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The Gates of Rome (Emperor #1)

4.15  ·  Rating Details  ·  14,397 Ratings  ·  640 Reviews
Rarely, if ever, does a new writer dazzle us with such a vivid imagination and storytelling, flawlessly capturing the essence of a land, a people, a legend. Conn Iggulden is just such a writer, bringing to vivid life one of the most fascinating eras in human history. In a true masterpiece of historical fiction, Iggulden takes us on a breathtaking journey through ancient Ro ...more
ebook, 319 pages
Published January 1st 2003 by Delacorte Press (first published November 26th 2002)
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Caldog I haven't read this book but I have read the Conqueror series by Conn Iggulden, which is about Ghengis Khan. His writing style doesn't put too much…moreI haven't read this book but I have read the Conqueror series by Conn Iggulden, which is about Ghengis Khan. His writing style doesn't put too much emphasis on the violence itself, more on the results of the violence. There's a few sex scenes but the most detail it goes into is roughly "She undid her deel (coat) and it slipped from her body". So I honestly think this should be fine, unless The Emperor series is written differently. (less)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Will M.
I've been amazed by quite a few historical fiction already, but none of this specific genre. Rome is one of my favorite places ever since I was young. I aced my third year in high school where we had Greek, Roman, and Egyptian History. Those 3 are my main interest, kindly include Russian History but I haven't read anything about that though.

I know that this novel is high on the inaccuracy, but the author made a note in the end anyway. He said that he intentionally had to do the inaccuracy to ma
...more
David
Jun 19, 2011 David rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
William Bernhardt, author of Nemesis, is quoted on The Gates of Rome as saying "what Robert Graves did for Claudius, Conn Iggulden now does for...Julies Caesar." This would be true of Robert Graves was a thriller writing moron willing to ignore factual history at a moment's notice for mere literary convenience.

In his historical note afterward, Iggulden does mention that most of Julius Caesar's childhood is a mystery to historians. Iggulden could be forgiven for taking his liberties in with this
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Rick
May 25, 2008 Rick rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Terri
It has been a bloody long time since I last had a review to do that felt this easy to write. This book was so cut and dry for me. It falls into a class of read that I never fail to find the words to elaborate on.
Incompatibility.
One of the nicest negative review words a reviewer could draw upon - incompatibility. The sweetest way to say that I thought it was bad, but maybe it isn't the authors fault.

If we were in a relationship, this book and I, I would be saying to it "I want you to know that i
...more
Lance Greenfield
Action-packed historical drama

Conn Iggulden seemed to like my review of his "quick read," Blackwater, almost as much as I enjoyed reading that book. Being in a one-to-one conversation gave me the opportunity to ask him if he would recommend his Emperor series to anyone who had enjoyed the shorter story. He was very honest in admitting that he didn't know but advised me to walk into a bookshop, pick up The Gates of Rome, read the first chapter then decide whether to replace it on the shelf or buy
...more
Phil
Jan 29, 2008 Phil rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Historical fiction fans
The first of the 'Emperor' series. This one is Ceasar and Brutus, one the honored son the other the adopted bastard, growing up on a farm outside of Rome. Thats right, you heard me. This series of books creates a completely new Ceasar narrative, one that only vaguely tracks the actual history. Unfortunately, one might say. There is little authenticity in this series. If that doesnt bug you then its a nice pulp read for a sunny day.
Nate
Jul 14, 2014 Nate rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Not much to say about this one. Way too much of a kid-gloves YA vibe and outright fucking with history. Iggulden's excuses in the author's note don't do it for me. His Genghis series seems to be a billion times more well-written and cognizant of historical fact.
Steve
Sep 01, 2012 Steve rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
My edition of this book has 597pg's, not 448pg's as stated. This was a damn good read that I thoroughly enjoyed. My eldest brother recommended this book to me, then told me that one of the character's in this book reminded him of me *smiling*. I had no bloody idea which one ;) But found it even more interesting finding out. The answer to that particular mystery was 'Marcus Brutus'. Nice to know I was slightly cocky as a teenager *laughing*.

