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The Three Fates

Beloved Emperor Trajan is dead. His brutal successor Hadrian draws ever nearer to Rome. And three desperate souls try to forge new paths in a world turned upside down . . .

THE EMPEROR’S NEMESIS. Battered warrior Vix has always been Hadrian’s bitter enemy, and he vows that will never change, even when he is made Praetorian Guard and Imperial watchdog. But with his family’s lives on the line, Vix faces a bitter choice: kill a friend, or serve a foe?

THE EMPEROR’S RIVAL. Mild, scholarly Titus might once have been favored as Imperial heir, but he never wanted the throne. All he desires is peace in the arms of his new bride—but the jealous Hadrian has other ideas. A horror of bloodshed and violence interrupts Titus’s wedding night, and the man of peace finds a choice at sword-point: honor and death, or betrayal and a cell?

THE EMPEROR’S WIFE. Elegant, elusive Sabina is desperate to escape the bleak future that awaits her as Hadrian’s Empress, and even more desperate to conceal the secret growing in her own body. But when she begs a famous seer for a glimpse into her future, she receives an astonishing vision of the Eternal City under Hadrian’s rule, and the new Empress must choose: her own freedom, or the glory of Rome?

Three former friends find new futures in blood, omen, and prophecy. Three prequel vignettes to Kate Quinn’s long-awaited "Lady of the Eternal City."

139 pages, Kindle Edition

First published February 22, 2015

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About the author

Kate Quinn

32 books22.3k followers
--I use Goodreads to track and rate my current reading. Most of my reads are 4 stars, meaning I enjoyed it hugely and would absolutely recommend. 5 stars is blew-my-socks-off; reserved for rare reads. 3 stars is "enjoyed it, but something fell a bit short." I very rarely rate lower because I DNF books I'm not enjoying, and don't rate books I don't finish.--

Kate Quinn is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of historical fiction. A native of southern California, she attended Boston University where she earned a Bachelor’s and Master’s degree in Classical Voice. She has written four novels in the Empress of Rome Saga, and two books in the Italian Renaissance, before turning to the 20th century with “The Alice Network”, “The Huntress,” “The Rose Code,” and "The Diamond Eye." All have been translated into multiple languages. Kate and her husband now live in San Diego with three rescue dogs.

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5 stars
288 (36%)
4 stars
311 (39%)
3 stars
163 (20%)
2 stars
19 (2%)
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14 (1%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 70 reviews
Profile Image for S.J.A. Turney.
Author 66 books403 followers
October 15, 2015
Kate is an author of both ancient and Renaissance novels, though to me (and to many) she is best known for her tales of Rome’s more powerful women during the height of the empire. I recently read and reviewed ‘Lady of the Eternal City’, her latest. I was perusing potential things to add to my kindle when I came across The Three Fates. Instant download. The Three Fates, I will say from the off, is definitely not a standalone work. As Kate mentions in her notes, this is, in fact, the original beginning of that aforementioned novel, which was later cut and then made it into the world as a free novella by way of introduction. But then, it’s free, so it doesn’t matter to the reader if it is more of a prologue than a tale in itself.

The Three Fates is more of an introduction to the characters (or a reintroduction if you have read Empress of the Seven Hills). It doesn’t have a nicely-defined end, but it does provide a very good introduction to the protagonists and antagonists of ‘Lady’. As a taster it does the job impeccably. It introduces you in a short read to Kate’s writing, which is heady and absorbing and brings the perils and glories of the Hadrianic court into glorious light. Download it for free, read it and see whether you want to go on. I would recommend doing so, having read ‘Lady’, but with this novella you can make up your own mind with no pressure.
Profile Image for Angie.
1,091 reviews73 followers
February 27, 2015
I know, I know. Why in the world did I give 5 stars on a very short story consisting essentially of 3 "vignettes" length of each about a chapter? Because as far as this kind of thing goes, this was GReAT! If the job of this was to get me pumped up & excited about reading Lady of the Eternal City (coming out next week!) then I say Job Well Done! I was instantly swept away back to the Roman world of Sabina, Vix, & Hadrian. I can't wait to start the novel next week. My only complaint is that it was too short!

