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Emperor #5

The Blood of Gods

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The fifth and final instalment of the Emperor series.
Julius Caesar has been assassinated. A nation is in mourning. Revenge will be bloody.
Rome’s great hero Julius Caesar has been brutally murdered by his most trusted allies. While these self-appointed Liberatores seek refuge in the senate, they have underestimated one man: Caesar’s adopted son Octavian, a man whose name will echo through history as Augustus Caesar.
Uniting with his great rival Mark Antony, Octavian will stop at nothing to seek retribution from the traitors and avenge his father’s death. His greatest hatred is reserved for Brutus, Caesar’s childhood friend and greatest ally, now leader of the conspirators.
As the people take to the streets of Rome, the Liberatores must face their fate. Some flee the city; others will not escape mob justice. Not a single one will die a natural death. And the reckoning will come for Brutus on the sweeping battlefield at Philippi.

409 pages, Hardcover

First published January 1, 2013

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About the author

Conn Iggulden

85 books4,999 followers
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 London by the end of that period. I have enormous respect for those who still labour at the chalk-face. In truth, I can’t find it in me to miss the grind of paperwork and initiatives. I do miss the camaraderie of the smokers’ room, as well as the lessons where their faces lit up as they understood what I was wittering on about.

My mother is Irish and from an early age she told me history as an exciting series of stories – with dates. My great-grandfather was a Seannachie, so I suppose story-telling is in the genes somewhere. My father flew in Bomber Command in WWII, then taught maths and science. Perhaps crucially, he also loved poetry and cracking good tales. Though it seems a dated idea now, I began teaching when boys were told only girls were good at English, despite the great names that must spring to mind after that statement. My father loved working with wood and equations, but he also recited ‘Vitai Lampada’ with a gleam in his eye and that matters, frankly.

I’ve always loved historical fiction as a genre and cut my teeth on Hornblower and Tai-Pan, Flashman, Sharpe and Jack Aubrey. I still remember the sheer joy of reading my first Patrick O’Brian book and discovering there were nineteen more in the series. I love just about anything by David Gemmell, or Peter F. Hamilton or Wilbur Smith. I suppose the one thing that links all those is the love of a good tale.

That’s about it for the moment. If you’d like to get in touch with me leave a comment in the forum or you can tweet me @Conn_Iggulden. I’ll leave it there for the moment. If you’ve read my books, you know an awful lot about the way I think already. There’s no point overdoing it.

Conn Iggulden

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 343 reviews
Profile Image for Apoorva.
190 reviews171 followers
August 5, 2020
This book has given me some firsts:
1. My first book in the series, though it shouldn't have been since it isn't in chronology.
2. My first attempt at reading books related to Roman History (not used to reading books which involve too many fight scenes nor accustomed to the language).
3. It's the first time I haven't felt like juggling between books; I usually read 2-3 books at a time.
4. I mostly read very slowly, but this book made sure I increase my pace, keeping up with the tempo building up at each stage.

I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book. For sure, I am gonna read more and more in this genre (and actually start with the first book). Though fictional for most parts, the plot is an inspiration from actual events, and it keeps you hooked to the end. I would recommend this book to anyone who loves reading historical fiction, the author makes sure you have sleepless nights.
Profile Image for Lewis Weinstein.
Author 9 books493 followers
September 18, 2016
A terrific read, full of action and true to the history. There is sadness in the horrible waste of life that war always is, in this case a civil war of Romans vs Romans, prompted by the murder of Julius Caesar. The end notes by the author reviewing the actual history were particularly illuminating.
Profile Image for Faith.
1,822 reviews499 followers
November 12, 2020
I received a free advance reader's edition of this book. It describes in vivid detail the aftermath of the murder of Julius Caesar. The book is full of political intrigue and military planning. The characters were compelling and the plot was very involving. It was a wonderful way in which to learn more about this period in history.

