The problem here is that the authors tried to write a modern romance in a historical setting. The characters themselves are thinly disguised modern men whose problems don’t really stem from the differences in their social statuses in the ancient Rome. Gaidres could have just as easily been blaming Caelius and his family for a road accident that took his lover from him as he could have been blaming them for the loss of his freedom. And Caelius doesn’t seem to fully comprehend his position as master of his household or what the word slave meant to men of such stature in his time. He could have been a wealthy business man who lets his employees walk all over him and make the important decisions rather being the successful master of his house he’s supposed to be. There’s a temporary change in this towards the end, but it’s too little too late.What words of respect are spoken, aren’t mirrored in action. In other words it’s all telling not showing. Whenever there’s an instance of need for the main characters to hide their true relationship, there are two careless moments when anyone could overhear or see them.The rest of the world description details, including the latin vocabulary, seem to have been lifted straight out of Spartacus: Blood and Sand, which had aired a year and half before this book was published. There’s nothing wrong in being inspired, but I wish it’d translate into better storytelling quality. Their authors’ note addresses the one historical fact I didn’t question.If those are things you can get past, then you probably won’t mind the vilifying of the wife or the fetishist approach to m/m romance either. The book isn’t quite as bad as you could expect; some sex scenes are of the fade-to-black variety, but only some. The story and the writing were solid enough, and it’s not too difficult to see why others have loved the book. For me, the era needed to play a bigger role especially in the characterisations than it did.