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Antonina, or the Fall of Rome

2.87  ·  Rating Details ·  76 Ratings  ·  12 Reviews
Wilkie Collins (1824-1889) was an early master of mystery and suspense, writing such classics as The Moonstone, The Woman in White, and Basil. Antonina, or, The Fall of Rome was his first published novel, a colorful tale of ancient Rome. Of this work, Collins wrote: "To the fictitious characters alone is committed the task of representing the spirit of the age. The Roman ...more
Paperback, 300 pages
Published January 17th 2006 by Wildside Press (first published 1850)
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Pete Marchetto
Feb 28, 2015 Pete Marchetto rated it liked it
Not uncommon for its period, Antonina is a work of highs and lows, the lows too many and too irritating for me to recommend it.

Collins is inclined to waffle. This comes out at the beginning in which he tells us that he has no intention of dwelling upon the history and environment of the falling Rome around which the work is set beyond what his story requires. However, while he rambled on about not doing it, he may as well have done it. It would have been more colourful. These rambling asides fee
Greg Deane
Jun 13, 2013 Greg Deane rated it really liked it
‘Antonina’, set during Alaric’s siege of Rome in 410 includes a good deal of material from the ancient historian Zosimus, and from Gibbon’s 'Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire ' including his disapproval of paganism, represented in the vain ambitions of Ulpius, the embittered priest of Serapis, who still has ambitions to united the fading empire under the god that the Ptolemies had invented 700 years before to unite the Greeks and Egyptians in their new realm, inherited from Alexander. Ulpius ...more
Aug 26, 2010 Lisa rated it it was ok
I love Wilkie Collins, but wow this was rather a slog to get through. There's a thread of a good plot and some good Wilkie drama scattered throughout, but overall, a struggle of a read. Possibly I'm biased as it's set in Roman times, which isn't my setting of choice.
A. C.
Oct 26, 2016 A. C. rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Remarkable story concealed within florid overwriting.

This is a remarkable novel and it amazes me no film adaptation was made of it. We're it not for the unpardonable verbosity that Wilkie indulges in telling this dramatic tale, I would have given it 5 stars. It is his strangest work, both the worst and in some ways the best.
Sep 16, 2013 Em rated it liked it
I wish I could be more complimentary about this Early Collins. Some of the characteristics of his later masterpieces (The Woman in White and The Moonstone) are there, e.g. the varying points of view, the vivid use of descriptions of light or sound as an important element in drama, and an unabashed love of the Gothic.

But Goth of Gothic, this is overwrought stuff, feebly plotted, slow-paced with much less of the three dimensional richness of his later characters or well-conceived plots. Pretty muc
Nov 15, 2012 Paul rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
A hard book to read and took much longer than I am used to to finish a book.

It wasn't a terrible book and considering it was his debut it was a great attempt. That being said I found it very drawn out and at times tedious to read. Collins is great at setting a scene and uses wonderfully discriptive narrative, but at times simply wasn't necessary.

The thing I found most disappointing and ironic is that the lead character (Antonina, of course) was probably the weakest character in the book. I could
Mar 14, 2014 Gail rated it liked it
This was Wilkie Collins first novel. The setting is early 5th century Rome. The Goths, led by Alaric, are at the gates and have blockaded the city. Our heroine Antonina, a very young Roman maiden, flees her father and an amorous patrician neighbor, into the arms of a young, handsome, gentle, sympathetic Goth. I appreciated the conflicts: robust Goths vs degenerate Romans, old Pagan religion vs up-and-coming Christianity, youth and tolerance vs age and rigidity. It was quite a good read, though ...more
alessandra falca
Wilkie Collins è un maestro del giallo e del mistero vittoriano. Ma questo suo primo libro del 1850 è un romanzo storico, ambientato nell'antica Roma e precisamente intorno al 410, durante il primo assedio di Roma da parte dei Goti. Io lo preferisco vittoriano ma ci sono dei capitoli in questo libro memorabili. Primo tra tutti il capitolo 22: Il banchetto della fame. Solo per questo Wilkie Collins va letto. Un libro cupo, gotico (e non solo nel senso dei Goti)e per certi versi molto ...more
Jul 06, 2016 Lucy rated it liked it
Oh, Wilkie, never use one word where you can use twenty. And don't forget to schedule one or two amazing co-incidences to round off your plot. Oh, and a terrible storm is always good for a few more pages....
How unfair of me, when actually I rather enjoyed this Gothic (literally) hokum. The title character is a total pain, but she's only there really to contrast to the baddies: some fine villains here. Probably only one for Collins completists, though.
Read this only if you're a die-hard Wilkie Collins fan. It was Collins' first novel (or close to it) and it shows. It has all the excesses of the ponderous historical fiction/romances of the period. The prose is dense and wordy, and the characters are totally swamped by it. Even for a short book, it was a terribly long read. Not recommended, unless you want to see just how much Collins improved!
Ray Melville
Nov 18, 2015 Ray Melville rated it liked it
Fair enough read but a bit slow and 'flowery'. Gets diverted a bit at times and could do with a modern editing.
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A close friend of Charles Dickens' from their meeting in March 1851 until Dickens' death in June 1870, William "Wilkie" Collins was one of the best known, best loved, and, for a time, best paid of Victorian fiction writers. But after his death, his reputation declined as Dickens' bloomed. Now, Collins is being given more critical and popular attention than he has received for fifty years. Most of ...more
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