The book was completely engaging, well written and conveyed a wonderful feeling of actually being present at the events depicted. That is exactly what I want from historical fiction. The battle scenes were particularly vivid. It is not completely historically accurate, but I did not care at all. It was a fascinating novelization of history. I really enjoyed this book. I have not read any of the previous books in this series, but I now intend to do so.
Profile Image for Richard.
451 reviews103 followers
November 11, 2014

This had the feeling of a surprise party where the guest of honour fails to turn up. Fair play to Julius Caesar, he had an excuse to not be there with him being stabbed by the “Liberators” at the end of book 4 so it was obvious he would be missing but the story certainly lacked something for this.

The story revolves around the days and years after the assassination of Julius Caesar and Mark Anthony and Octavian/Augustus taking it upon themselves to hunt down and kill all those involved with the plot that occurred on the Ides of March. There is quite a bit of politics at play here and nobody trusts anyone which is probably wise with back stabbing (literal and metaphorical) rife in this period. Things that annoyed me in this book were the fact that some of the main characters in this book were new to me and the series so there was no affinity to them, whereas Augustus took a bit of a back seat which I found odd with him being a rival to Caesar’s legacy with all he did down the line so there could have been plenty of opportunity to flesh his character further. I also found it struggled through certain parts of the book and then rushed some of the bigger battle scenes, such as Philippi which was only a small page count at the end considering the size of the battle.

I read somewhere that Conn Iggulden had an obligation to his publishers to print 10 books (I think 10, could be more/less) and he wanted to write his new series about the War of the Roses but that was to be for his new publishing house. It felt like this was a book more to fulfil a commitment but this could just be something my brain was telling me after hearing that story. It was definitely the weakest book in the series and not necessary to read to complete the series. Whilst it does tie up loose endings it also did lead to more open threads, such as Mark Anthony vs Augustus. I guess you could always go to Shakespeare if you wanted something more, I’ve heard his version is good on those boys scuffling.

If you enjoyed this try: “Roman Blood” by Steven Saylor
Profile Image for Faye, la Patata.
492 reviews2,111 followers
July 19, 2013

Right now, this is what I'm thinking to myself:


Ladies and gentlemen, I may have just finished the best historical fiction I've ever read. Granted, this is not my favorite genre, and to be honest, I have not read a lot about it, but WOW. This book hooked me from beginning to end, with its fast-paced action scenes, adorable characters, intriguing politics, talks of strategies and what have you... it was an A-M-A-Z-I-N-G experience. Period. No other words.

I'm a big fan of Ancient Rome, and I am especially wary of historical fiction books based off it, because it's so easy to screw it up and it's so hard to make it engaging. We mostly have records that don't give a lot of details that could really tell a comprehensive story, but Conn Iggulden amazed me. He has mad writing skills, spectacularly creating a vibrant, genuine Roman atmosphere and brought characters, who I've only read about in history books, to life, making them not just a name, but a person. I swear to the highest heavens, it felt like my history books came to life. It was that immersive, engaging, and atmospheric. I totally felt I was in Rome, seeing the scandal of Julius Caesar's death and assassination and the justice that was served when the Liberatores were executed with my very eyes... etc. etc.

In short, Conn Iggulden gave the stories and records of Ancient Rome justice.

There are so many to love in this book. The characters, for one, were amazing. I love how the author made the people who used to be just mere names and letters to me come to life, easily making me so connected and attached to them. The fact that these individuals are based on real people that breathed the same air and drank the same water milleniums ago just made the impact all the more amazing and personal. I loved Octavian, Maecenas, and Agrippe, and to an extent, I adored Mark Antony as well. They were fantastic characters and I'm sure during their time of living, they were extraordinary people as well. Iggulden really built them up well and made them as genuine as possible, which I really appreciate.

The politics and conspiracies were amazing to read as well. I just loved how governments worked at this particular time, before the Roman Empire and after. There were just so many crazies and so many awesome rulers, with a lot of intrigue and plots behind the scenes. This one did not disappoint in that aspect. Even though we know Julius Caesar was killed due to a plot by the other senators who believed he was becoming too powerful and influential with nothing to check or balance him, I kind of understood their viewpoint, too. Things are not black and white, as everyone's motives were as valid as any. Octavian's, I can understand; Brutus and Cassius and the other liberatores', I can understand as well. I loved how the book gave me a deeper understanding in this angle, to what could have happened from what could have been felt at that time in Rome — making the overall story and context a tad bittersweet.