I feel like this one hasn't been publicized enough. I only found it searching for something else on Amazon last night. I'm so glad i found it though!
Profile Image for Brenda.
4,023 reviews2,623 followers
May 7, 2016
When Vix was made Praetorian Guard after the death of Emperor Trajan by the new Emperor Hadrian, the difference in the two men was stark. Trajan had been loved by all – Hadrian was hated and for good reason. Hadrian had set a task for Vix – a task that he didn’t want; one that threatened all he held dear. The lives of his best friend Titus as well as Vix’s wife and children were on the line.

As Emperor Hadrian made his journey back to Rome, Vix pondered his future. But all he could see was bloodshed and violence; the loss of loved ones. What was he to do in the midst of the hatred and jealousy of his evil Emperor?

The Three Fates by Kate Quinn is a short prequel to Lady of the Eternal City. I will admit to not having read this author before – my quest was the letter Q for a challenge. I thoroughly enjoyed this short historical fiction story into a time when violence meant everything and friendship and family meant nothing. I will be looking at more by this author. Recommended.
Profile Image for Audrey.
1,271 reviews79 followers
April 28, 2021
3 stars because it had a few scenes (it's a novella) but no completed story--the conflict was not solved, for example, we're still left with unanswered questions, etc. which will be answered in Book 4.

"Why does a man make friends, fall in love, sire children? They’re just hostages to the three Fates, those heartless bitches who force you down the path to evil all in the name of love." -Vix

Vix has just been appointed Praetorian Guard to the new Emperor Hadrian, his enemy. Hadrian is having him execute 5 important men, those that the former emperor nominated to succeed him. However, no one knows that Trajan's final wishes were for one of those 5 to succeed him because of his horrid wife's plotting to make Hadrian emperor. Among these 5 men is Vix's best friend and the honorable, I-just-want-to-live-an-ordinary-life Titus.

I was really hoping Vix was going to find a way to get out of killing Titus. I still don't see why Vix couldn't run away with his family--surely, Hadrian would be too busy to continue pursuing him. And have Titus run away too with his new wife Faustina.

However, it seems like Titus will be killed in the next book, which is such a shame & a waste, as since no one knows of that list, Titus is no threat to Hadrian to be honest!!!

There's also a scene where Sabina, now Empress of Rome, meets with the astrologer Nessus, who gives her ambiguous advice & advises her to do something about her baby, the baby she accidentally conceived with Vix.

Note: This book is ONLY for those who have read the previous book, book 3. Otherwise, there's no point in reading this as there's no completed story & you'll be missing the context. I don't think it's required to read this book to understand the series, but it definitely helps and it's short so why not.

Glad this was free on Kindle! Onwards!
June 7, 2020
Прочетох първите три книги от поредицата преди доста време и оттогава съм влюбена в Кейт Куин.За съжаление нищо нейно преведено, не ми е попадало оттогава.Тази кратка история,която е встъпление всъщност към четвъртата книга, я намерих на английски и се престраших само ,защото е кратка :) И любовта се върна отново.Препоръчвам книгите й на всички.
Profile Image for Erin.
2,875 reviews488 followers
February 26, 2015
I've been a big fan of Kate Quinn's since I read Mistress of Rome (The Empress of Rome, #1) by Kate Quinn a few years ago. KQ really knows how to bring Ancient Rome alive on the pages and it never takes too long before I'm completely immersed. " The Three Fates" is no exception and it makes me greedy to get my hands on Lady of the Eternal City (The Empress of Rome, #4) by Kate Quinn which will be released in bookstores very soon.

All readers should be warned that this is NOT A FULL-FLEDGED NOVEL. It is instead three separate "vignettes" that links its predecessor Empress of the Seven Hills (The Empress of Rome, #3) by Kate Quinn to the aforementioned sequel that is coming out in a few weeks. However, it serves as a way to bring readers back into KQ's world and re-introduces the trials and tribulations of some of our favorite characters.

