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.
Historical novel set in ancient Rome.
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
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.
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?