And the action scenes! My god, they were fantastic! One of my classes when I was still in university was about Ancient Greece and Rome, or pretty much the early European civilizations. For a few weeks, we talked about the military tactics that were used then - the legions, the formations, the signals, how they worked, how soldiers made up for lost/fallen people — and it was just awesome how Iggulden incorporated them here with precision and accuracy (I may be wrong, but it felt accurate to me!). Seriously, reading the book felt like watching a movie about the wars of Ancient Rome. It was so fun to read the action scenes, with the strategies and tactics discussed, the fighting on land and water, all those conflicts... ahhh... pure bliss, I tell you. Pure bliss.

Overall, this was fantastic. I'm really regretting I didn't read my ARC sooner. when I found out this was a series, I had thought I need to read the first four books first, but to be honest, there's no need for that as this can stand on its own. If you're looking for a fantastic retelling of the wars and conflicts and conspiracies of Ancient Rome, get this one ASAP. It's refreshing with a writing style that's engaging and fast-paced, with a moderate amount of details done right that would instantly immerse you in its brutal world of politics and military tactics. And the characters! Don't forget the characters!

What are you waiting for??!! GET ONE, NOW!!!

Final Verdict: 4.5 / 5
Profile Image for Sumit.
132 reviews12 followers
March 16, 2023
‘𝙄 𝙖𝙢 𝙩𝙝𝙚 𝙘𝙝𝙖𝙢𝙥𝙞𝙤𝙣 𝙤𝙛 𝙩𝙝𝙚 𝙥𝙚𝙤𝙥𝙡𝙚 𝙤𝙛 𝙍𝙤𝙢𝙚, 𝙎𝙚𝙣𝙖𝙩𝙤𝙧. 𝙔𝙤𝙪 𝙨𝙚𝙚 𝙣𝙤 𝙚𝙢𝙥𝙚𝙧𝙤𝙧 𝙝𝙚𝙧𝙚, 𝙣𝙤𝙩 𝙞𝙣 𝙢𝙚. 𝙔𝙤𝙪 𝙙𝙤 𝙨𝙚𝙚 𝘾𝙖𝙚𝙨𝙖𝙧, 𝙖𝙣𝙙 𝙩𝙝𝙚 𝙫𝙚𝙣𝙜𝙚𝙖𝙣𝙘𝙚 𝙩𝙝𝙖𝙩 𝙮𝙤𝙪 𝙝𝙖𝙫𝙚 𝙗𝙧𝙤𝙪𝙜𝙝𝙩 𝙙𝙤𝙬𝙣 𝙤𝙣 𝙮𝙤𝙪𝙧 𝙤𝙬𝙣 𝙝𝙚𝙖𝙙.’

🗡️The book - 5th in the Emperor series - is based on the aftermath events of the assassination of Julius Caesar from 44 BC to 42 BC and follows the future Augustus - Octavian's rise to power.

44 BC. On the Ides of March, Rome's greatest hero Julius Caesar is brutally murdered by his most trusted allies, who called themselves Liberatores. They think they have liberated Rome from a Tyrant, but Caesar's adopted son, Octavian will not forgive them. Uniting with his greatest rival Mark Antony he'll hunt down the liberators one by one and avenge his father's death. Not a single one will die a natural death. Some will get mob justice while others perished under Octavian's wrath, but the greatest reckoning will be reserved for Caesar's former childhood friend Brutus who will meet his end in the battle of Philippi.

🗡️Conn Iggulden's writing always amazed me. It was his Conqueror series that introduced me to the historical fiction genre. His fast-pacing narratives, the political intrigues, the constant threat of shifting sites, and the gruesome battle epic scene in the plot keep me turning on the pages. His vivid description which brings us back to the ending days of the Roman Republic shows the amount of research work he had done. However, all the goods thing about this book ends here.

