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The Gates of Rome (Emperor)
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About the Author

Conn Iggulden is one of the most successful authors of historical fiction writing today. He is the author of Stormbird and Margaret of Anjou, the first two books in his superb series set during the Wars of the Roses, a remarkable period of British history. His previous two series, on Julius Caesar and on the Mongol Khans of Central Asia, describe the founding of the greatest empires of their day and were number-one bestsellers. Iggulden lives in Hertfordshire with his wife and children.

Reviews

Right now, ancient Rome is all the craze, and this book should fit in well. The son of a senator and his bastard brother are raised together but find themselves increasingly at odds as the empire spirals toward civil war. Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.

If the Roman Empire had taken as long to rise and fall as this novel takes to discover a main character and a plot, most of the world would still be wearing togas today. The story, such as it is, revolves around two boys: Gaius, the broody son of a wealthy senator, and Marcus, a prostitute's mischievous child who is reared as Gaius's brother and trained with him in the arts of war. Before the two boys reach majority, they are thrust into adulthood by the untimely death of Gaius's father and take up residence in Rome with Gaius's uncle Marius, a powerful consul who is vying with Sulla for control of the Republic. When Marcus is 14, he joins the Fourth Macedonian Legion to earn his fortune; Gaius remains by his uncle's side. Iggulden lingers long over boyhood pranks, trying the reader's patience; the pace picks up only halfway through the novel. Frequent fight scenes, ranging from individual combat to full scale battles, liven the mix somewhat, but the cartoon-like ability of the characters to bounce back after a few stitches weakens the effect. Though Iggulden has a solid grounding in Roman military history, anachronisms in speech and attitude ("Cabera took him outside and gave him a hiding") roll underfoot and trip up authenticity. A major twist toward the end reveals the protagonists to be two of Roman history's best-known figures, but readers with some knowledge of the period will have guessed their identities already. This is ultimately little more than a protracted introduction to a bigger story, which Iggulden will surely go on to tell. (Dec. 31) Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.

"Conn Iggulden is a grand storyteller...[he keeps] adults turning pages like enthralled kids."--USA Today

"Brilliant."--Bernard Cornwell

"Iggulden knows that history derives from 'story'. Don't miss it."--Los Angeles Times

"An absorbing portrait of ancient Roman life and history, well written and full of suspense--even for those who know the ending."--Kirkus Reviews

"What Robert Graves did for Claudius, Iggulden now does for the most famous Roman emperor of them all--Julius Caesar." --William Bernhardt, author of Criminal Intent

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