It's the tale of Caesar's life from childhood/early tee
...more
Thomas Edmund
Dec 26, 2015 Thomas Edmund rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Really happy with this book - I see many have slammed the story of historical inaccuracies, so I think its fair to read this as fiction based on history, rather than in any way accurate. Nonetheless the story is pretty strong and what I especially liked was the vividness of the prose. There was enough detail to make the story clear, without bogging the world down in the particulars.

Only a couple of beefs with the novel. First it was too obviously the first of a series, the two MCs had barely beg
...more
Jim Gifford
Jun 18, 2012 Jim Gifford rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Simply put, I didn't like this book. There are any number of things with which I took exception, but first and foremost is his treatment of Caesar's mother, Aurelia Cotta. In The Gates of Rome she is portrayed as epileptic, and those who know her consider her deranged. But this is generally refuted by a historical record that paints her as a model Roman woman and mother who was highly regarded among all classes of her Roman contemporaries. Colleen McCullough adopted this line in her series of no ...more
John
Yahoo.... boy oh boy... how much do I love these sort of books?

I started with Conn Iggulden when my wife bought me Wolf of the Plains for me to read on a flight to Berlin last year... needless to say I loved it.

I bought Gates of Rome form Tesco [on offer] and read it in few days... I loved that too.... wow... does this man write books that are esy to read? YES YES YES...

On a visit to Rome last weekend I started the next in the "Emporer" series - "The Death of Kings"/.... it's outstanding.

I am no
...more
Eric Smith
Sep 07, 2008 Eric Smith rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: historical fiction fans and those interested in Ancient Rome.
Shelves: historic-fiction
My first real trip into historical fiction other than the works of Jeff Shaara has turned out to be very enjoyable. This novel takes the stories of Ceasar back to his beginning and paints an spectacular picture of two young men growing up on the edge of Rome and the beginning ofr their rise to positions of power. Ceasar is captured in a way I have never seen before as he begins his journey from boyhood into the man that we all know from our history texts. I was unable to put it down and was draw ...more
[redacted by S.H.I.E.L.D.]
Really? Even ignoring the fact that it's written like a Boy Scott tie in novel for 12 year old boys with ADD, the "history" in this book makes the movie 300 look like a historical documentary from national geographic. I understand changing things for fiction but this is just ridiculous. It's like a world war II novel were Hitler and Churchill grew up as childhood friends on a oil rig. First time in 20 years I haven't been able to finish a book.
Jane
Jul 15, 2014 Jane rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Historically it's a mess. There is virtually no character development. The writing style is pretty pulpy with non-stop action and it's an easy escapist read. There are other Roman series out there far superior. Iggulden may improve as he writes more books, but he's not my 'cup of tea' from this one and I have no desire to read any more of his novels.
Tanja Berg
What a disappointment! After first acquainting myself with this author through his Genghis Khan "Conqueror" series, I had high hopes. They were quickly dashed. It's amazing how a book about the early life of Julius Ceasar could be boring. He is an incredibly influential historical figure, he's even got a month named in his honor! Perhaps the rest will be better. I have the second book in this series that I got for free, and I will probably read it. This however, was a total dud. There wasn't a s ...more
Bonnie
Feb 21, 2013 Bonnie rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
If you look at people's reviews of this book you will notice that how someone likes it depends on how much or what they've read on the subject. Those of us who have read Colleen McCullough's wonderful series on Rome (starting with "The First Man in Rome") are not impressed by "The Gates of Rome". I knew pretty quickly that I wasn't going to like this book, but kept going, maybe because I had made the huge mistake of buying the book rather than checking it out from the library. I'd read Mr. Iggul ...more
Jennie
May 18, 2009 Jennie rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Jennie by: FirstReads!
Sigh. I have very mixed feelings about this book.

