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The Gates of Rome

(Emperor #1)

4.18  ·  Rating details ·  25,777 ratings  ·  1,078 reviews

The ultimate Rome story

From the spectacle of gladiatorial combat to the intrigue of the Senate, from the foreign wars that secure the power of the empire to the betrayals that threaten to tear it apart, this is the remarkable story of the man who would become the greatest Roman of them all: Julius Caesar.

In the city of Rome, a titanic power struggle is about to shake the R

Kindle Edition, 392 pages
Published 2013 by HarperCollins (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 em…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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Jun 19, 2011 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
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
Conn Iggulden vivid imagination and superior prose make of The Gates of Rome a great historical fiction. Most of Julius Caesar’s growing up years are a mystery, so this is basically a work of fiction. But as such it is thoroughly a compelling read. What emerges is a coming of age tale set in the Roman Empire, where the author imagines a vibrant characterization of the early years of the man who would become the most powerful ruler of his era. In a note, Iggulden does mention that most of Julius ...more
*** 3 ***

I think most people faced with a work of Historical Fiction based on well researched and known historical characters, tend to look for the historical truth, despite knowing that the works are romanticized and fictionalized. I think in the case of Gaius Julius Caesar it would be even harder to take dramatic licenses and let the author's imagination run free, because he is such a famous figure in history, it is hard to create timelines without being called on it. In this book the author d
Oct 13, 2007 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
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.
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
Scott  Hitchcock
A good first book in the series but not nearly as compelling as his Genghis series. The story is good, consistent and well written but it's also a bit boring. I'll still finish out the series but why does every author write about Rome and this time period in such pedantically humorless tones? The Khans weren't exactly Comedy Central material and yet there's so much more humor and personality in that series.

It's not just Igulden. Every author who takes on this time period does so in such a monot
Jul 30, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
If the historical inaccuracies don't suck the joy from this, then Gates of Rome is incredibly entertaining and fun with Iggulden interweaving his staple excellent set pieces and dynamic characters throughout. ...more
Jan 04, 2020 rated it did not like it
Shelves: dnf, historical
Sadly, I am starting new year with DNF.

I had high hopes for this book(series) but I couldn't get into it at all. But it's Conn Iggulden so I pushed and pushed myself onward until I got stuck on page 99 and decided not to waste any more time on this book. Thanks goodness I had only copy from library instead of buying whole series box set as was my original plan.

It's tricky to write fiction about famous historical figures. After reading this novel, I can say that I prefer Bernard Cornwell's style
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
Review of the audiobook narrated by Robert Glenister.

Even though I love history and historical fiction, I've never found Roman history interesting. I've never known exactly why. I love ancient Egypt, the pre-colonization civilizations of the Americas, any history after the Romans, just not the Romans (or Greeks if I can group those two time periods together). My solution was that a great historical fiction novel set in that period would do the trick to jump-start my interest. This is not that no
There are two problems I have with this work. One is subjective, the other objective. The subjective one is the style. I can't stand it. It's plain when it should be flowery and plain when it should be exciting and when it's supposed to be tragic it's still plain. I can find nothing in here that really appeals to me apart from a pretty generic action/adventure plot. The style is almost nonexistent and the story is paper thin. Even if he had included every fact known to make this the most accurat ...more
Jul 14, 2014 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. ...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
Jim Gifford
Jun 18, 2012 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
Thomas Edmund
Dec 26, 2015 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
Jan 29, 2008 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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. ...more
Fred Shaw
Nov 08, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The Gates of Rome by Conn Iggulden, narrated by Robert Glennister. A Blackstone Audio book. Volume #1 of the Emperor Series.

This a historical fictiion novel of the Roman Empire at the end of the Republic era and the beginning of the Kings era. Well written, the story comes alive and is difficult to put down. Iggulden has really done his homework as the events in the book match the historical timelines. This is my first of Iggulden’s books and not the last. I highly recommend it.
Dec 11, 2010 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
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)
May 16, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: overdrive, audio
I decided to go back to the beginning of this series after having read and enjoyed the final book which was about Augustus, not Caesar. Unfortunately, I wasn't really interested in the young Caesar and his friend Marcus. I would rather read about the politics and intrigues of Rome (relayed in an historically accurate way to the extent possible) rather than the constant fights and battles in this book. If the next book of the series doesn't improve, I'm done with it. ...more
Jan 12, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: kindle
This was an interesting start to a series of biographical fiction centering around the young Julius Caesar and Brutus. What was interesting is that to start you don't really know they are Julius and Brutus as they aren't using their "grown up" names. (Who knew Romans did that?)

It felt like it was thoroughly researched. (Or at least I don't know enough to feel it wasn't.) I am definitely going to read book 2.
Feb 17, 2013 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
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
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
[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. ...more
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
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
Eric Smith
Sep 02, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
May 06, 2013 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. ...more
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Play Book Tag: The Gates of Rome 4 stars 1 6 Aug 30, 2021 06:21AM  
Ancient & Medieva...: AUGUST 2014 (Group Read 1): The Gates of Rome by Conn Iggulden 66 127 Jan 21, 2015 11:42AM  
Is this the first of four books? 1 11 Jan 03, 2013 10:51AM  
Book giveaway 21 97 Aug 20, 2012 05:48AM  

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Also publishes under author name C.F. Iggulden.

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 Lo

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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