Sunday, 29 August 2010

Emperor: The Gates of Rome by Conn Iggulden

Amazon review:

'If you liked GLADIATOR, you'll love EMPEROR.' THE TIMES 'Great fun !

The great events and breathtaking brutality of the times are brought lavishly to life. Russell Crowe and Sean Bean's agents are surely already jockeying for the wide-screen roles.' GUARDIAN 'A brilliant story -- I wish I'd written it.

A novel of vivid characters, stunning action and unrelenting pace. It really is a terrific read.' BERNARD CORNWELL 'Stunning. It begins with hints of a mystery and continues as a galvanizing historical thriller. Words like "brilliant", "sumptuous" and "enchanting" jostle to be used but scarcely convey the way Iggulden brings the tale to life, or the compelling depictions of battle, treachery and everyday detail in a precarious world vividly re-created ! exhilarating.' Los Angeles Times

'The descriptions of combat in the circus, slaves in revolt, skirmishes in Greece, amputations and street fighting are all convincing.' TLS 'A rich and compelling novel that draws the reader into an extraordinary time and the life of an extraordinary man.' DAVID GEMMELL

You might be wondering why I haven't written many blog reviews lately. You may think I stopped reading. Actually, no. It's just I haven't been reading much YA lit lately.

I just went through an Ancient Rome phase. I started reading this really cool series of books by Conn Iggulden about the life of Julius Caesar and I just couldn't stop until I finished all four of them. They were really, really good.

There are a number of reasons why I loved this series. First of all, I'm fascinated by the man. I mean, it is so interesting to be able to learn about how Caesar came to be so famous. I liked reading a book that put me back in time. I could almost imagine what it would have been like to have lived in Caesar's time. As well, Iggulden managed to build a fascinating story without giving in to all the details.

I tried reading McCullough's books about Caesar, but she just made things way too complicated for me with all the characters. McCullough's books read like an encyclopedia entries. Iggulden's were written like an adventure story.

As well, Iggulden really brought the action to life. I've never written a book about ancient war before, but the way Iggulden described the fight scenes was so incredibly descriptive - it made brutal hand to hand combat sound beautiful.

Anyway, I thought it was worth writing a review just in case there were other readers who enjoy these types of books.

4.5/5 Stars

For readers who enjoy reading about Ancient Rome, I also highly recommend Philip Matyszak's Legionary: The Roman Soldier's Manual. I really enjoyed it. After reading Iggulden's book I was so curious about what life was like for the typical soldier and I found Matyszak's book to be of great interest - easy to read and full of fun facts!

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