It is a supremely learned, painstakingly researched, and exquisitely written book about a fascinating part of ancient history. It is a true classic and like a work of Shakespeare, doesn't need to be compared to other books in my opinion. Everyone agrees on its definitiveness on the subject, and to boot, it uses an incredibly large vocabulary which I love. As someone who reads mostly non-fiction, this is one of the best books I have come across.
There are thousands of characters in this work of course but Commodus was one of the crazier emperors whose maltreatment of the office makes the reader shake his or her head in disbelief. If you are dissatisfied with your elected politicians, read this book and praise your good fortune for being born in such benign times.
Sarpor, the Persian king, lived in such splendor and oriental opulence that it really transports the reader there.
I felt relocated to the ancient times, several times during the reading. I think this is an amazing achievement for a non fiction book. It really is a riveting story....
This is not light fare. I am reading for a second time and plan to give it a third listen. The text is extremely dense and you will miss much. I see this as an advantage, as each repeated listening feels like a new book. As I drop little anecdotes from the book into my conversations, people start to regards me as someone with deep knowledge of history which is very good mileage for the time I spent I think. I recommend this to anyone who wants a thriller that actually happened.