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Welcome to The Wolf Den

The eruption of Mount Vesuvius in 79AD shocked the ancient world. The volcano killed thousands of people, even as it preserved their towns under layers of ash. It is how Pompeii's Lupanar still exists today, the only surviving brothel from the Roman era. And in the graffiti and paintings on its walls remain traces of the women who once worked there. This is a reimagining of their lives, struggles and ambitions...

Welcome to the Wolf Den

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The Wolf Den

"A TRIUMPH" The Times


"GRIPPING" The Independent

"MESMERISING" Red Magazine


Sold by her mother. Enslaved in Pompeii's brothel. Determined to survive. Her name is Amara. Welcome to the Wolf Den.

Amara was once a beloved daughter, until her father's death plunged her family into penury. Now she is a slave in Pompeii's infamous brothel, owned by a man she despises. Sharp, clever and resourceful, Amara is forced to hide her talents. For now her only value lies in the desire she can stir in others.

But Amara's spirit is far from broken. By day, she walks the streets with the other women, finding comfort in the laughter and dreams they share. For the streets of Pompeii are alive with opportunity. Out here, even the lowest slave can secure a reversal in fortune. Amara has learnt that everything in this city has its price. But how much is her freedom going to cost her?

Set in Pompeii's Lupanar, The Wolf Den reimagines the lives of women who have long been overlooked.

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The Wolf Den in the US

The Wolf Den series is now available to buy in North America!

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Exclusive signed editions

Order a limited edition

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Waterstones edition (hard back)

Exclusive, signed Waterstones edition. Includes extra non-fiction content on the Lupanar of Pompeii and the real women who worked there.


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Goldsboro Books

Limited first edition of 250 copies. Signed and with sprayed edges.


The House with the Golden Door

Book 2 in The Wolf Den trilogy


The House with the Golden Door

The Sunday Times Top Ten Bestseller

The life of a courtesan in Pompeii is glittering, yet precarious...

Amara has escaped her life as a slave in the town's most notorious brothel, but now her existence depends on the affections of her patron: a man she might not know as well as she once thought.

At night she dreams of the wolf den, still haunted by her past. Amara longs for the women she was forced to leave behind and worse, finds herself pursued by the man who once owned her. In order to be free, she will need to be as ruthless as he is.

Amara knows her existence in Pompeii is subject to Venus, the goddess of love. Yet finding love may prove to be the most dangerous act of all.

We return to Pompeii for the second instalment in Elodie Harper's Wolf Den Trilogy, set in the town's lupanar and reimagining the lives of women long overlooked.

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Exclusive editions

Pre-order a limited edition

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Goldsboro Edition


A limited, signed edition of 350 copies, with midnight blue sprayed edges.


Waterstones Edition


A signed, limited edition with exclusive extra content.

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About Elodie Harper

Elodie Harper is a journalist and prize-winning short story writer. Her story 'Wild Swimming' won the 2016 Bazaar of Bad Dreams short story competition, which was judged by Stephen King.

She is currently a reporter at ITV News Anglia, and before that worked as a producer for Channel 4 News. Her job as a journalist has seen her join one of the most secretive wings of the Church of Scientology and cover the far right hip hop scene in Berlin, as well as crime reporting in Norfolk where her first two novels were set – The Binding Song and The Death Knock.

Elodie studied Latin poetry both in the original and in translation as part of her English Literature degree at Oxford, instilling a lifelong interest in the ancient world. The Wolf Den is the first in a trilogy of novels about the lives of women in ancient Pompeii.

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The Wolf Den is Elodie's historical fiction debut, published by Head of Zeus. Previously, Elodie published two crime novels with Hodder & Stoughton, based in Norfolk where she works as a TV News reporter.

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The Binding Song

Welcome to HMP Halvergate.
If you're lucky, you'll get to leave.

Dr Janet Palmer was glad to take a new job as lead psychologist at a remote Norfolk prison. She may live to regret it

A string of inmates have committed suicide, leaving no reasons why, and her predecessor has disappeared - along with his notes. The staff are hostile, the threat of violence is ever present, and there are rumours of an eyeless woman stalking the corridors, punishing the inmates for their sins. Janet is determined to find out what is really going on. But the longer she stays and the deeper she digs, the more uncertain she feels. Halvergate is haunted by something. But it may be a terror worse than ghosts....

