We’re having a bountiful FEAST this Labor Day weekend at Thoughts on This ‘n That.


Debut author, Crystal King ushers us into another time in history in her novel, FEAST of SORROW: A Novel of Ancient Rome (Touchstone). Taking nearly a decade to research and write, it’s a four-hundred plus page journey through Ancient Rome highlighting the opulence, shrewd political maneuvering, fabulous food and relationships from the powerful ruling class to the slaves.

In the year 1 B.C.E., at a slave market, Apicius pays a king’s ransom for Thrasius, an excellent coquus (cook) who can prepare the decadent spreads Apicius’ banquets are known for. Thrasius soon becomes indispensable to Apicius’ household, which includes loyal Egyptian bodyguard Sotas, wife, Aelia, daughter, Apicata, and Apicata’s slave, Passia, with whom Thrasius falls in love.

Thrasius and Apicius become partners in a cooking school and write a cookbook together. ON COOKERY, the world first cookbook, a codex attributed to Apicius, does exist. FEAST OF SORROW serves up a banquet of  recipes which appear throughout the book, featuring exotic ingredients like liquamen, a fish sauce, and silphium, a wild herb so delicious it was apparently rendered extinct by ancient foodie foragers.

Apicius was a real wealthy Roman patrician. He’s famous for his immoral conduct, as well as a palate, so precise that when he was down to what his other wealthy persons considered a small fortune, he committed suicide because he could no longer afford the best ingredients.

King’s novel is an accurate scholarly work, as well as an entertaining endeavour, which explores thirty years of salacious sex, intrigue and epicure, as Apicius and his family existence under the reign of Augustus Caesar and his successor, Tiberius. It swept me into another time, where I learned and enjoyed a piece of delicious history.

The historical characters are written with such detail, you get to know them intimately. The elaborate  descriptions of food, including the historical significance can not be highlighted enough.

One of the first things that attracted to me to FEAST of SORROW was the cover. It’s absolutely beautiful. It reminds me of paintings I’ve seen in museums throughout the world. It’s the combination of a photograph and two oil paintings: “Abundant Fruit” (1858) and “A Banquet Still Life” (1631-1695). Simply beautiful and fitting for a novel of such significance.


Crystal’s words.

I am a novelist, editor, professor, social media professional, and critical & creative thinker. My work as a writer is the thread that ties my broad experience together.

I am also writing my second novel, THE SECRET CHEF, about a famous Italian Renaissance chef, Bartolomeo Scappi, who was the cuoco segreto (private cook) to several Popes.

I have taught writing, creativity and social media at UMass BostonBoston UniversityMass College of Art, and Harvard Extension School. I often teach classes on social media for authors at Grub Street, one of the most amazing writing communities in the country.

To connect with Crystal, check out her website  http://www.crystalking.com   There you’ll find amazing delicious recipes that we mere mortal, non-chefs can attempt! Chefs will be in heaven.

Thanks to Crystal, we have two signed copies of her delicious novel, FEAST of SORROW: A Novel of Ancient Rome to giveaway. Just tell us what your favorite Italian meal is. We’ll announce winners next week.

Have a wonderful Labor Day Holiday.


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19 thoughts on “FEAST OF SORROW by Crystal King & GIVEAWAYS

  1. I love pesto. I could have it in a pasta dish, a dollop over a bowl of minestrone soup, or spread in a sandwich. My husband loves the olives, all assortments.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. My absolute favorite is the most simple – fresh pasta aglio e olio/garlic and olive oil. But I think I love almost any meatless Italian dish. Yum! Happy Labor Day, Cindy, Crystal, and Thoughts on This ‘n That followers!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I love a chicken parmigiana sandwich! Does that count? And I love interesting pastas like radiatore and campanelle–they have that great “mouth feel” that chefs talk about! And I love the book’s cover, also. I’ve wondered about this title for some time, and now I’m going to think about it more!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I love baked eggplant parmigiana. It’s my favorite but I do love pretty much all Italian food. Pizza Margherita and caprese salad with fresh mozzarella are other favorites. With a glass of wine, of course!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. It’s a 3-parter for me: pappa al pomodoro with the summer’s absolute best tomatoes, ricotta gnocchi with lamb sugo, and chocolate gelato.


  6. I love lasagna!! My hubby and I met when he offered me a piece of bruschetta bread..so it holds a special place in my heart lol!! Happy Labor Day!


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