In "The Emperor's Nemesis: Sacrfice" Roman warrior Vix is faced with the decision of whether or not he should follow with Emperor Hadrian, a man he has always considered his enemy. But how can he subject his innocent family with the wrath of the Emperor if he doesn't comply?

In "The Emperor's Rival" Omen" Titus is supposed to be enjoying his wedding night but a visit from an old friend isn't exactly the type of present he was expecting. Honestly, this was my favorite because KQ really builds up tension here. I even think I scared myself( it does happen!).

In "The Emperor's Wife: Prophecy" we are re-introduced to Sabina who is trying to keep her web of lies from spinning of control. I am really anxious to see how all this is going to play out. I am not altogether sure of Sabina at the best of times but am intrigued to see how she handles Hadrian.
Profile Image for Colleen Turner.
436 reviews99 followers
March 30, 2015
My first introduction to Kate Quinn's writing was Empress of the Seven Hills, the third book in her Empress of Rome series, and since then I have gobbled up both of her novels in her Borgias series, The Serpent and the Pearl and The Lion and the Rose. Ms. Quinn has an exceptional ability to create these incredibly endearing yet flawed characters that you just can't help but love. Now with her fourth book in The Empress of Rome series, Lady of the Eternal City, coming out she has gifted her readers with a vignette of stories that fill the reader in on what three of the main characters have been up to in the year long break between the action in Empress of the Seven Hills and this newest installment. It being a few years since I read Empress of the Seven Hills I was all for getting caught up with Vix, Titus and Sabina and all I can say is, don't start reading The Three Fates without having Lady of the Eternal City ready at hand because you won't want to wait to continue the story!

The Three Fates is only 48 pages long but it packs a powerful punch in that short duration. As backstory, beloved Emperor Trajan is dead and Hadrian, a man without many friends, has become Emperor. He hasn't wasted any time asserting his command and ensuring his enemies are taken care of in the hopes that he won't face any resistance when he rides into Rome as Emperor. Vix, our battle-hardened ex-gladiator with a heart, finds himself in an impossible position: either he can become Hadrian's attack dog and do his bidding in eliminating those that Hadrian sees as his enemy, including Vix's best friend, Titus, or he can refuse the Emperor and face his wrath. While normally our loyal and proud Vix would spit in Hadrian's face before doing what he says, the possibility of his family being harmed if he refuses Hadrian looms large over his decision. He is left with an impossible choice, one he continues to try and find a way out of.

Meanwhile, studious and humble Titus is enraptured by his new bride, Faustina, sister of Titus's friend and new Empress, Sabina. As they usher the last of their celebratory guests out of their home and prepare to retire to their marriage bed, Vix shows up and informs Titus he must come with him as a prisoner of Hadrian's. Titus, a man who never wanted to be Emperor but who's blood alone makes him eligible, must decide if he should give in to what seems an inevitable death at the hands of his best friend or refuse to go down without a fight.

While all of this is going on, wily, adventurous Sabina finds herself unexpectedly, and unhappily, married to a man who has not only become Emperor but a cold and blood thirsty madman. In the hopes of finding a way out of this marriage she enlists the advise of a well known soothsayer. But what he has to tell her is far from what she wants to hear: Hadrian will never divorce her or allow her to leave him and she alone can influence him to determine if he will be a tyrannical or good Emperor. Her worse nightmare - living a long life next to a man she has come to hate - seems inevitable. On top of all of that, the baby growing within her, which isn't Hadrian's, will have to remain hidden because if it doesn't Hadrian will have it killed. What is Sabina to do?

Now doesn't that just whet your appetite? I'm off to begin reading Lady of the Eternal City right now and will have my review post on March 23rd, so be sure to come back then to see what I thought. I am jittery with anticipation....don't you just love when a book does that to you? If you have read any of the other books in this series or are as big a fan of Kate Quinn as I am this is a definite must read!
Profile Image for Linda.
236 reviews6 followers
March 21, 2015
Kate Quinn is on my "always buy and read" list. It's a really short list - the only other two authors on it are Terry Pratchett and Jane Austen. I think that says enough of how highly I rate Ms Quinn's writing.

