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Tuccia awaits trial knowing she will be executed for a crime she did not commit: losing her virginity. For other Roman women, this isn’t an offense, but for a priestess of Vesta, such a sin displeases the gods and condemns Rome to ruin.
Tuccia’s accuser is a vengeful priest who failed to seduce her. With a priest’s testimony against her, no one will believe Tuccia is innocent. Only the goddess Vesta has the power to save her life. If Vesta will allow Tuccia to perform a miracle, it will prove that she is favored by the gods. If she fails, she will be put to death.
Tuccia has distrusted Vesta ever since another Vestal Virgin was wrongly accused and executed for the same crime. If Tuccia puts her faith in Vesta for the first time and fails at the miracle, it will prove her guilt. The other vestals try to persuade her to go to trial instead, but she is tired of others deciding her fate for her. She is tired of living in fear and doubt because she doesn’t know if Vesta is there for her. Instead of waiting for the priests to judge her, she decides to prove to the people of Rome – and to herself – that she has the courage to perform miracles.
Sacred Fire is a historical fiction of 88,000 words.