Megan's Reviews > The First Man in Rome

The First Man in Rome by Colleen McCullough
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's review
Jun 25, 2010

really liked it
bookshelves: 2013-read, epic, historical-fiction
Read from May 30 to July 15, 2013

Whew! 2 months later I can finally put this book to rest. It was quite the endeavor.

Rome is alive in McCullough’s novel. She is an amazing writer and researcher. I’m incredibly impressed with the amount of detail she put into this book. There is a true sense of reality because she didn’t skim over important details to keep her plot moving. Daily life in Rome is explained, which helped me understand why certain political and military decisions were made and how they were perceived by Romans and non-Romans.

Also, the cast of characters are just so intriguing! I didn’t know a great deal about Marius or Sulla but their stories are amazing. Sulla repulsed me at times, but he was supposed to. Also, the role the Julius Caesar family plays is just fascinating and helped me better understand the historical significance of the coming Empire. Also, the side characters from Metellus Piggle Wiggle, Publius Rutilius Rufus (and his awesome letters), Scaurus, and so many more are very well developed (and hilarious), and I enjoyed reading about their roles in Marius’s story.

The reason I’m giving this book 4 stars vs. 5 stars is that I did get a little bored at times. I felt that some of the military battles felt a little long (more the preparation than the actual battle) and the descriptions of every small detail had me skimming. Sometimes I just didn’t care about how a certain house was set up and why. I understand some people want to read all of these details, but I didn’t. Also, sometimes I got a little confused about the structure of the republic from the senate to the plebs to other positions of power in Rome.

Overall, I loved this book and would recommend this to someone who finds Ancient Rome as interesting as I do. However, I still believe that I, Claudiusis the BEST historical fiction I’ve ever read. Also, I'm partial to McCullough's The Thorn Birds It can be a bit melodramatic but I can't help it!

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Reading Progress

05/30/2013 marked as: currently-reading
07/15/2013 marked as: read
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