A must read for fans of Republican Rome and great writing.
A sequel to "The First Man of Rome", following the careers of Marius and Sulla. If possible, read "The First Man of Rome" before reading this.
"McCullough is terrific...Her characters quiver with life" --The New York Times Book Review
"Wonderful...Epic...These are characters we care about." --People
From the back cover:
Throughout the Western world, great kingdoms have fallen and despots lay crushed beneath the heels of Rome's advancing legions. But in this age of magnificent triumph and barbaric cruelty, internal rebellion threatens the stability and survival of the mighty Republic. And an aging, ailing Gaius Marius, heralded conqueror of Germany and Numidia, longs for that which was prophesied many years before: an unprecedented seventh consulship of Rome. It is a prize to be won only through treachery and with blood, pitting Marius against a new generation of assassins, power-seekers and Senate intriguers--and setting him at odds with the ambitious, tormented Lucius Cornelius Sulla, once Marius's most trusted right-hand man, now his most dangerous rival.
This book is the sequel to "The First Man in Rome" and proves that a sequel can be just as good as the first. The characters are so vivid that if you saw them on the street, you would immediately recognize them. Another great aspect of this book is the use of Latin - you will learn so much about our language by seeing the origins of words in actual use. While this book can be enjoyed without reading the first book in McCullough's Rome series, I suggest that you read them in order. The histories of the characters will provide more insight and interest as you read through the remaining books. Feel free to email with questions. ~LeAnn
Historical novel set in ancient Rome.
Excellent book and as unbelievably successful in characterization and plotting as the first in the series. I've reread this several times and I never tire of the dogged determination of Sulla and his rivalry with Gaius Marius. Sulla is the true hero of the first 2 books, IMO, and while young Julius Caesar begins to get the god treatment from McCullough that tended to drag down the later novels a tad, this is truly Sulla's book. McCullough's handling of all the intricate details of Roman life and politics are amazing, and I'm sure even a newcomer to the world would find themselves sucked in. I mean, sex, politics, murder, war... What's not to love?
Volume two of McCullough's triumphant Roman series. The First in Rome (1990) initiated the chronicle of the edgy partnership of new-man-in-Rome Gaius Marius and aristocrat Lucius Cornelius Sulla during the German wars. Here, the calamitous last hurrah of one and the violent pinnacle acts of the other twist through years of Italian wars, expeditions into Asia Minor, domestic trials and brief happinesses, terrible cruelties, and politics, always politics, in which sectors, families, and the famous fight for power--by diplomacy, manipulation, alliances, or the simple art of murder. By now (roughly 80's and 90's B.C.) Marius is in his 60s and escaping a ``dull'' Rome to scout Asia Minor and sniff out the purposes of the barbarian king Mithridates of Pontus. The king will be faced down, and, some years later, Sulla, in a spectacular expedition over the Euphrates, will face him down again. Meanwhile, in the Senate there is a movement to enfranchise the sophisticated neighboring Italians, a movement snapped off by an assassination and a polarizing of ruling powers--and, inevitably, there's war. It is the overwhelming victory over one of the Italian tribes that brings Sulla his highest honor (the Grass Crown). Surely he is now equal to the great general Marius, now crippled by a stroke and attended by the boy Gaius Julius Caesar Junior, his wife's nephew. (Yep. The very same.) Marius intends to fulfill an old prophecy- -that he will be elected Consul for a seventh time. The inevitable conflict between Marius and Sulla explodes during an ongoing battle to dilute the power of the Senate elite. There will be a march on an unarmed Rome, screaming grabs for ascendance from an unhinged, dying Marius, and a raving Sulla, plus bloody deaths...and deaths...and deaths. Again, magnificent portraits of real beings. And, again, gamey politics, bright talk, great scenery, and gore. With glossary and maps. (Literary Guild Dual Selection for November) -- Copyright ©1991, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
This novel is a continuation of the "Rome" series of books, of which this novel is the second. The first was "the First Man in Rome". Again, and with feeling, this is the best series I have ever read in my entire life! The words compulsive and fascinating are simply too flat and characterless to do justice to this series. If I was ever stranded on a desert island with only one thing to read for the rest of my life it would be this series of novels, they are that good.
This novel continues where the first left off and covers the decline of Gaius Marius, both in power and in faculty, and the meteoric rise of Sulla to the heights of power, and the titanic struggles that these erstwhile comrades ignited in the Roman world as their relationship slowly shifted from allies to enemies as each began to seek his own self-aggrandizement at the expense of the other. This is a fabulous book, and I found Sulla every bit as interesting as I did Marius, particularly since he was a more complex person with his difficult and impoverished youth, his cunning such a youth created, his difficulty with interpersonal relationships, his homosexuality, and the way he had to absolutely sublimate all of this in his quest for power.....and yet at the end, despite his more unconventional beginnings than Marius and his personal traits and habits (despised by most Roman senators), he is the far more conservative of the pair. Marius is born of rural and conservative roots but becomes a demogogue and populist, while the homosexual party-animal Sulla evolves into a rabid conservative along the lines of a Pat Buchanan. It's a lot of fun!
Excellent read! In depth political historical drama. This book takes a close look at Sulla and Marius. Interesting characters and very believable with any historical inaccuracies not affecting the enjoyment of the dramatic story line.
Second in Colleen McCullough's Masters of Rome series, this is the story of the declining days of Gaius Marius and the rise of Lucius Cornelius Sulla. Written, as always, in a vivid descriptive style that brings ancient Rome to life for the reader. McCullough's research is solid but this is fiction. She fleshes out her characters lives utilizing informed conjecture, making this a real pageturner against the backdrop of Roman history. I loved every book in this series and have read them all multiple times. Highly recommended if you like history and biography.
Excellent read! The Grass Crown is another outstanding effort by Colleen McCullough. I just couldn't stop reading even though the book is as long as First Man in Rome. Now I want to read the next two books which I have on my shelf. The reader continues interfacing with Gais Marius and Lucillus Cornelia as they compete to become Rome's general! I do like the way each chapter focuses on one character (sort of) while continuing the story. But this one has so much blood and gore that it makes one queasy at times. War and more war! I am so glad that I did not live in Rome during this period of its history. Nevertheless, a reader on gr assures me that the following two books are just as good as First Man and Grass Crown. This is in truth an In depth political historical drama. Sulla and Marius are interesting characters and very realistic. My enjoyment of this dramatic story equals that I felt with First Man in Rome.