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The October Horse: A Novel of Caesar and Cleopatra
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The October Horse: A Novel of Caesar and Cleopatra (Masters of Rome #6)

4.25 of 5 stars 4.25  ·  rating details  ·  3,453 ratings  ·  113 reviews
In her new book about the men who were instrumental in establishing the Rome of the Emperors, Colleen McCullough tells the story of a famous love affair and a man whose sheer ability could lead to only one end -- assassination.
As The October Horse begins, Gaius Julius Caesar is at the height of his stupendous career. When he becomes embroiled in a civil war between Egypt
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ebook, 800 pages
Published November 26th 2002 by Simon & Schuster (first published November 2002)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Brandt
The easiest way to become an expert in the end of the roman republic, and later, the end of Ceasar, is to read this series.
Historical novels always walks a line of historical correctness and entertainment, i thought this series managed to provide both, which is an impressive feat considering the extensive amount of information available for this time-period.

This series follows the most important romans and their families for two generations.
The rise to power of the succesful battlecommander Gaiu
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LemonLinda
McCullough is a masterful storyteller and her love and mastery of Roman history shines brightly in her Roman fiction. This book in her Masters of Rome series gives us the story of Julius Caesar in his prime, the beginnings of discontent within a faction of the Patricians in Rome, the plot and execution thereof to kill him, the rivalry between Octavius and Mark Anthony following his death and the ultimate rise of Octavian, who would eventually become known as Augustus Caesar, Julius Caesar's legi ...more
Styler Ribarovic
This book is a heavy undertaking, but it is lush in scope and a thrilling historical novel.

First off, however, is the subheading of this novel says it is a novel of Caesar & Cleopatra, but it really isn't. That makes up a small part of this huge novel. And secondly, you do not need to have read the previous five novels to grasp this one. I haven't, and I understood this novel quite fine on it's own.

The first 500 pages are brillant historical fiction, detailed to the letter, but still engagin
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Arcadius

This sixth volume covers the tail end of the Pompeian war and Caesar’s brief period of unchallenged power in Rome. I enjoyed it more than the previous three in the series, mainly because McCullough eases up a bit on Caesar as the cocky golden boy surrounded by malignant idiots. They get him here, right enough, but first she finally succeeds in humanising her hero and making him sympathetic. There’s a nice sense of weary futility catching up with a supremely talented man who has finally achieved
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Rusty
In the first portion of the book McCullough helps us know Caesar at the height of his career as the man he might have been. McCullough's take on the romance between Cleopatra and Caesar differs from Shakespeare's as she devles into Plutarch and other sources. Her explanation for Octavian's actions is that he may have had asthma which is more consistent with his personality. Caesar is later murdered by 23 conspirators and the story switches to following the assassians, Mark Antony, and Octavian's ...more
James
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Vicki Cline
This sixth book in the Masters of Rome series covers the period from just after Pompey's defeat at Pharsalus and death in Egypt, through the end of the civil war, Caesar's assassination, Octavian's adoption as Caesar's son, the formation of the Second Triumvirate, and ending with the defeat and death of Brutus and Cassius at Philippi. The section on Cato's trek along the North African coast was especially interesting, although I was disappointed at the lack of a map to accompany the text. The de ...more
Clif Hostetler
I listened to the audio of all the other books in this series back in the early 2000's, but I never got around to this last one in the series. I'll have to do that somtime. I remember enjoying the historical novels very much.

The following short review is from the 2005 Book Lover's Calendar:

THE OCTOBER HORSE: A NOVEL OF CAESAR AND CLEOPATRA, by Colleen McCullough (Simon & Schuster, 2002). In this final volume of her six-book Masters of Rome series, Colleen McCullough follows the final years
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Shelly
The best historical fiction treatment of the turbulent times from the life of Sulla to the ascension of Octavius. One of the best historical fiction series ever, but be prepared to read all of the books once you start, because you won't be able to put them down.
Abra
I reread this series at least once a year; its scope is epic and its detail, minute. Colleen McCullough just died (which means, unless she wrote it already and it is due to be published posthumously) that she is not going to produce the sequel to Morgan's Run she promised. I hate when authors die and their potential future books die with them. Sigh. One of her obituaries has been blowing up on the internet because the asshole who wrote it concentrated on the fact that she was overweight (which h ...more
Manu Prasad

