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The Gates of Rome by Conn Iggulden
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's review
Sep 01, 2012

really liked it
bookshelves: historical-fiction
Read from December 11, 2010 to January 08, 2011

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 teens (which is the period that this book deals with). It covers his, and Marcus's, upbringing, early experiences, hard gladitorial training and tutoring, and their early experiences in the political arena surrounding the Roman Senate and Senator's. There is no shortage of action and suspense, or strong supporting characters. It's a really well written book and very character driven, which drives you along in this page turner.

That said, the ending shows you that this is just the beginning and leaves you with more questions than answers. It's not really a 'stand alone' read, as you'll want to know more, much more. But it is a damn good and interesting read on one of the world's greatest ever leaders and his life.

I finished this book over a week ago and have already begun, and finished, the second one in this series 'The Death of Kings'.

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Reading Progress

12/11 page 54
12/19 page 304
68.0% "My edition of this book has 597pg's, not 448pg's as stated. I'm loving this read and already over half way through. Gaius and Marcus have now been joined by some really good supporting characters and they have also grown into their teens (16yr's so far). I also figured out which character my eldest brother said reminded him of me (Marcus *smiling*). I also figured out Gaius Julius goes on to become Julius Caesar."
07/15 marked as: read

Comments (showing 1-8 of 8) (8 new)

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Steve I only started this book last night, thick book too ;) Though my eldest brother recommended it to me and then told me that one of the character's in this book reminded him of me *smiling*. I have no bloody idea which one ;) But it will be interesting to find out. So far, Gaius and Marcus are two young boys who have had the shit beaten out of them *laughing*, though Gaius has gained his revenge. I'm hoping I'm not one of those ;) But I'm enjoying the read very much so far and who knows where these two young boys will end up. The mystery continues ;) Which character is like Steve? *Laughing*

message 2: by Tammy (new)

Tammy I've been planning to read this for a really long time. I was looking for some Roman-Empire fiction, and Conn Iggulden was recommended to me.
I remember the "had the shit beaten out of them" part (read only about a few pages in).

Steve I would certainly recommend this book (Emperor Series) to anyone looking for Roman Empire fiction Sarah. It's really well written, and with a character depth that makes it an engrossing read.

I'd also recommend Simon Scarrow's Rome Series, I believe I've reviewed at least one of those too.

message 4: by Tammy (new)

Tammy That's really promising, especially since I know we have similar tastes when it comes to Gemmell. I believe this is also the kind of fiction Gemmell writes.

I looked up Scarrow's books, and while they appear quite good, the series might be a bit too long for me. Would they do as standalones?

Steve It's a different genre to Gemmell, both Iggulden and Scarrow have done their historical research (Scarrow used to teach/lecture on Rome) and keep factual boundaries. Though you're right Sarah, it does read very similar to Gemmell in that the story is told well and the character depth makes it a page turner.

Good question. I read Scarrow's as I bought them, not in series order, and they all work as a stand alone story 'except' the first one. I think that's because it's more of an introduction to the series and rather 'open ended'. Though I did enjoy going back to read it.

Also, Iggulden's Emperor Series seems quite long too. I've also got the second in the series and there's at least four of about 600pages each.

Iggulden's may be a slightly better read (it's a close call). But I don't think the Emperor Series work as well as stand alones, they appear to leave you with more questions at the end. Obviously to read the next. Personally, I think Scarrow's work better as stand alone reads.

Hope this helps Sarah.

Mohammed The Emperor series is about one of the most important men in western history in Ceasar its not about stand alone military historical fiction like Eagle series by Scarrow.

Conn Iggulden is the writer most Gemmell fans recommned, fantasy or historical character wise,story wise they have similar strenghts.

I enjoy Scarrow but i think Iggulden is the better writer,better military historical fiction writer.

I wish he had written about Rome again.

Steve Yes, they're both about Rome, and both character driven and well told, but Iggulden's Emperor series is the story of Caesar. Although it does cover other characters (inc. Marcus Brutus) it's a combination of action, strategy, and politics.

As I said, I'd find it a close call, but Conn Iggulden would edge it as the better writer, though only just. They have similar writing styles, but their focus is different. Scarrow's Eagle series is less limited by historical accuracies and even adds humour to his characters. Iggulden takes you through the character's growth, similar to Gemmell's style, a character journey.

But Iggulden's Emperor series are not stand alone reads. I've finished the first and it leaves many more questions than conclusions. I'd recommend both, but as stand alone reads I'd recommend Scarrow.

Both authors and series are good page turners.

Steve Geez... Busy as Hell (is Hell busy? Rhetorically, yes ;)) lately, but loving this book - a re-read was overdue ;)

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