🗡️I don't like Octavian's characterization as a bold, reckless, novice man. He blunders in every step but still escapes the consequences either due to sheer luck/ due to the efforts of his friends, Maecenas and Agrippa. Someone who is going to topple the republic and enthroned himself as Augustus I expect better. In contrast to him, Mark Antony, a sensible and mature general outshines him. Brutus who was built up as an important character in the series was present only at the beginning and end of the book - disappoints me.

🗡️The ending of the book is open and ambiguous. It lacked gravitas and a sense of finality. Further, the epilogue makes it worse by shifting the focus from Rome to Egypt. I don't remember whether I had read such a bad conclusion ever and for that, I had to first get sure whether I could call it a conclusion.

Overall, the Blood of Gods was an average read for me. Those who had already read Conn Iggulden's books will certainly know that it was not among his best work. Nevertheless, fans of historical fiction can still give it a shot. It's the series finale but you won't miss anything if you read it as a standalone.

𝙈𝙮 𝙍𝙖𝙩𝙞𝙣𝙜: ⭐⭐⭐(3/5)
Profile Image for Clemens Schoonderwoert.
1,075 reviews76 followers
November 15, 2021
Read this book in 2013, and its the 5th and final volume of the spectacular "Emperor" series.

This tale is set after the assassination of Julius Caesar in the Senate by a group calling themselves the "Liberatores".

These Liberatores think they have liberated Rome from a "Tyrant", but they will encounter a situation that they will become the persecuted.

They have not reckoned by Octavian, Caesar's adopted son, who will later become the first Emperor called, Augustus Caesar, and together will his greatest rival Mark Antony they will hunt down these Liberatores.

Octavian greatest hate is reserved for Julius Caesar former childhood friend, Marcus Brutus, and a final reckoning will come with Brutus on the bloody battlefield of Philippi.

What is to follow is an awesome addition to this fantastic series, and that's why I like to call this final episode: "An Incredible Caesar Aftermath"!
Profile Image for Scott  Hitchcock.
779 reviews221 followers
November 23, 2018
Book 1: 3*
Book 2: 3.25*
Book 3: 3.5*
Book 4: 3.25*
Book 5 3*

A very mediocre and disappointing series. As I've said with every book in this series if you're having to choose one read his Genghis series. I'll still read War of the Roses at some point because the Genghis series was that good.

I think the problem was the characters were too stiff throughout and the pinnacle scenes lacked gravitas and were over before they picked up momentum.
Profile Image for Mark Harrison.
682 reviews19 followers
July 27, 2020
Belting conclusion to the five Caesar books. Having killed the Emperor poor Brutus and his conspirators are hunted down by Mark Anthony and Octavian as a new Caesar rises from the ashes. Lots of politics, violence, intrigue and huge battles as the story comes to a fitting end. Good rollicking adventure story.
Profile Image for Joseph Adelizzi, Jr..
192 reviews13 followers
May 25, 2013
I received this book for free through Goodreads First Reads.

“How many times can you read the same story over and over?” my wife asks me every time I pick up a book about the early days of the Roman Empire. Logically I wonder the same thing too, but yet I do find myself repeatedly reading account after account of those days. That semi-insane behavior is made even more perplexing given there is no doubt I'd have been left on a hillside to die almost immediately upon my birth had I been born during my favorite epoch. Yet the bookshelves in my “Pompeii Room” - yes, I have a Pompeii Room – continue to fill with volume upon volume of accounts of the early Roman Empire from the first Gaius Julius Caesar through, oh I don't know, say Marcus Aurelius, though I have been known to stray as far ahead as Julian the Apostate. I know, “wild and crazy,” right? With my excitement over winning Conn Iggulden's latest installment of his Emperor series, “The Blood of Gods,” only slightly tempered by my wife's unanswerable question I eagerly made my way through the early days of Augustus yet again.

I was not disappointed. One issue that always annoys me is seeing Caesar Augustus portrayed as somewhat sickly – or conveniently sickly – and a bit of a coward; I don't see how anyone with such a make-up could have accomplished even a small fraction of what Augustus accomplished. No such Augustus in Iggulden's latest. His Augustus is courageous, intelligent, principled, vulnerable, and conflicted, a refreshing alternative to any sickly megalomaniacal portrayals.