Buuuuuut of course I want to say more. :p I loved reading this. It's not a book as such, more of a novella or a short story collection to bridge the gap between Empress of the Seven Hills and Lady of the Eternal City. You'll need to have read at least Empress to know who these people are and what they are doing. But I really liked this extra glimpse. I understand that Lady starts a full year after Empress and, considering what is going to happen in that year, I liked seeing a little more of *how* things happened.

What I enjoy most about Ms Quinn's writing is the very clear, distinct voice she gives her characters. There is just no mistaking Vix's chapters for Sabina's or Titus's, the style of narrating is just entirely... Vix. And likewise for Sabina and Titus (I also felt this very strongly with the Borgia books; slightly less so for the other Roman Empire books for some reason). I don't know if I would like Vix or Sabina if I knew them in real life - I don't even know if I like Sabina on paper. But there's no denying that they have very strong, compelling voices that absolutely make sense in the context of the story they're telling.
I left Titus out of that comparison as I absolutely adore Titus and was glad I've already been spoiled on his ending (at the Forum Romanum in Rome no less, THAT was quite a fun surprise to encounter in real life!) so I'll always enjoy reading about him. :p

As for the three stories...
Vix: god, he really is between a rock and a hard place, isn't he? This got me so tense, I was so hoping for a good ending. But I guess, in the end, there was little hope for it...

Titus: whom I adore, as I mentioned. :p Started out cute, ended far less so. I love his relationship with his wife, and his quiet strength in the face of (possible) death. And his quoting. Always his quoting.

Sabina: not my favorite, as I said. Still, I'm curious as to how she's going to get herself out of this situation. And I loved the return of Nessus and the allusion to his plotline in Mistress of Rome. :D

The first chapter of Lady of the Eternal City which ended this book has only whet my appetite for more..!
Profile Image for Rebecca.
77 reviews13 followers
January 7, 2016
I don't actually know why I've rated it 4 stars instead of 5. Maybe because there wasn't enough story to make it completely engrossing as the rest of Kate's novels are. Yes, it's because I needed more. And I'm so excited to say that as a diehard Kate Quinn fan, I'm finally letting myself read the final book in the Ancient Rome series.

To prepare myself for the intense ride that always comes with one of her novels, I read this delicious treat about Vix, Titus and Sabina. Yes, it was delightful and left me wanting more.

So now, on to her final novel. Omg. I. Am. Going. To. Sh*t. Myself. So. Excite[sic]!
Profile Image for Jennifer.
145 reviews17 followers
March 4, 2015
This was a wonderful little snippet of a story, three chapters in all, that help to bridge the gap between Kate Quinn's "Empress of the Seven Hills" and her newest release, "Lady of the Eternal City". It's been three years since I read the former and so I really appreciated the opportunity to be able to refresh my mind on the story and the characters by reading this. These were essentially supposed to be three chapters from the "Lady of the Eternal City" novel itself but Ms. Quinn explains that she decided to begin the novel a year later, leaving a one year gap between novels. These three chapters had to be cut and yet here they are, sliding nicely into place.
Profile Image for Priscilla.
205 reviews12 followers
February 27, 2015
I am so thankful that Kate Quinn come out with this little short! I am so excited for her next book! She is absolutely one of my favorite authors to read, she makes her characters seem real and I find myself easily rooting for them and hoping for good things to happen to some and others to die. I love Kate Quinn that is all I can really say. Except that every historical fiction fan should read her books!
Profile Image for Reeda Booke.
410 reviews21 followers
March 7, 2015
A nice story that bridges the gap between "Empress of the Seven Hills" to "Lady of the Eternal City". Even though I re-read the former, it was a great refresher into some of the most prominent characters from the last book as they find themselves wondering how their lives will change now that Hadrian has become emperor.
Profile Image for Kara.
Author 24 books72 followers
January 18, 2016

Three short vignettes that cover a few events between books 3 and 4 of the Empress of Rome series. Don’t read unless you have read books 1-3.

