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EMPEROR: The Field of Swords, Book 3 (Unabridged) | [Conn Iggulden]

EMPEROR: The Field of Swords, Book 3 (Unabridged)

Julius Caesar has taken his legions north into mighty battles with the Gallic tribes. But as his successes mount, overwhelming ambition and new alliances begin to threaten his friendship with Marcus Brutus, brother-in-arms and fellow warrior. Although the conquest of Gaul has made Caesar a hero all over again, his victories on the battlefield cause still more rivalries at home. And ultimately Caesar and Brutus will have to choose whether to cross the Rubicon - together or singly - and to take the fight to Rome itself.
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Publisher's Summary

Julius Caesar has taken his legions north into mighty battles with the Gallic tribes. But as his successes mount, overwhelming ambition and new alliances begin to threaten his friendship with Marcus Brutus, brother-in-arms and fellow warrior. Although the conquest of Gaul has made Caesar a hero all over again, his victories on the battlefield cause still more rivalries at home. And ultimately Caesar and Brutus will have to choose whether to cross the Rubicon - together or singly - and to take the fight to Rome itself.

©2005 Conn Iggulden; (P)2008 BBC Audiobooks Ltd

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.2 (163 )
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4.0 (125 )
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  •  
    Danny Burnie, Australia 01-09-13
    Danny Burnie, Australia 01-09-13 Member Since 2010
    HELPFUL VOTES
    4
    ratings
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    2
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    "How To Ruin a Good Story"
    Is there anything you would change about this book?

    The narrator.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of Emperor?

    The frustration at such appalling narration.


    Would you be willing to try another one of Paul Blake’s performances?

    Never.


    Could you see Emperor being made into a movie or a TV series? Who should the stars be?

    Its been done.


    Any additional comments?

    I REALLY enjoyed the first two volumes of this series, narrated by the excellent Robert Glenister. Eagerly, I purchased volume 3, despite some minor concerns about the change of narrator. Quickly it became apparent that I should have listened more carefully to my intuition. I was prepared for the changes in character voices; how could it be otherwise? But it got worse.Blake is enragingly frustrating in his insistence to mispronounce accepted character names. Servilia becomes "Sir Whillia"; Pompey becomes "Pompeii"; Cato becomes "Carto"; Octavian, "Octarwhian" and Catiline becomes "Carterline and then, within the space of a single paragraph, "Carterleenie". Its astounding that Blake has not yet (I haven't managed to get to the end of the story) found bizarre and previously unheard pronunciations of Caesar and Brutus.Here's advice for future consumers who have the choice: listen to and love the first two volumes of this excellent series - thereafter, buy the books.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Carlyn Seattle, WA, United States 12-03-11
    Carlyn Seattle, WA, United States 12-03-11 Member Since 2008
    HELPFUL VOTES
    4
    ratings
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    7
    1
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    0
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    "Where's the consistency?"
    Would you try another book from Conn Iggulden and/or Paul Blake?

    I'm a big fan of Conn Iggulden, but this is the second series of his (Genghis Khan is the other) that I've abandoned after a narrator change. Paul Blake may be a great narrator, but the lack of consistency between books 1-2 and 3 (and apparently 4) is unbelievably jarring. Blake, when reading dialogue, is bearable; his overracting during text is unreal.


    Would you be willing to try another one of Paul Blake’s performances?

    At this point, probably not.


    Was Emperor worth the listening time?

    The series itself is wonderful, and the first two books were performed very well. I'll just be going paperback for the last two.


    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Colleen Wendell, NC, United States 04-10-12
    Colleen Wendell, NC, United States 04-10-12 Member Since 2003
    HELPFUL VOTES
    4
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    6
    3
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    "Great story, annoying read"
    Would you listen to Emperor again? Why?

    Yes, the story is good


    What didn’t you like about Paul Blake’s performance?