1. While I'm glad people are still showing interest in ancient Rome, don't we have enough fictionalizations of Julius Caesar? Aren't there other events in Roman history, other charismatic Roman personalities that we could focus on? Between Shakespeare and HBO, I'm all Caesared out. Write me a novel about Elagabulus. That would be bad-ass.

2. Dude. The writing is simplistic and awkward, and at least half the text described violent encounters in fair
...more
Andrew Parry
Hmmm...I'm slightly bemused by the consistent 4+ star reviews here. I love historical fiction, but the likes of George MacDonald Fraser and Patrick O'Brian have set the bar high so I perhaps I have unfairly high expectations.
I have to say this is fairly basic stuff. Lacking in drama and character. I managed to get through to the end because I was on holiday (in Rome, as it happens) and had no other books with me.
The most disappointing aspect is that it doesn't really capture the classical period
...more
Justin
I enjoyed the first half of the novel. But when the Marius-Sulla civil war kicked in, I lost all respect for it. Iggulden admits in his closing historical remarks that he took great liberties with the historical record and proceeds to summarize the real history. He abandoned the history almost entirely, and the reader is left with an alternate history that only vaguely relates to what really happened. It's a crime.

One of the worst examples is, (view spoiler)
...more
Pamela
Aug 25, 2014 Pamela rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Pamela by: Ancient & Medieval historical fiction group
Fun read, a fast-paced and gripping adventure story, based on the early lives of Gaius Julius Caesar and his friend Marcus.

Having read a few reviews before picking up this book, I was aware of the criticism around historical inaccuracy. While events have certainly been revised, the feel of life in Rome and in the military is realistic. There is a particularly authentic flavour to the episodes which show how important strength ( mental and physical) was to the Romans, and the lengths they went to
...more
Nicki
Okay, so I get that many people are upset with this book, and I will be the first person to agree that it is NOT historically accurate.

However, I chose to ignore this while reading the book. Because when I read a book, I don't read it for accuracy. I read it because it's entertaining. And this book was definitely entertaining.

It starts off describing Caesar's early life in his home outside Rome. He grows up with Marcus Brutus (yes, I know, this is historically inaccurate). The story continues fr
...more
Scott
Sep 20, 2010 Scott rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Re-reading this because I enjoyed it the fist time and would like to continue on w/ the series, and... I'm in an historical fiction kinda mood;)... I often steer away from this type of stuff because I always wonder (not being a huge history buff) what truths have been completely exaggerated and therefore feel I'm getting a misleading historical story. But, where this is different with Iggulden are his end notes, which actually point out what is known truth, what is somewhat known, & what he ...more
Kingley
Oct 30, 2015 Kingley rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Amazing book. I got the rest of the series before I even finished this one. Historical fiction is fast becoming a favourite genre of mine.

This book is the life and story of Gaius Julius Caesar and his many close friends and advisers. This book will take you from the very beginning of Gaius early life, from a boy to soldier and all else in between. The events that unfold after the death of his father at the age of 15 shifts the future of the young nobilitas. His uncle Marius from his mothers sid
...more
Linda
Aug 13, 2014 Linda rated it it was amazing
The reader meets the best of Marcus and Gaius in the first book of the Emperor series. The stage is set for the lives of two men who made and continue to make history. Cornelia and Peppis steal much of the thunder because they show true grit and wit. Gaius'naked flight scene and his con to get some clothes was wonderful. Marcus' fight with the blueskins was another highpoint! The trouble with this author is that his writing flows so smoothly that I can forgive all the literary license he takes. ...more
Gretchen
Dec 05, 2014 Gretchen rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ancient-rome
My knowledge of Julius Caesar is limited to what they teach you in high school. Based on the high school I went to, I'm going to guess even that knowledge is very limited and potentially inaccurate. Maybe it was my limited knowledge that made me feel rather "meh" about this novel. If I didn't know this book was about Julius Caesar going into reading, I might have guessed it was about any boy and his childhood friend in Ancient Rome. The story was fine. The characters were fine. Overall everythin ...more
Arun Divakar
What really happened in the course of history might some times be as dry as a desert. So how do you spin a bestseller out of this seemingly infertile set of dates,facts and figures ? From my limited foray into historical fiction what I have seen from most authors is : Historical accuracy be damned, I am going to pen a kickass book ! This is the stance that Conn Iggulden adopts for his retelling of the story of Gaius Julius Caesar.