Another issue that annoys me is accounts which eagerly don the convenient cloak of “good versus evil” when recounting the events and characters of the time. Again, I enjoyed the way Iggulden avoided that simplistic option. He deftly interweaves the thoughts and motivations of each of the main characters, often showing the degree to which each is pursuing some personal standard of goodness, moral code, justice, friendship, loyalty, and yes – entitlement, greed, and the lust for power.

I also enjoy the way Iggulden limns the account with little details that significantly enhance the mental image, details like the increasingly metallic taste and profuse fevered sweating that eventually overcomes Augustus, or talking of the gingered melon slices grabbing the attention of Consul Pansa, and the horrific details of what happens in the bowels of a sheering ship after the oars are sheared off by another ship.

“How many times can you read the same story over and over?” Thanks to Conn Iggulden, at least once more.
Profile Image for Natasa.
1,179 reviews
June 4, 2019
This author is one of the few whose books I look forward to. Everything he’s written is engrossing, well written, reasonably accurate historically, and always fascinating. If you appreciate good historical fiction, with the emphasis on historical, you should, like me, love this author’s work.
Profile Image for Robin Carter.
515 reviews69 followers
April 1, 2013

So after a gap of 8 years since the last book in this series

1. The Gates of Rome (2003)
2. The Death of Kings (2004)
3. The Field of Swords (2004)
4. The Gods of War (2005)
5. The Blood of Gods (2013)

How does this new offering stack up? does it have all that the early books did? or has it progressed with the writers skill?

I’m happy to say that the book retains the passion of the early Emperor books, but incorporates all the lessons learned since that time.

As usual with this series you have to accept the authors slight meddling with the timeline for places and character names, this as per previous books is done to make the book a tight, fast paced novel, whilst retaining the integrity of the history (it is fiction after all). All those niggles the purist may have are answered in the author notes at the back of the book.

This book tells how Octavian starts his rise to power, how does a young boy of 17 take over from his adopted father? how does he suddenly take on the devious and wily Liberatores, the men who killed Caesar? And how does he command the respect of the people and legions of Rome?

Conn gives a convincing and powerful portrayal of this young man and his two friends Agrippa and Maecenas, their journey from adolescents enjoying leave in Greece, to absorbing the news of the murder of the greatest man of their age and then the audacity and prowess needed to take on the might of the senate, Cassius, Brutus, Mark Anthony and the systemic corruption and arrogance of the Roman elite.

Conn charts this progress with skill and believability, we know Octavian managed all this, what many know is how, the high level story but we don’t know all the problems he faced along the way. One of the best parts of Conn’s writing and research is how he mixes in all the little facts, the nuggets that are so strange they sound like fiction, and turn out to be true. When you couple that with his natural storytelling skill, you get a stunning novel. You know the type, a person who either face to face in conversation or written down can just keep a whole room captivated. He is the type of guy you either hated at school or wanted as your best mate. I think we just need to be thankful he became a writer so we get to enjoy that natural storytelling talent, rather than him being the centre of attention in the pub on a Friday night.

Are there issues with the book?

Yes, it’s not long enough this story deserves a whole series all on its own, the story of Octavian is just as epic as Gaius Julius Caesar, in fact possibly more so, Octavian was thrown in at the deep end Caesar had time to build and learn. Octavian was the true father of Imperial Rome and ruled until the age of 75, which in Rome is unprecedented. This series was supposed to end with book 4 and yet we have book 5 and WOW am i glad we do…will Conn cave and do book 6? I doubt it but never say never. I still hold out hope of another Genghis book but don’t ever expect to get one.

After this brilliant book we have a shift in time periods for Conn his next book is set somewhat later than this series, and when i have more i will blog on it, he will be at a new publishers also, so we should see some fantastic new cover styles to compliment the book.

But for now, Conn signs off with Harper in style, with a truly powerful dramatic tale that fulfilled almost every expectation I had for Octavian’s rise to power.