    I HATED the narrator's performance. He has an annoying habit of mispronouncing certain of the character's names; for instance, Octavian becomes Oc-tay-wee-un, Servililia becomes Ser-will-ee-ah, Cicero becomes Kickero. At first I thought he had a lisp until I noticed he could pronounce the V in victory. By his logic, Caesar sould have been pronounced Keeser but he did not pronounce it that way. What gives? It was very jarring and even in the last few minutes of the book I was still fuming at each mispronounciation, wondering why the producer did not correct this in the beginning.


    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jennifer Scappoose, OR, United States 01-23-13
    Jennifer Scappoose, OR, United States 01-23-13 Member Since 2011
    HELPFUL VOTES
    2
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    "The reader is horrible."

    Loved book one and two and the reader. Book threes reader makes me was to go insane.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jim Boston, MA, United States 10-09-11
    Jim Boston, MA, United States 10-09-11 Member Since 2007
    HELPFUL VOTES
    126
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    "Great tale and great reader"

    I'm not sure what all the caterwauling is about Paul Blake as narrator. He's a great actor and his pronunciation, while it may be difficult for some listeners, is technically correct since he pronounces Vs like Ws and Cs like Ks. I agree that a publisher switching from one narrator to another is a bad idea in a series like this. Nonetheless, Paul Blake is very capable and brings these fun, if not historically accurate, tales to life. A 5 star read (listen) all around.

    2 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Mark S. Traub Westchester, NY USA 08-22-14
    Mark S. Traub Westchester, NY USA 08-22-14 Member Since 2005

    Mark T

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Fine centerpiece of the sequel damaged by narratio"
    What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?

    Had the narrator of the first two books read it. I wouldn't have spent hours wondering who 2 of the main characters were. Carto and Serwilia? Just pronounce them as written, please.


    What did you like best about this story?

    The character of Caesar is so visceral, he is truly sympathetic. Iggulden was able to do this with Ghengis as well, to his great credit.


    Would you be willing to try another one of Paul Blake’s performances?

    I have to, to continue the series.


    If you could play editor, what scene or scenes would you have cut from EMPEROR: The Field of Swords, Book 3 (Unabridged)?

    Some of the politics while Caesar is offstage can be tedious, but it is necessary knowledge to understand just what is going on in Rome.


    Any additional comments?

    Iggulden has quickly become one of my favorite authors.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Barbara POTTSTOWN, PA, United States 03-18-14
    Barbara POTTSTOWN, PA, United States 03-18-14 Member Since 2012
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    46
    10
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    "I am close to giving up on this series"

    Again, the same performer with several mispronunciations and irritating tone. I am not usually critical of performers but this person just did not do his homework. If he was reading the next volume, I would be stopping here. The story is generally good though I felt it was disconnected at times, and again the historical inaccuracies were bothersome.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    William London, United Kingdom 01-11-14
    William London, United Kingdom 01-11-14 Member Since 2011
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    1
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    "Terrible Narration"
    Would you try another book from Conn Iggulden and/or Paul Blake?

    Loved the first two books in the series and more so with Robert Glenister doing the narration.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of EMPEROR: The Field of Swords, Book 3 (Unabridged)?

    The most memorable moment was the first half-hour into the book when I knew there was know way I could stand listening to Paul Blake doing the narration. It was torturous listening to Paul Blake narrating the book after following the action with Robert Glenister in books 1 & 2.


    What didn’t you like about Paul Blake’s performance?

    Bland: It reminded me of years ago when 'books for the blind' where read (monotone) and the narrator would use the same voice for all the characters. There are some brilliant narrators out there; disappointingly I have no desire to finish the series listening to this chap.


    What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?

    Disappointment - I was looking forward to following the series with Robert Glenister


    Any additional comments?

    I was reluctant to purchase this book after reading the review given by Danny from Burnie , Australia 1.09.13. I thought he may have been a bit 'harsh' and what suits one person isn't necessarily going to be the same for another. After writing this, I'm going to ask Audible to allow me to exchange this book for another one, possibly narrated by Nick Boulton.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    M. Raymond Walter Monte-Carlo 12-18-13
    M. Raymond Walter Monte-Carlo 12-18-13 Member Since 2003
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    4
    1
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    "Change in narrator … spoils the flow"
    If you could sum up EMPEROR: The Field of Swords, Book 3 (Unabridged) in three words, what would they be?