Caesar's legacy is one that attains mythical status as time flow
...more
Albin
Jun 02, 2016 Albin rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Första i en fiktiv bokserie om Julius Ceasars liv.

Sorgligt nog gick jag in i boken och ville ha en fiktiv men trovärdig skildring av Julius liv. Jag hade kunnat acceptera den mer om de historiska ändringarna hade varit mindre.

Mot slutet av boken så har författaren för dramatikens skull tagit sig en enorm frihet och i grunden skrivit om stora delar av Roms historia vilket förstör inlevelse känslans som boken lyckas med ganska ofta.

Sen finns ett stort antal mindre fel som troligtvis är pågrund a
...more
Dawn
This book, in turns, interested, bored and thrilled me.

This is the first in a four book series on the life of Gaius Julius Caesar. It follows him from the carefree age of eight to the age of eighteen.

As has been mentioned in many reviews, there are several historical facts that were rearranged for the story. I personally didn’t find them distracting as I found the depiction of roman life more than made up for it. As Julius gets older and returns to the senate I am hoping for more about roman p
...more
Zeke Chase
This novel has had a few bad reviews for its historical inaccuracy. While I’m not that familiar with the early life of Julius Caesar, upon doing some research, I’m not that upset about blending together the conflicts of Marius and Sulla, or shortening the rebellion with Mithridates. He presents a clear narrative here, which I don’t think could be told quite so easily if he’d held true to history. What I am less forgiving of is changing the age of Marcus Brutus and making he and Caesar childhood ...more
Claire
Jul 15, 2016 Claire rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: hf-rome
(7/10) My friend lent me his copy after he got bored of finding me perusing it while we were on holiday and I am very glad that he did!

I have always been fascinated with Rome and it's history but for some reason I have never read any novels set in the period. The book deals with the early like of Julius Cesar and Marcus Brutus detailing their gladiatorial training, a slave revolt and the conflict between Marius and Sulla. I know it has been knocked a bit for not being 100% historically accurate,
...more
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Is this the first of four books? 1 6 Jan 03, 2013 10:51AM  
Book giveaway 21 97 Aug 20, 2012 05:48AM  
  • When the Eagle Hunts (Eagle, #3)
  • Fire in the East (Warrior of Rome, #1)
  • The Forgotten Legion (Forgotten Legion Chronicles, #1)
  • Wounds of Honour (Empire, #1)
  • Pride of Carthage
  • Tyrant (Tyrant, #1)
  • Empire: the Novel of Imperial Rome (Roma, #2)
  • Hero of Rome (Gaius Valerius Verrens, #1)
119121
I was born in the normal way in 1971, and vaguely remember half-pennies and sixpences. I have written for as long as I can remember: poetry, short stories and novels. It’s what I always wanted to do and read English at London University with writing in mind. I taught English for seven years and was Head of English at St. Gregory’s RC High School in London by the end of that period. I have enormous ...more
More about Conn Iggulden...

Other Books in the Series

Emperor (5 books)
  • The Death of Kings (Emperor, #2)
  • The Field of Swords (Emperor, #3)
  • The Gods of War (Emperor, #4)
  • The Blood of Gods (Emperor, #5)

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“Men respect the silent; they despise the garrulous. - Marius” 16 likes
“Perhaps he needs the money. Some of the men live too richly for their purses, if you understand me. Fame would allow him large debts, but everything has to be paid back in the end.” 4 likes
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