28 February 2006

Emperor: The Gates of Rome by Conn Iggulden

Second in this series is better than the first. Again, a lot of the stuff seemed totally over the top and unbelievable, and is apparently fact.

Specifically, Julius Caesar as a young officer was captured by pirates, insisted that they ask a ransom of 50 talents instead of 20 ("I'm more important than that") and told them he would hunt them down and kill them when free. He was ransomed and left in North Africa. He then raised an army (purely by force of personality, presumably), tracked them down, slaughtered them and then put down a rebellion in Greece before the legions sent from Rome even reached the Greek army. Which is a big call to believe in a novel, but he actually did all that.

Still no excuse for the magic healer guy.

Also, there's some great battle scenes (especially those dealing with Spartacus' slave rebellion), which have a lot of detail about the way the legions fought. And they're exciting. The characters are better developed in this second novel, too.

Recommended. I've begun number three, and there's a fourth volume after that to round of the story.
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