Nest of Vipers


Three women. One goal. Who will be Empress of Rome?

Listen to me talking about Nest of Vipers on ABC Radio National's Off the Shelf here


To pick up any non-fiction book concerning Ancient Roman history is to be bludgeoned with shocks enough to leave you reeling. Although it’s a precursor to the civilisation we call Western, Roman society was starkly different to modern life. Above all else, the world of Rome was devoid of compassion; lives could be bought and sold—and taken without censure. Corporal punishment was horrific—and so was public entertainment. Death was everywhere and ever-present; domestic murder was an accepted political tool. Sexuality was unfettered by shame; the streets of Rome were bedecked with images of genitalia. Women married at thirteen; children worked the Forum as prostitutes. 

To read about Rome is to feel the hair rise at the back of your neck—but you’re compelled to know more. To write about Rome, at least to me, is to provide the same experience. I looked to the works of those writers I admired for their ability to employ shocks with aplomb, and they were my inspiration for how to approach the writing style of Den of Wolves, and its sequel, Nest of Vipers. I wanted it to feel like an ancient world Hollywood Wives—and excite like a 1st Century Once is Not Enough. I wanted it to grip the reader like a swords and sandals The Other Side of Midnight. To my great pleasure, readers from around the world have told me I succeeded. 

“The cover really does tell it like it is… Roman villainy, lust and betrayal…” 
The West Australian

“...scheming, murdering and sexual shenanigans...”  
Sunday Age

“…the most diabolical characters in Ancient Rome were women, as you will discover…” 
Brisbane News

“Devenish has built an incredibly detailed, rich version of Ancient Rome, an astounding place, populated by an equally astounding number of quite unpleasant characters… This is a no holds barred use of sex, violence, manipulation, cruelty and intrigue… The Empress of Rome series would definitely be a set of books for any reader who loves this period of  time.” 

“An entertaining read!” 

Readers' reviews on GoodReads:

'The scandalous second volume in the series... I can't wait for the next one.'

Matt D 

'Ancient Rome in Devenish's hands is a complicated, gory, deadly, lustful, obsessive place full of elaborate and complicated characters... The three main characters, locked in a lethal rivalry, are not above using anybody or anything to advance their own causes...  there's quite a feeling of reality, albeit a very unpalatable reality, about the society in which NEST OF VIPERS takes place.'