random_alex (random_alex) wrote in historylit,

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Emperor: The Gates of Rome

So I got the second one in this series from my brother in law for Christmas, which meant I had to go and buy the first one - this one. I just finished reading it. It's a fictionalised account of Julius Caesar's life. Starts off with he and his friend Marcus growing up on a little estate... learning about how to be good Romans... he's called Gaius, and that's all, until about page 440 (it's a bit over 600 pages long); he then finally gets called Gaius Julius Caesar - I was impressed that the author (Conn Iggulden) had managed to do that, actually (Marcus' full name isn't revealed until the very last page).

It's very well-written, and extremely readable. If you are a really serious fan of Roman history and take exception to any sort of poetic licence, don't read it: he takes a great deal of liberty when dealing with the interactions between Marius and Sulla, for the sake of the story (he says; he cuts it down to just one big armed confrontation). Overall, though, I thought he did a great job - the characters are believable (and for someone who has only really heard bad things about Cornelia, she's actually ok... so far), the dialogue isn't forced, and I have the second one right here, ready to start (I think there are now four or five in the series).
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