Rating: 4/5 / 5
Genres: Adult, Action, Adventure, Historical Fiction
Publication: July 2, 2013 by Delacorte Press
Number of pages: 400
Source: ARC from Edelweiss
Goodreads | Amazon | The Book Depository
Opening immediately after the assassination of Julius Caesar, here is a compulsively readable, stand-alone revenge tale about the pursuit of Caesar’s killers and the rise to power of Octavian-Caesar Augustus. From #1 New York Times bestselling author Conn Iggulden.
Caesar is dead. Though his assassins are cleared of any wrongdoing by the senate, two men refuse to let the great man’s death go unpunished. Mark Antony has long stood by Caesar’s side, and Caesar’s heir Octavian is burning for justice. Their differences are many, but both share the same goal-to make Caesar’s murderers pay the blood price for their crimes. When they at last come together, nothing-and no one-will stop them. Teeming with drama and intrigue and the brilliant battle sequences for which he is renowned, this is a thrilling return to the series long considered Conn Iggulden’s signature achievement.
Right now, this is what I’m thinking to myself:
WHY DID I NOT READ THIS SOONER?!?!
Ladies and gentlemen, I may have just finished the best historical fiction I’ve ever read. Granted, this is not my favorite genre, and to be honest, I have not read a lot about it, but WOW. This book hooked me from beginning to end, with its fast-paced action scenes, adorable characters, intriguing politics, talks of strategies and what have you… it was an A-M-A-Z-I-N-G experience. Period. No other words.
I’m a big fan of Ancient Rome, and I am especially wary of historical fiction books based off it, because it’s so easy to screw it up and it’s so hard to make it engaging. We mostly have records that don’t give a lot of details that could really tell a comprehensive story, but Conn Iggulden amazed me. He has mad writing skills, spectacularly creating a vibrant, genuine Roman atmosphere and brought characters, who I’ve only read about in history books, to life, making them not just a name, but a person. I swear to the highest heavens, it felt like my history books came to life. It was that immersive, engaging, and atmospheric. I totally felt I was in Rome, seeing the scandal of Julius Caesar’s death and assassination and the justice that was served when the Liberatores were executed with my very eyes… etc. etc.
In short, Conn Iggulden gave the stories and records of Ancient Rome justice.
There are so many to love in this book. The characters, for one, were amazing. I love how the author made the people who used to be just mere names and letters to me come to life, easily making me so connected and attached to them. The fact that these individuals are based on real people that breathed the same air and drank the same water milleniums ago just made the impact all the more amazing and personal. I loved Octavian, Maecenas, and Agrippe, and to an extent, I adored Mark Antony as well. They were fantastic characters and I’m sure during their time of living, they were extraordinary people as well. Iggulden really built them up well and made them as genuine as possible, which I really appreciate.
The politics and conspiracies were amazing to read as well. I just loved how governments worked at this particular time, before the Roman Empire and after. There were just so many crazies and so many awesome rulers, with a lot of intrigue and plots behind the scenes. This one did not disappoint in that aspect. Even though we know Julius Caesar was killed due to a plot by the other senators who believed he was becoming too powerful and influential with nothing to check or balance him, I kind of understood their viewpoint, too. Things are not black and white, as everyone’s motives were as valid as any. Octavian’s, I can understand; Brutus and Cassius and the other liberatores’, I can understand as well. I loved how the book gave me a deeper understanding in this angle, to what could have happened from what could have been felt at that time in Rome — making the overall story and context a tad bittersweet.
And the action scenes! My god, they were fantastic! One of my classes when I was still in university was about Ancient Greece and Rome, or pretty much the early European civilizations. For a few weeks, we talked about the military tactics that were used then – the legions, the formations, the signals, how they worked, how soldiers made up for lost/fallen people — and it was just awesome how Iggulden incorporated them here with precision and accuracy (I may be wrong, but it felt accurate to me!). Seriously, reading the book felt like watching a movie about the wars of Ancient Rome. It was so fun to read the action scenes, with the strategies and tactics discussed, the fighting on land and water, all those conflicts… ahhh… pure bliss, I tell you. Pure bliss.
Overall, this was fantastic. I’m really regretting I didn’t read my ARC sooner. when I found out this was a series, I had thought I need to read the first four books first, but to be honest, there’s no need for that as this can stand on its own. If you’re looking for a fantastic retelling of the wars and conflicts and conspiracies of Ancient Rome, get this one ASAP. It’s refreshing with a writing style that’s engaging and fast-paced, with a moderate amount of details done right that would instantly immerse you in its brutal world of politics and military tactics. And the characters! Don’t forget the characters!
What are you waiting for??!! GET ONE, NOW!!!
Final Verdict: 4.5 / 5
Here are some quotes I highlighted!
Fuck. I know. I mispelled “and”. But I already closed Photoshop and wasn’t able to save a PSD. WHATEVER. HAHAHAHA. >_>
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