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The House with the Golden Door

‘The Wolf Den, the hard-hitting story of a brothel in Pompeii, is one of my standout novels of the past few years … The House with the Golden Door is as vivid, unsentimental and compelling’ - The Times

'The Wolf Den was one of last year’s most vivid and transporting books... Its gripping sequel ... depict(s) its protagonist Amara’s new and luxurious life as a courtesan... Harper’s recreation of this ancient world continues to thrill.' - The Observer

'Meticulously researched, it's another brilliant look at the inhabitants of this fascinating city' - Woman and Home

'Beautiful, moving, captivating... A brilliant sequel to The Wolf Den' - Jennifer Saintauthor of Ariadne and Elektra

'Gripping, and richly imagined, this is spellbinding storytelling' - Louise O'Neill, author of Idol

The Wolf Den

BEST BOOKS of 2021 - The Times

"Harper has that rare knack of making the reader believe she was there, stylus in hand, chronicling what she witnessed. Vivid, wise and unflinching, this is a triumph."

BEST BOOKS of 2021 - Woman and Home

'A compelling story of survival, friendship and courage. Amara and her fellow she-wolves are vividly drawn in a fascinating depiction of women at the time. Utterly spellbinding.'

"A one-of-a-kind historical novel ... It is a mesmerising, richly detailed tale of sisterhood and courage that fans of Circe will love." - Red Magazine

"Elodie Harper's vibrant and thrilling story is steeped in historical detail while remaining contemporary in its concerns." The Observer

"A gripping historical story" - The Independent

'I loved this stunning, gripping read. A heart-wrenching portrayal of female solidarity in male-dominated Pompeii. Beautiful, brutal & compelling' - Caroline Lea, author of The Glass Woman

'An utterly gripping story. It humanises the men and women who had their humanity taken away from them, and helps to remind us that the brothels of Pompeii were far more than seedy tourist attractions' - Daisy Dunn, author of In the Shadow of Vesuvius 

'Hope and humour runs through this powerful, moving story – I loved it!' - Jennifer Saint, author of Ariadne

'Harper’s style is exhilaratingly direct, with images lingering long in the mind’s eye. You smell the oil lamps and temple incense, taste sticky figs, feel physical blows, and the dialogue packs a powerful punch too. It’s a vivacious piece of work, and all underpinned by a woman’s longing for freedom'

'Set in the seedy yet complex milieu of Pompeii's brothels, Harper's masterful first historical novel follows Amara and her fellow 'she-wolves' through a city where opportunity is rife for even the lowest born slave.' Waterstones

'What a book! Utterly compelling, unflinching in describing Amara’s life as a slave-prostitute in Pompeii and so incredibly transporting. Best book I read in ages' Sophie van Llewyn, author of Bottled Goods

'Rich with sly humor, wisdom, and sensory detail, and with an excellent plot that kept me turning the pages late into the night, The Wolf Den breathes life into the she-wolves, women working in ancient Pompeii's brothels whose place in history has traditionally been at the bottom of the rung, and gives them the humanity they deserve. If Circe by Madeline Miller met On Black Sisters Street by Chika Unigwe, the result would be Elodie Harper’s stunning historical debut' Buki Papillon, author of An Ordinary Wonder

The Binding Song

'A wonderful new arrival in the 'Norfolk Noir' genre, this deliciously gripping novel casts the familiar setting of Norwich and its surroundings in a grim and haunting new light.' - Sarah Perry, author of The Essex Serpent

'A splendidly unsettling debut - a chilling mystery to be read with the lights on and your back to the wall.' - John Connolly, author of the Charlie Parker series

'Satisfying and thought-provoking in equal measure, and it stays in the mind long after the final page is turned. Harper, as Mr King so astutely realised, is definitely one to watch.' - i Paper

The Death Knock

'Chilling, intelligent, and highly addictive. Superb.' - Will Dean, author of The Last Thing to Burn

'Haunting and wonderfully written.' Woman

'The author's journalistic experience adds authenticity to a gruesome chiller with a killer so creepy you'll be double locking your door.' Sunday Mirror

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