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(The Damned Emperors #2)

4.25  ·  Rating details ·  76 ratings  ·  18 reviews
'Astonishing . . . A fascinating, detailed and dramatic story of one of Rome's most notorious emperors' SUNDAY EXPRESS

Commodus is a brilliant, thrilling novel about one of Rome's most intriguing - and notorious - emperors, for fans of Simon Scarrow, Conn Iggulden, Christian Cameron, Ben Kane and Harry Sidebottom.

Rome is enjoying a period of stability and prosperity. The Em
Kindle Edition, 512 pages
Published April 18th 2019 by Orion
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Amalia Gavea
Yes, the world Simon Turney has built faithfully depicts the dubious greatness and certified corruption of Rome. Commodus' character is multi-layered. And that's pretty much about it. Everything else seems detrimental. Turney must be so in love with his verbose style, patting himself on the back. The problem is that he has constructed a hybrid of dialogue based on contemporary speech and terrible anachronistic exclamations. Because I don't believe that a Roman Emperor would actually say ''Shit'' ...more
My knowledge of Commodus is largely limited to the Gladiator movie so I found this particularly interesting. The perspective on this infamously megalomaniac emperor is provided by the freedwoman Marcia, who shared Commodus' childhood and his later life. She knew him better than anyone. Marcia's story is intriguing in its own right - and on more than one occasion turned my blood cold - but the larger than life, charismatic Commodus, Hercules reborn, dominates this tale of an emperor who was loved ...more
Keith Currie
Aug 26, 2019 rated it really liked it
I, Gladiator

The second of Turney’s series, The Damned Emperors, focuses on Commodus, the errant son of Marcus Aurelius, best known for his appearance as villain in the film, Gladiator. The ancient sources depict Commodus as essentially feckless, more interested in fighting in the arena than in ruling an empire. His reign is seen as a turning point in Roman history with the age of the ‘Good emperors’ over and the decline about to begin.

This novel follows the patchy historical record quite closel
Paul Bennett
Nov 10, 2019 rated it it was amazing
full review soon
OK, first things first: this paperback edition has 482 pages. Not the 300-odd that Goodreads thinks it has.

Secondly, it's a really good book. I'm going to guess that a lot of us first heard of Commodus through the film 'Gladiator', where he's portrayed as a creepy, whiny brat who wants to marry his own sister. And reading this book, I did find it a little weird seeing him described as having golden hair because I automatically have the mental picture of (dark-haired) Joaquin Phoenix in my mind.
Jun 26, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Thanks to Orion and NetGalley for the Advance Review Copy in exchange for an honest review.

It’s not very often that a Classics themed book appears on NetGalley but when they do, I hit that Request button with the power of a thousand fiery suns. I wasn’t familiar with Turney as a writer before reading this novel, but I've added Caligula to my Audible wish list on the strength of this novel.

This book is a historical fiction novel about the Emperor Commodus. If you’re like me, you’ll be thinking
Unseen Library
Jul 09, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I received a copy of Commodus from Hachette Australia to review.

Acclaimed historical fiction author Simon Turney catalogues another infamous ruler of Rome in the second book of his The Damned Emperors series, Commodus.

Rome, 162 AD. The Roman Empire is in a rare period of peace and stability, with two brothers, Marcus Aurelius and Lucius Verus, both ruling as Emperor. The future also looks bright, as for the first time in Rome’s history, two male heirs have been born to a ruling Emperor. However,
Rose Gan
Jan 18, 2020 rated it did not like it
What a tedious read. Quite an achievement to make the reign of Commodus boring, but Turney succeeds. It’s also very poorly written. Turney has a very poor grasp of grammar and syntax. I lost count of the times he confused I and me, he and him, who and whom, amongst other errors, strange for someone who purports to be steeped in the Classical world. I doubt he knows any Latin.

As with his slightly more engaging Caligula, the narrator of the story was a bland woman who miraculously found herself p
Oct 02, 2019 rated it liked it
SJA Turney is the author of my favorite series, Marius Mules, so I've read nearly every book he has written. The style of this one was a bit different and although I really enjoyed Caligula I just couldn't get into this book. It's hard to explain why, but there were times I just felt like things were glossed over that I would have wanted to hear about, while the things I was reading I didn't have interest in. Especially the parts with Cleander since he happens to be a main star in the Praetorian ...more
Dilys Guthrie
Jun 23, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Once again, an amazing read! Commodus from a personal point of view. Someone who grew up with him, lived through the pivotal times in his life and helped us understand what made him the emperor he was. Was he a megalomaniac, or just a man who wanted to be loved? Simon does a fantastic job of taking you right inside the life and mind of the man and the people closest to him. For those of you who know his other books you will have recognised the "nod" towards Rufinus. For those of you who don't, p ...more
Gayle Noble
Commodus - megalomaniac or misunderstood? Giving one take on the question, this historical fiction book shows the reader a view of Commodus through the eyes of Marcia, his childhood friend and eventual mistress. No stranger to manipulation and acting in cold blood herself, even Marcia is chilled by some of Commodus' actions. Can she save him from himself?

After reading Caligula by the same author, I knew I had to read his book about Commodus and I was not disappointed. This word 'epic' can somet
Jun 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I wont go into detail about the story as i dont want to spoil the book, i see so many reviews that give 80% of the story away and it spoils it for the reader in my opinion. I loved this book, I enjoyed the story and i felt connected with the characters. The story was a real page Turner and infact my other half kept needing to tell me to put it down and go to sleep, I was gripped. Pleaseantly surprised and brilliantly written, highly recommend, another 5* book from Simon.
Daniel Kukwa
Nov 04, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: general-lit
Am I not entertained? You bet I am -- I went to bed with this book early just to finish it (I mean devour it) as quickly as possible. This is the kind of sweeping, emotionally exhausting historical epic that I long for, and Simon Turney delivers the goods in spades. It will certainly discombobulate anyone who has an image of Commodus based solely on the film "Gladiator".
Diane Chilton
May 28, 2020 rated it liked it
I did not enjoy this book as much as Caligula by the same author. I started to loose interest about 2/3rds of the way through . I think it's because I found Marcia, the narrator very unpleasant. I would have liked a lot less information about Marcia and a lot more about Commodus. For a book titled Commodus he plays a remarkably small part.
May 12, 2020 rated it really liked it
TW: sexual abuse (but good book)
Aug 27, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
May 05, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Commodus by Simon Turney is my sort of historical fiction - people who actually lived - with their lives told in an intriguing and interesting way, bolted around known 'facts' and not a little imagination to bring the character alive!
This is the first book I've read by Simon Turney but it won't be the last.
The story is a well-told tale of a Roman Emperor who, I must assume, has a bit of a bad reputation. This is a sympathetic account of his rule, and I doubt I'll be the only person who finishes
Austin Grant
Aug 18, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Devastating, tragic, heartbreaking.

I was led to this book after reading Simon Turney's novel Caligula. Having a greater interest in the Julio-Claudian period of Rome's history, I did not think I would enjoy this novel nearly as much as Caligula. To the contrary, however, I found Commodus to be very gripping, affective, and moving, shedding light on an emperor whom history has largely condemned by history.
The novel's protagonist Marcia maintains an involved, but still believable part of the narr
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Alternate publishing name for author S.J.A. Turney ...more

Other books in the series

The Damned Emperors (2 books)
  • Caligula (The Damned Emperors #1)

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