proud centurion. He has fallen madly in love with a mysterious young woman who disappears the night they meet; Ligia, the elusive beauty. Vinicius will not easily win her love, for she is a Christian, one of a group of dedicated believers led by the apostle Peter. Christians are rare in pagan, hedonistic Rome - their countrymen claim that they worship the head of an ass, hate mankind and perform unspeakable acts in their secret rituals; Petronius, uncle to Vinicius, a witty, elegant courtier who scoffs at love and religion but finds his nephew's passion charming; and Nero himself, enemy of all Christians, a despotic ruler who plunges Rome deeper and deeper into depraved excess. The decadence of his orgiastic banquets boggles the mind; worse, his mad cackles are heard echoing over the city as it burns and in the amphitheater as gladiators duel to the death. As Nero's horrific plans for the Christians become ever clearer, time appears to be running out for the young lovers. Vinicius must come to understand the true meaning of Ligia's religion before it is too late. Against the unfolding of this dramatic saga stands ancient Rome. From the Forum to the Coliseum, from banquet halls to summer retreats in Naples, from the glorious houses of the nobility to the hovels of the poor, Quo Vadis captures the full flavor of a place and time now romanticized in the modern imagination. A powerful work that is grand in scope and ambition, Quo Vadis balances themes of love and desire with a profound morality. Lush descriptions, vivid dialogue and brilliantly depicted characters make this a meaty, satisfying read. It is truly one of the world's great epics.