Very Highly recommended


Conn made my Top 10 books list, see which book and where http://headofzeus.com/article/my-top-...
Profile Image for Bruno.
251 reviews9 followers
December 22, 2020
The final book in the series serves as the end of one and, at the same time, a new beginning of another story. It reminds me so much like The Heritage of Arn, but the protagonist has been introduced in the earlier books and witnessed all the events that transpired during the last 30 years or so. Some of the characters return and some new are introduced, while the others are no longer mentioned. Unlike previous titles, this one doesn't jumps years ahead, because it's main purpose is to conclude unfinished businesses left in the previous title. Because of that, there is a chance for a new title, but that depends on the author. Can't imagine how difficult for him was to return to the same series he started almost a decade ago, so there are obvious differences between the first four books (published every year from 2003-2006) and this one (published 2013). If I must nitpick something or someone that bothers me, I must say I didn't like the character of Marc Anthony, since the beginning. Every time something happens or the decision must be made, he acts so passively, but Caesar trusted him more than anyone and encouraged him to run for the position of the consul, which is an important detail for the plot, that I'm not going to spoil it. You must seek it out for yourself. Despite that annoyance, it was a great journey and I enjoyed it every moment and every page. If you're looking for a month long plot, I would recommend you to get this books, as well as Conqueror series, that I've started reading (the first book was amazing) last week. I'm going to review it later, when it's finished. Until that, I wish you all a successful week.
Profile Image for Sud666.
1,920 reviews156 followers
March 29, 2020
Conn Iggulden is one of my favorite writers of historical fiction. He does an excellent job with whatever subject he chooses to cover. This one covers the rise of Augustus Caesar.

The story starts with the death of Julius Caesar and then goes directly into how the killers, calling themselves "Liberatores", were perhaps a wee bit optimistic in how their deed would be received by the people of Rome who happened to revere Caesar. It is a good look at how Octavian became Julius' adopted son and eventually his heir.

The book does take some liberty with the actual history and that is something, usually, I would have spent harping on (I believe even in historical fiction to be as accurate as possible, otherwise damn fool laymen will consider it to be verbatim historical fact). But, I respect any author like Iggulden who then corrects any plot-driven changes in the Historical Notes in the back of the book.

From the contraction of the time for the actual battle of Phillipi to the timing of the Naval Battle with Sextus Pompey to a few other things such as Octavian's age, I can accept for the sake of story that they were slightly changed to fit the plot. But I do respect that he points out the liberalities he has taken.

An excellent story for anyone who enjoys Roman history. Mr. Iggulden is a great option for any fan of well written and exciting historical fiction.
Profile Image for Thomas.
500 reviews6 followers
February 1, 2019
I raced through this final book of the series, I have erred between a 4 or 5 rating, I would give it a 4.5/5 and rounded down.

Follows the events from The Ides of March to conclusion of the Battle of Philippi. The book introduces some new characters like Agrippa and Maecenas. Also thnakfully not much romance in a book dominated by battles, manouvering and intrigue.

For me this is a decent conclusion but I think a perfect ending would be another book to bring things to a close with the Battle of Actium. Given the series is called Emperor, it ends with Antony greeting Cleopatra, how can you end a series named that at the final stop before the split in the triumvirate and the battles to crown the Emperor?

I just think a fitting end would have been the aftermath of Actium with Octavian ascending to be the first Roman Emperor Augustus. I suppose there is John Williams book Augustus to fill that gap.

