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

4.27  ·  Rating details ·  4,450 Ratings  ·  144 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
ebook, 800 pages
Published November 26th 2002 by Simon Schuster (first published November 2002)
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Feb 10, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Styler Ribarovic
Jan 23, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Ahmad Sharabiani
The October Horse: A Novel of Caesar and Cleopatra (Masters of Rome, #6), Colleen McCullough
عنوان: کلئوپاترا و سزار؛ اثر: کالین مک کلو؛ ترجمه: هادی عادلپور؛ مشخصات نشر: تهران، سمیر، 1392، شابک دوره: 9789642201921؛ شابک جلد 1: 9789642201907؛ شابک جلد 2: 9789642201914؛ موضوع: داستانهای نویسندگان استرالیایی، قرن 20 م
Deborah Pickstone
Caesar has dominated most of this series. His death way before the end of this volume would have seemed a disaster if it weren't for the story racing onward with such vigour that I was fast caught up in the aftermath. My only real sadness is that there is only one more volume to go. Ms McCullough had intended to end here but was apparently chivvied by her readers to go on with the story of Antony and Cleopatra.

I found her theories, especially the medical ones, most interesting and pretty compell
Oct 17, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: h-hf-ancient

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
Mar 30, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
May 21, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: novels
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
This historical fiction series is worth reading- stick with it. The reader gets the non-fiction, the real characters set in the author's personal creative landscape where she recreates the characters and invents a few fictional ones in a setting that could make this a compelling read. You will meet the young Octavian who changes dramatically into this new person after his adoptive father's (Julius Caesar) death. Octavian grows and rises into the Emperor Augustus Caesar.
The story of Julius Caesar
Lisa (Harmonybites)
Apr 29, 2010 rated it liked it  ·  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
Taylor Pandolfino
The period of the Late Roman Republic was no doubt one of the most dramatic in European history, with men such as Caesar, Pompey, Cicero, Antony, Brutus, and Octavian, and women such as Porcia, Servilia, and the Pharaoh Cleopatra all prominent movers and shakers at the same time, in relation to one another. The events between 48 BCE—and indeed, well before that fateful year—and 42 BCE—and of course, well after that consequential year—would shape the course of Roman history forever. It was truly ...more
Roman Clodia
After the brilliance and sheer storytelling magnificence of the previous five books, this one comes as a disappointment. Caesar is getting older and while he's reached the pinnacle of Roman politics, he finds himself disillusioned with what that means, frequently frustrated and increasingly short-tempered. And as her hero runs out of energy so, too, does McCullough.

For me, this is a book of two parts: the run up to Caesar's assassination, and then the aftermath. McCullough who's always had a ro
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
Vicki Cline
Oct 18, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: roman-fiction
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
David Elkin
Jan 10, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Highly recommended. I am thrilled so got the chance to write one more volume. She explains some of her decisions and certainly is not following "the Bard" in the end of Caesar. You really should read the Masters of Rome in sequence, but the book will stand by its own merits as well. Colleen was certainly one of the great novelist of the late 20th century, and she will be missed.
Dec 10, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.
Maria R
Mar 27, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Twayne Tur
May 20, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Jun 07, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: review

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
Jul 19, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Clif Hostetler
May 01, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: novel
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
This particular book in the series was something that I was looking forward to since starting the series. I was excited to finally read about Caesar and Cleopatra and their epic story. So of course I built this up a little bit in my mind, but I was very very disappointed. The characters aren't really portrayed that well, Caesar is kind of a jerk, Cleopatra is portrayed as kind of stupid, which I don't believe and there was no "love story" really between them. I know that this book is supposed to ...more
Apr 24, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
If you've gotten so far as book six of the Masters of Rome series, what needs to be said?

Brilliant historical detail. Giants of history brought to life. Fascinating side-stories.

The sixth book in the series does not enthrall me as much as earlier novels. The period of history covered during this novel is less interesting to me, as are the characters. The series was at its height during the Marius and Sulla novels, skipped along during the Caesar-focused novels, and falters a little with the loss
Dec 06, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
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
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
Mar 15, 2013 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: historic-fiction
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
Sep 16, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
McCullough still brings all her amazing skills intertwining story-telling and history to this book, but to me it feels like this series is really beginning to lag. Part of this isn't her fault; after all, she can't really prevent her most interesting characters from dying when it's what happened in real life! But their loss does seem to make the book lose a lot of its allure. Caesar's death really felt like the death knell for the book and the series as well. Octavian was interesting and it's im ...more
Monique 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
Paula Hebert
Apr 14, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Mar 08, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Sep 07, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
  • The Judgment of Caesar (Roma Sub Rosa, #10)
  • Augustus (Emperors, #1)
  • Defender of Rome (Gaius Valerius Verrens, #2)
  • Claudius the God and His Wife Messalina (Claudius, #2)
  • The Invasion of Gaul (Marius' Mules, #1)
  • The Roman
  • The Eagle in the Sand (Eagle, #7)
  • The Twelfth Transforming
  • Imperium: A Novel of Ancient Rome (Cicero, #1)
Colleen Margaretta McCullough was an Australian author known for her novels, her most well-known being The Thorn Birds and Tim.

Raised by her mother in Wellington and then Sydney, McCullough began writing stories at age 5. She flourished at Catholic schools and earned a physiology degree from the University of New South Wales in 1963. Planning become a doctor, she found that she had a violent aller
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)