Invitation to Dine

Plot Summary

This is a novella, available only as a digital download and an audio reading. Told in the third person, it imagines Domitian’s infamous Black Banquet, as seen by the Camillus brothers, Helena Justina’s siblings, those much-loved series characters.

Aulus and Quintus receive official invitations to dine with the Emperor, following his double triumph. Their wives and children immediately start fearing the brothers may never return from the dinner. They dread that Domitian is planning a reprisal against the Senate, a body he openly despises. Might he also want revenge on them personally: does he remember that failed plot their uncle was once involved in and how it was exposed by their brother-in-law, Falco? But this is an invitation they cannot refuse.

The dinner is supposed to honour dead soldiers. The setting turns out to be macabre, something only a warped mind could devise. Does the funereal party-planning mean they are doomed, or is the black theme a grisly joke? Even if their sardonic attitude helps Aulus and Quintus survive this stressful night, what dire fate does Domitian intend for his guests after they are sent home?…