©2007 Colleen McCullough; (P)2008 BBC Audiobooks America
I found this book to be totally engrossing. With the exception of "October Horse," I've now read (or, as is the case with this book, listened to) all of the volumes in the Masters of Rome series. I was not in least disappointed.
As the story began, I initially thought Octavian to be a wonderful, sensitive charater, Marc Antony to be a cad, and Cleoptra a tragic queen. Over time, Octavian turned out to be a brutish, though masterful manipulator of events and people, Marc Antony became an even more egotistical, maniacal, bumbling cad, while Cleopatra couldn't seem to reconcile her lust for power with her lust for Marc Antony. On the whole, I found the characters to be multi-facted and complex.
Lastly, I thought the narration was excellent. At no time was I disturbed by pronunciation or ennunciation. Voice characterizations were consistent throughout and excellently performed.
Overall, I highly recommmend.
Just a reader
As ever, Colleen McCullough captures the very flavor of an ancient culture. Anyone interested in the lives and events of the Roman Empire should be fascinated, as I was, with this and all her novels of that world-changing city-state. The sense of adventure is a constant in her telling of history and the characters have distinct personalities. Just when you start feeling a familiarity with one, their response or actions in a given circumstance will sharply demonstrate how different the thinking and mores were. This is one of the most thoroughly enjoyable historical novels I have ever read. For readers who agree with me, I also heartily recommend "First Man in Rome."
I don't think I would only because it was very long, and complicated.
I am a history buff so I enjoyed the details in the book, things that are not usually entered in the shorter works.
I think she did a great job with Marc Anthony, Caesarian, and Cleopatra.
There were many, otherwise I could not have finished and enjoyed this "big" book.
If you like history and are not afraid of lots of detail you will like this book. It helps that the narrator was easy to listen to.
I have read all of the Rome series, and was sad that the author did not plan to write this seventh book. But now I wish she had not. I found the characters shallow and the plot flat, I listened to the end but this book is not up to her standards.
I have to admit that I didn't get that far into this book before deciding that the dissonance of the narrator's American accent swamped my determination to differentiate and get to know these characters.
Contrast the narration of Antony and Cleo to the brilliant performance of Simon Jones reading Robert Harris's Imperium series -- or don't, as Simon Jones and his ilk are so much better at bringing characters to life through nuance in speech that comparison would be odious. The best of the British readers are able to define a great deal about a character by dialect and patois, making it much easier to keep track of a vast cast in a long story. In my experience listening to "Rome-themed" books, American narrators who would be perfectly acceptable reading a contemporary novel rarely ring true reading characters from ancient history. I found myself having to rewind again and again to recall who was speaking, and I finally gave up. It didn't help that the story wasn't immediately compelling.
I really enjoyed the entire "Masters of Rome" series by Colleen McCullough. This book is definitely near the bottom in the series. Both due to the storyline as well as the characters involved.
This story is a tragedy in real life and in novel form.
I very much liked Octavius. His development started in the prior book at Caesar's death and progresses well during this book. He is a very likeable person and seems to be growing into becoming an enlightened leader.
This book is a male-driven book. Cleopatra's role is secondary. Using a feminine voice to narrate is wrong and severely detracts from the quality of this book. Whoever made that decision should be fired.
Its not called ANTONY and Cleopatra for nothing.
This story is too big for a single movie. It would require a series. Antony and Cleopatra: Rise of the Emperor
I really enjoyed the entire Masters of Rome series. This book is the weakest of the series because it does not revolve around the rise of a single character. The book is split among Antony, Octavius, and Cleopatra. No one character predominates so the storyline wanders too much. The prior books are able to develop the character of the lead to a great depth. That lack of depth, despite the size of this book, limits the readers enjoyment.
Yet I very much enjoyed watching Octavius growth and development.
I recommend the book. Just be warned the narrator detracts from the enjoyment.
The story was dull, flat. And the reading was drooooning. I loved the First Man in Rome. I gave up on this after 4 hours.
I really enjoyed the unabridged version of First Man of Rome (not available anymore) I considered it historical fiction at its best. Just enough detail to make it seem like I was learning something but at the same time very entertaining.
This is the only other non abridged book in the series but I didn't care for it at all. It felt more like a romance novel. (Not that there is anything wrong with a romance novel if that is what you are into :) It felt like a synopsis of what was going on historically with descriptions of encounters and clothing thrown in. Not for me.
Fascinating, engaging, magnificent.
Cleaopatra, of course. She is such a complex character. Hardly the whore the Romans made her out to be, she is brilliantly intelligent, wise beyond her years, cunning, devoted, talented, a great ruler who cared about the welfare of her people, sexy without being pretty, charming, and tragic. Without the benefit of beauty, she uses her wit and
She doesn't over-do voices but manages to make them distinguishable. She reads at the right pace and has great inflection.
Livia Drucilla. I found her to be another capable woman, but I'd like to know more about the Augusta.
This story has been told a million times, but this is the best-researched, most accurate, best written, and most compelling version of a great romance and key period in the development of Western Civilization. It's not just about Antony and Cleopatra. It's also very much about Octavian (later Augustus Caesar) and the period of Roman history when Rome transformed from a republic to an empire.
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