A must read for fans of Republican Rome and great writing.
This was an excellent book - the first by McCullough that I've read. Although there are two in this Rome series prior to this one, I was comfortable starting with this book (and skipping the other two on very, very early Rome) as the author has an excellent summary at the beginning of the book on the historical events of the previous two novels. I can't wait to read the final two in the series!
This is the third book in the "Masters of Rome" series, and it's just as delicious as the first two. The characters are deep, moving and memorable. As with the other books in this series, the story includes plenty of human emotion, politics, sex, complex relationships, battlefield drama and multiple plots set in a time when modern means of communication had not yet developed. It's interesting to see how lives were dictated each day without the element of the Internet, TV, radio or newspapers. While this book contains a thorough introduction to the first two books in the series, I highly recommend that "The First Man in Rome" and "The Grass Crown" are read before reading this one. Feel free to email with any questions. ~LeAnn
From Library Journal
The third installment in McCullough's magnum opus (after The First Man in Rome , LJ 9/15/90, and The Grass Crown , Morrow, 1991) continues her chronicle of the decline of the Roman Republic and the impending rise of the Roman Empire. The novel's events are dominated by Sulla's return from exile and subsequent installation as Rome's first dictator in almost 200 years; Pompey the Great's machinations as the wealthy provincial, which clears his own path upward through Roman politics; and the maturing of Gaius Julius Caesar, who will ultimately set Rome upon it's imperial course. These three are "Fortune's favorites." Painstakingly researched, McCullough's Roman saga is like a trip through time. Her characters come to life as do their surroundings. While giving us rollicking good fiction, McCullough has also made clear the bribery and chicanery that made up Roman politics. She has given us clear insight into how Rome found itself changing from a republic to an empire. Highly recommended.