I had read the final book in the series - "Antony and Cleopatra" -earlier, so this turned out to be the last book I'd have to read in the 'Masters of Rome'. That turned out be a good thing because while I liked the entire series, this would be among my top two. An excellent choice of title - borrowed from the ritual of sacrificing the best horse that Rome has. A character compares Caesar to an October Horse during the assassination conspiracy.
The book spends about one third of its pages mopping
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Denise
I've read several of McCullough's books. Lots of information...TOO much information IMHO. She weighs down each book with the names and stories of each person, who they married, what they looked like, who they like/disliked, what kind of personality they had and so on and so on. Makes for VERY heavy books that are confusing to readers who want the landscape and basic characters explained in the first or second chapter and then want the story to proceed. This is particularly true for this book. Th ...more
Paula Hebert
in this the sixth and final book in the series on the roman republic, we follow caesars last years, as dictator, and as defender against the 'boni', the few elite of the senate who don't want to change anything that might alter their priveledged way of life. sound familiar? the boni, of course, try to run the war the way they have run the senate, by arguing themselves into a standstill. caesar, after putting down the revolt, begins the rebuilding, is assassinated, and his heir octavian, with mar ...more
Lisa (Harmonybites)
Aug 08, 2012 Lisa (Harmonybites) rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Fans of Historical Novels and Anyone Interested in Ancient Rome
This is the sixth novel in McCullough's Masters of Rome series, which has been quite a ride. McCullough's prose isn't particularly distinguished, and I've sometimes felt some judicious, nay extensive, cutting would have done wonders for the pacing of these doorstop novels. And the epic scope of these novels begets confusion--it's hard to keep track of her host of minor recurring characters with these mind-numbing Roman names.

Yet I give the series high marks nevertheless--some of the books I rate
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Christin
4 stars up until Caesar dies (um, spoiler?), then it's all downhill from there. Octavius/Octavian/Caesar looks like he's going to fill the void and he was a good time while he was around but he's just not the focus enough to make it interesting. The last few hundred pages (gah!) just meandered around. Honestly, I get that you have to finish off Brutus (spoiler?) but I don't really care. I'd rather hear about Servilia sitting on a spike or something.

Not that she does. :(

(Speaking of. My dad has
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Romilly
McCullough has such a good reputation that I was looking forward to reading this as part of the book discussion in the History group. I was very disappointed. Honestly, I felt it failed on at least two levels: as a novel, and as history.

First, as a novel. Too much span of time to cover in the 700 or so pages allotted and still give a depth of character and action. I would have liked to see an entire novel on Cato's march! It read like a very well-written pop history book.

And therein lies the rea
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Monique
Whew..so finished this monster of a historical novel and can honestly say I was ready for the end..This mammoth reading took over two weeks to process and added at least twenty five vocabulary words to my life from coeval, obdurate, proscribe and many many more..This book in my opinion and remember its only an opinion is too verbose, too long with too many dates, characters, ways to say Roman names, prefixes, suffixes, last names, dynasties, countries and plots to really flow for me but there we ...more
LeAnn
In The October Horse, McCullough intended to wrap up her series on the dissolution of the Roman Republic with the death of two of Julius Caesar's assassins, Marcus Junius Brutus and Gaius Cassius Longinus. First, the title is rather misleading in that Caesar and Cleopatra's relationship is rather minor. However, the October horse is a Roman tradition that takes a page to explain, making it a rather opaque reference to Caesar.

During the Roman Republic, the war campaign season ended in October (wh
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Rick Brindle
This is the only book I've read from this series, but that's OK, you don't need to have read the others to enjoy it. This is a really enjoyably work about Caesar, the end bit. Included are Brutus, Cleopatra, and the setting up of the republic after the stabbing. Interesting that the characters are so different to the way Conn Iggulden portrays them, but you know what, it's all fiction, who cares which one is more accurate? It was a long time ago, enjoy the read.
Bonnie
This was my second reading of this book and I think I enjoyed it more than when I read it the first time. I felt very involved in the story and thought a lot about what Caesar did that caused men whom he had mentored to turn against him as well as the pettiness demonstrated by some of those men. I thought about how the fall of the Roman Republic might have been averted and about what the primary causes were. That didn't mean that I really came up with any answers. There were a lot of causes, amo ...more
!!!angryradish!!!!
If you like ancient Rome and excruciating descriptions of the lineage of various Roman dudes from back in the day, then this is your book. Somehow, I still liked it. I don't know why I like McCullough. I just do. This book is actually the last in a series about Ceasar. I didn't realize that when I bought it, but not reading the preceding 5 novels was not a problem.