I am happy to have read this series and whilst as a whole I did enjoy it, it wasn't until the last two books that I really got into it very much. There is a short story called Fig Tree which I will get around to at some point.
Profile Image for Roger.
1,060 reviews8 followers
June 6, 2022
Wow. I have spent nearly three thousand pages in ancient Rome with Conn Iggulden’s Emperor series. I have thrilled to the life story of Julius Caesar as framed by this author. The Blood of Gods is what I call an aftermath book-all the action springs from one terrible event, in this case the assassination of Caesar. His adopted son Octavian refuses to let it go even though the Roman Senate originally pardons the killers and a bloody quest for vengeance and power ensues. Fortunately Octavian has inherited the greatest superpower ever-lots and lots of money. He becomes a person of influence and he shamelessly uses it to destroy his enemies, the “liberatores” who slew Caesar. Rome is nearly torn apart and we get a crash course in how business is really done in the Roman Empire, plus we get to see a lot of characters finally get theirs, so the book is quite emotionally satisfying. This has been a fantastic series I heartily recommend.
Profile Image for Sam Mason.
66 reviews
April 9, 2022
The series is definitely worth a read. Books 4 and 5 are the best. The Roman politics are fascinating to read through and Conn keeps it fun and interesting. I still enjoyed his Mongolian series more but 5 stars for Caesar.
Profile Image for Tati.
937 reviews85 followers
July 23, 2018
So, Conn Iggulden is one of the biggest names in historical fiction for me. He is only behind Bernard Cornwell. And, the best thing? They tackle completely different moments in history.

The Emperor series is about Julius Caesar, and spans from his childhood to his assassination. And that was where the series lost a bit of footing. Why? Well, because this book starts immediately after Caesar is murdered and shows the aftermath of that. From the chaos of his death, Octavian rises. At first, I thought I was in for a bumpy ride, as Octavian felt a bit awkward. But he was a young man who suddenly found himself in the spotlight. And it was good to see him grow into his new role.

The writing was really good, and made a naval battle incredibly fascinating. My one issue with this book: it felt inadequate as the last book in a series. Why? Because it introduces a whole new cast of characters, and has an epilogue that hints at so much more. And then that's it. I won't get to see the relationship between Cleopatra and Mark Anthony. And that made me a bit disappointed.
Profile Image for happy.
303 reviews91 followers
November 17, 2013
In the 5th and final installment of his Emperor series, Mr. Iggulden gives an interesting take on the aftermath of Julius Caesar’s assassination. The main character in this novel is Julius’ nephew and successor, the young Octavian. The author builds his story around Octavian’s reaction to the news of Julius’ death and the Senate’s giving the assassins pardon’s for what they had done. This novel opens in Greece where Octavian and the man who would become his best general, Agrippa and another friend, Maecenas are looking for the murderers of a local girl. After catching and executing the villains the trio learn about the death of Caesar and proceed to Rome and the reading of Caesar’s will.

With this beginning Mr. Iggulden traces the growth of a young man into the ruler of the known world. He shows the mistakes Octavian makes, but also his successes. He shows an Octavian obsessed with extracting his idea of Justice on the killers of his uncle. In some ways he is guided by his friends, esp Maecenas, in navigating Roman society to obtain this end.

I thought the novel was well paced and the battle scenes were excellent. He digs into the politics of the Senate and the arrogance of the ruling elite, who thought they could get away with assassination. Octavian’s relationship with Mark Antony is also well done. The author shows two men using each other for their own ends. It is a kind of “an enemy of my enemy is my friend” sort of relationship. Antony is shown as resentful that he wasn’t the main heir, but willing to use Octavian to obtain money to pay his legions and the approval of the masses. Octavian on the other hand uses Antony for his prestige and the legions he has under his control.

The novel ends with the battle of Philippi and the defeat of Brutus and Cassius. The battle is well told and the author gives a different explanation of why Octavian always seemed to miss the battles.

As with most historical fiction, some of the known facts are moved around a little, but not as much as some of the others in this series.

All in all a very entertaining and for me at least a quick read – solid 4 stars
Profile Image for Barry.
353 reviews57 followers
September 26, 2020
I have read and thoroughly enjoyed ten of Conn Iggulden's books including the series on Genghis Khan and the Series on Julius Caesar (best know for the salad named after him). It is important to understand that these books are historical fiction because they include many things, like dialogue, that could not possibly be known. I read them as such and not as history books.

Iggulden does a superb job of taking what is known of the history of the time and reshaping and fleshing it out with the end product being a thoroughly engaging story with beautifully fleshed out characters and extraordinarily detailed events. In an Author's Note, at the end of the book, he describes where he departed from accepted history and why.

If you are interested in an extremely well-written story about the period following Caesar's death, you will enjoy this book BUT, I would strongly recommend that you start with the first book in the series and, after completing that, decide if you would like to read the next, etc.

