Sunday, March 04, 2007

BOOK REVIEW - Emperor: The Gods of War

Emperor: The Gods of War
Conn Iggulden
HarperCollins, 2006
517 pages

I am going to let you in on a little secret. When I blow off a day of work bets are I am going to spend that day reading. That is certainly what happened this past Monday when I managed to plow through the 517 pages of the final book in Conn Iggulden’s excellent Emperor series. I did not experience the same issues starting this book which I encountered with the third book in the series, Emperor: The Field of Swords which I discuss here. I attribute the problems I had getting into the third book entirely to the amount of time I took between completing the second and beginning the third as Iggulden is one of those writers I find compulsively readable.

This book begins with Pompey reading the Senate’s declaration which makes Caesar an outlaw and finally ends with Caesar’s death at the hands of Brutus and his co-conspirators, ironically in a theatre bearing Pompey’s name. Between those two events Iggulden shows Caesar’s ascension to the pinnacle of power in Rome, his improbable victories against Pompey’s forces in Greece culminating with his victory on the fields at Pharsalus. Even his first encounter and subsequent affair with the legendary beauty Cleopatra are encapsulated in these 517 pages.

To be completely honest I am not sure what I can say about this book that I have not already said about Iggulden’s other works. If you enjoy Roman history at all, or just historical fiction in general, then I cannot recommend this series enough as a very interesting take on Caesar and his times. Perhaps the greatest recommendation I can give this book is to point out that out of the books I have read so far this year two of them have been by Conn Iggulden and I started reading his Wolf of the Plains as soon as I put this book down. (And I am almost done with this book as well.)

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