Saturday, 4 February 2012

Emperor the Gates of Rome, Conn Iggulden

Publishes: HarperCollins

Pages: 591 (Paperback 2003)

Main Characters:
Gaius, Marcus,

The Gates of Rome is the first book in Conn Iggulden’s epic Emperor Series. Set in the dying days of the Roman Republic, Gates of Rome follows the childhood and early political life of Gaius (Julius Caesar) and Marcus (Brutus). After the death of Gaius’ father, it follows the boys from their childhood farm to the dangers of Rome and the dangers of Roman Politians, where they come under the protection of Marius, Gaius’ uncle.
From here the boys take two different paths. Gaius follows his uncle into politics as they set themselves up to be the rulers of Rome, defending the city from the imminent attack of Marius’ greatest rival Cornelius Sulla. Meanwhile, Marcus seeks his own fortunes in the Roman Army. Been a son of a prostitute, Marcus’ prospects are very limited. He joins the Fourth Macedonian regiment in Greece and finds he has a natural ability to lead men. Along with this, he is also a great swordsman and these two factors help for his quick advancement in the Roman Army.
This was a great book. I think it is the first time I have ever read a book without knowing who or what the story was about. I obviously knew it was set in Rome, but I had no idea the story was about Julius Caesar! This is because the character of Caesar is known by his childhood name of Gaius until near the very end of the book, and the same is said for the character Marcus, as you don’t find out he is Brutus until the last page! All in all this made the book very interesting to read as I didn’t know what was going to happen.
The book is really well written. To write about a time period where not many sources still exist is hard for any historian. But to bring it to life like Iggulden does is unbelievable, using his discretion in places such as Gaius’ childhood where no information remains to paint a picture of an average child’s life in a minor aristocratic family in Rome.
This was a very good book filled with action, murder, conspiracy and betrayal (just the average day for a Roman politician!). I would suggest this book to anyone who has read the Marco and Cato series by Simon Scarrow or for anyone who is into Roman imperial history or Julius Caesar.

For author's offical website click here

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