Postscript: I am not much interested in the War of the Roses but I will probably read Igguden's series covering it simply because it is Iggulden's series.

The End
Profile Image for Kate.
1,626 reviews322 followers
January 5, 2018
Conn Iggulden ends his Emperor series with a magnificent account of the aftermath of Caesar's assassination and the determined mission of his adopted son Octavian to hunt down his killers. This is familiar history but it has new life here especially thanks to Iggulden's recreation of Octavian, his friends and Mark Antony. Agrippa is my particular favourite here. A superb novel.

Profile Image for Kathy.
3,305 reviews175 followers
September 11, 2014
Excellent historical read. The author uses intelligent license to consolidate events to allow for more enjoyable reading. I will have to find more of his books now I have tasted.
Profile Image for Daniel Millin.
16 reviews2 followers
March 3, 2019
This series was fictionally great. Caesar's life is interesting enough to stick to non-fiction. However, it makes sense to a story to have it the best friend from youth betray him. Still really enjoyed the series though!
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for Christine.
344 reviews
July 2, 2013
I had no idea this book was part of a series when I requested it. I had heard from a co-worker that I needed to check out Conn Iggulden’s books, and after reading it I can understand why. I tend to be a real stickler for reading series in order, mainly because so much has happened in previous books, and I tend to feel lost. Not so with The Blood of Gods.

This book immediately captured my attention, and I loved the portrayals of all the characters. I found it very interesting how the author would show an event from one character’s perspective, then do it again from another character. It made me better understand the characters and their motivations, and tied the story together making it easy to understand all the politics at play.

Octavian was a fascinating character, and I enjoyed reading about how he gained the respect of his people and became their leader. Mark Anthony was also well portrayed, and I admired his desire to avenge his friend Julius Caesar. Octavian’s friends, Agrippa and Maecenas, provided good advice and support to Octavian and I liked reading about their friendship and how it endured through all the changes these characters went through.

The story was easy to understand and follow, and I read the book quickly over one afternoon. I am looking forward to picking up other books in the series. I’m sure they will be as interesting and entertaining as The Blood of Gods was!

Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for providing me a copy of this book to review.
Profile Image for Robin Webster.
Author 2 books65 followers
May 31, 2015
‘The Blood of Gods’ is Conn Iggulden’s fifth book in his ‘Emperor’ series. The previous four books were based loosely on the life of the Roman Emperor Julius Caesar right up to his assassination: while the central character in this book is his adopted son Octavian, who later went on to become the Emperor Augustus. The book opens where the last book left off. Julius Caesar has just been assassinated and the young Octavian makes his bid for power and is looking to take revenge on all those who conspired to kill Julius Caesar. ‘The Blood of Gods’ can easily be read as a stand-alone book but in my view it is best to have read the previous books in the series. Like many historical writers, Conn Iggulden does not let historical accuracy interfere with a good story but always states at the end of his books in the historical notes what he has changed for the sake of keeping novel flowing. That said, this is a really good action packed entertaining fast moving novel. Iggulden’s fans will not be disappointed. However, I do feel this should be the last book in the series. In my view, one more book could be compared to a really good singer coming back to do one encore too many.
Profile Image for Zitong Ren.
504 reviews152 followers
December 24, 2018
I liked Wolf of the Plains, but I can say that I genuinely enjoyed, Emperor, Blood of the Gods. This books tales off after the assassination of Caesar and goes through some of the most important events in Roman history such as the formation of the second triumvirate. I greatly enjoyed seeing the Roman world through these historical figures which I found that Iggulden managed to do really well, making them not just historical figures, but rather bringing them to life as real people who lived two thousand years before us. Really good historical novel. 9/10.
Profile Image for Lejla.
219 reviews27 followers
February 25, 2016
This book is so well written that I regret when I finally came to the end of it. I wish I just could keep reading. I can't wait to start reading his serial about Genghis Khan.
6 reviews2 followers
November 28, 2016
All I can say is I loved this book and the series. Conn you are reaching the heights of David Gemmell. Yes I said it .
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