Copied from my review of Morgan's Run: McCullough's work is hard to get through as it can be over the top with excessive information
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Amanda
I am an avid egyptologist, adore Julius Caesar, love Cleopatra, and pretty much (metaphorically) devour anything historically and fictionally related to the above. So, when I saw October Horse on the "New Books" stand in the library, I snapped it up. Once I began reading it, though, I felt like I was reading so many other books that had come before it. Nothing new here.
Max Simpson
I personally found this book sad. Julius Caesar was so brilliant! It's debatable whether he made the best decisions for Rome, but from what I've read, he had the best of intentions and a loved Rome deeply! I'm not a professor or a scholar, just a laymen with an interest in History. Please, you may disagree with me and dialog is welcome, but no shitty comments!
Lynn Cooke
Masterpiece Series, Colleen McCullough brings Rome and the Romans to life. I have been reading this series every night for years and just can't put them away. I wanted to get the hardcovers as I have worn out the paperbacks, however I have found the digital books keep much better.
G Hodges
This book ultimately failed for me because, unlike in previous books in the series, the pages don’t come alive unless she is talking about Caesar’s old enemies, like Cicero and Cato, but those moments are few and far between. Even her descriptions of Octavian are not filled with vitality as her descriptions of Caesar were. She leads up to his murder in a rather dull-eyed, plodding way. She seems to have become tired of her subject, now that her real subject is out of the picture. I wanted this b ...more
Elena
Sexto y penúltimo libro de la serie Masters of Rome. En esta ocasión se ocupa de los años de la dictadura de Cesar, su asesinato y la guerra de Octavio y Marco Antonio contra sus asesinos. Al igual que el resto de los libros de la serie es una reconstruccion fidelísima del mundo romano de la época aunque este libro, a mi entender, se hace pesado en dos momentos: la campaña de Cesar en Egipto, que es muy aburrida y las campañas de Bruto y Casio en Asia que ignoro por qué fueron incluidas en el li ...more
Sanna
I've only read the last two parts of the series, but I'm sold! The October Horse was even better than Caesar. Depicting the people and events leading to and after Caesar's murder, McCullough brings historical Rome alive in a detailed, colorful fashion. I had a hard time putting this book down and kept hoping there'd be another page, and another and another...
The introduction of young Octavian and Agrippa could've been more thorough, as they both are future key players of the Roman empire the rea
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Lauren Binley
I can't believe I've finished this series. I've read so much and now have a greater understanding of the complexities of the Roman Republic. I have also learnt about so many more Romans than I previously knew. It will be sad to leave this piece of history but it has now awakened a need to learn more so I expect my bookshelves will start to fill up with more antiquated history than before. I'm going to do a full review of this series on my blog!
Reid
Ahh, the sixth and final book in McCullough's epic of the fall of the Republic. October Horse begins following Caesar's accession to the dictatorship and ends with the deaths of Cassius and Brutus. Everything that made the previous five books in the series so addictive are here as well. McCullough can certainly be said to be consistent, as I would be hard-pressed to determine which of the books is best. These books are clearly far superior to those of Steven Saylor or Mary Renault or Steven Pres ...more
Gaverne
This is not the best book in the series but taken together this is a work of genius.Best book on this period bar none.
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  • Empire (Roma, #2)
  • Hero of Rome (Gaius Valerius Verrens, #1)
  • The Invasion of Gaul (Marius' Mules, #1)
  • Lustrum (Cícero, #2)
  • Augustus (Emperors, #2)
  • Rome: The Eagle of the Twelfth (Rome, #3)
  • When the Eagle Hunts (Eagle, #3)
  • The Course of Honor
  • The Twelfth Transforming
2325
Colleen McCullough AO (born 1 June 1937) was an internationally acclaimed Australian author, born in Wellington in central west New South Wales to James and Laurie McCullough.

Colleen grew up during World War II. Before entering tertiary education, she previously earned a living as a teacher, librarian, and journalist. In her first year of medical studies at the University of Sydney she suffered de
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More about Colleen McCullough...

Other Books in the Series

Masters of Rome (7 books)
  • The First Man in Rome (Masters of Rome, #1)
  • The Grass Crown (Masters of Rome, #2)
  • Fortune's Favorites (Masters of Rome, #3)
  • Caesar's Women (Masters of Rome, #4)
  • Caesar (Masters of Rome, #5)
  • Antony and Cleopatra (Masters of Rome, #7)
The Thorn Birds The First Man in Rome (Masters of Rome, #1) The Grass Crown (Masters of Rome, #2) Fortune's Favorites (Masters of Rome, #3) Caesar (Masters of Rome, #5)

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