Nice to Nessus again - good for him for lasting longer than most of the characters!
Profile Image for Erica.
30 reviews55 followers
May 3, 2015
This is the second short story I've read by Kate Quinn and I'm sold. I've just ordered "Mistress of Rome" on my kindle.
Profile Image for Darcy.
12.2k reviews419 followers
April 11, 2015
This short gives up glimpses of the past characters and build a bridge to the new book. I hope that all of them make it through and happy, that they can overcome. A tall order I know.
Profile Image for Faye.
417 reviews45 followers
November 25, 2018
Read: November 2015
Rating: 4/5 stars

It has been almost three years since I finished Kate Quinn's Empress of Rome trilogy and I almost didn't pick this novella up as I didn't think I would remember enough about the characters and the storyline for it to be an engaging read. I'm glad I did though as everything came back to me easily while I was reading.

The novella is really split into three separate stories focusing on a different character from the previous trilogy and how everyone is trying to cope under the rule of a new emperor - Hadrian.

It was an entertaining read and I really enjoyed each story, though Titus's was my favourite. It was easy to fall back into the world Quinn has created. This novella is a prequel to a new novel in the Empress of Rome series and Quinn has set up a few story lines that hopefully will continue in Lady of the Eternal City;

I wouldn't recommend starting the series with this novella as it does depend on a certain amount of knowledge of the characters. The original trilogy is excellent so I would recommend starting with Mistress of Rome and reading the entire series.
Profile Image for Nikki.
1,728 reviews66 followers
March 8, 2015
It has been quite some time since I have read any of the Empress of Rome series books, however, this short story prequel to book four certainly brought me quickly back. I was immediately reminded of why I enjoy Quinn's writing and characters (well, enjoy would not be the correct word for some of them). Vix's circumstances were well-drawn and I cannot help but hope for a good outcome in book four, though I suspect there will not be good news. I do recommend this to those who enjoy the series, especially as it has been so long since a book has been published. I really look forward to Lady of the Eternal City now.
Profile Image for Jamie.
3 reviews
July 5, 2015
I know this review is about a week later than when I read the three vignettes, but I really enjoyed them. It gives a little more insight into Vix, Sabina and Titus's lives between Empress of the Seven Hills and Lady of the Eternal City. Although I read Lady of the Eternal City before I read this, and picked up on certain elements that are brought to light in The Three Fates, I was still intrigued by Vix's dilemma and Titus' wedding day. As always, well done!
Profile Image for Kazza.
106 reviews16 followers
May 10, 2015
I don't think it's fair for me to rate a short story that is so short it's stretching the limits on what is counted as a short story, but definitely read this if you're invested in the series and in Vix, Sabina and Titus. And even if you're not, if you're reading this series, why not just read it? It's free, and honestly just takes like 15 minutes to read.
Profile Image for Morgan (The Bookish Beagle).
723 reviews160 followers
August 2, 2016
3 short vignettes and oh how I missed these characters. I don't think I realized how much until I read this. I was immediately swept back into their Rome, their troubles and emotions. I really must read Lady of the Eternal City soon but I'm so worried for everyone! Kate Quinn is such a wonderful descriptive writer. I love her words and her historical visions.
Profile Image for Monica Hills.
816 reviews18 followers
March 8, 2015
This was an excellent novella!! I am super excited to read Lady of the Eternal City after reading these three short stories. Kate Quinn has the true gift of writing because she can suck me into a story even if it is only a few short pages.
Profile Image for Charlotte.
32 reviews
August 2, 2019
'The Three Fates' by Kate Quinn (3.5/4). I love the Empress of Rome series and raced through this little collection of three prequel stories taking place in between 'Empress of the Seven Hills' and the hotly anticipated 'Lady of the Eternal City'. Excellent but just made me want LotEC all the more!
945 reviews3 followers
March 28, 2015
What a great little teaser. I appreciate that Quinn decided to start Lady of the Eternal City later, but didn't want readers to miss out on these moments. It is the start to another great Quinn book.
Displaying 1 - 30 of 70 reviews

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