    Joining the queue of disappointing readers, I too think that Paul Blake's narration SPOILS THE ENCHANTMENT of the Emperor series ... Where I couldn't put the Robert Glenister narrations down, enthralled with the story and his virtuoso narration, now I can barely pick Paul Blake's narration up ... feels too much like punishment to be either enticing or enjoyable ...


    Who would you have cast as narrator instead of Paul Blake?

    Robert Glenister was fantastic as the narrator of the Emperor books 1 & 2 ... Now it is very hard to get used to the bombast and pedantry of Paul Blake ... For example, Octavian for Blake becomes Octa-WEE-an ... maybe Blake enjoys showing off his Latin expertise, but the book was written in English. Very hard to adjust to a narration virtually devoid of the subtleties (range of voices and expressions) that were the strength of Robert Glenister in his stunning narration of books 1 & 2 where characters are easily recognized by voice tones alone.


    If you could rename EMPEROR: The Field of Swords, Book 3 (Unabridged), what would you call it?

    Penitence ... not sure I can get through this one.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Tony Burlington, ONTARIO, Canada 06-28-13
    Tony Burlington, ONTARIO, Canada 06-28-13 Member Since 2010
    HELPFUL VOTES
    83
    ratings
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    183
    46
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    "ROMAN PLOTTING !"

    I have read the first three books now in this series and have enjoyed all three. If you like Roman history, intrigue, battles, relationships then go ahead and get into the series. If you like historical accuracy then pass on the EMPEROR novels. There is plenty of literary license on the part of Conn Iggulden but what the heck this is 'fiction' not history. I've enjoyed the development of Gaius and Marcus and the twists and turns that their lives have taken and intend of listening to the last novel before moving on. The debate on the performance of Paul Blake is tiresome. Yes he does pronounce the names of many of the characters differently from common usage and that of his predecessor and yes it is 'Gauling' but his overall narration is fine.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Showing: 1-10 of 15 results PREVIOUS12NEXT
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  • Alex
    Sandhurst, United Kingdom
    9/12/10
    Overall
    "Extra word on previous review"

    As the first reviewer said there is a real culture shock if you have listened to the first two in the four part series read by Robert Glenister, one of the well know acting brothers, and then move on to part 3 read by Paul Blake. The narrator has a speech impediment, nothing to be done about that, but unfortunately it makes it sound like a parody of the first two, like Michael Palin in Life Of Brian. I persevered but found my mind wandering every time the seemingly joke voice said one of the character names. It didn't get any better and it was the same in the fourth book in the series.

    As well as the speech impediment, and the way he changed the pronunciations of the names from what seem the obvious way to read them, the narrator has the habit of forgetting which voice he is in. In the fourth book there is a scene of a female character looking at herself in a mirror and bemoaning the ravages of time. The way it is read is like a general making a speech to his troops on the eve of battle. Not at all suited to the material, and unfortunately this is a regular occurrence

    My guess is the publisher couldn't get, or maybe afford, Robert Glenister to do 3 and 4 but I feel they could have done much better in their half time substitute. Like the previous reviewer I was very disappointed after a great first half and I would advise caution on the part of anyone considering parts three and four. The narration really does spoil good books.

    6 of 6 people found this review helpful
  • Robert
    Carlisle, United Kingdom
    12/28/10
    Overall
    "Excellent despite poor narration"

    Being the third book in the series of four, this wonderful story was spoiled somewhat by a change of narrator from the first two parts. I gave the first two books a 5 star rating, due in no small part to the efforts of the narrator Robert Glenister. This new narrator appeared hell bent on changing Glenister's pronunciation of names (erroneously in my opinion) and made little or no attempt at different voices to distinguish the characters. It says a lot for the quality of Mr Iggulden's writing that I made it through to the end.

    5 of 5 people found this review helpful
  • Richard
    derbyUnited Kingdom
    12/22/10
    Overall
    "Frustrated..."

    I didn't read the reviews beforehand but purchased this third installment simply on the strength of the first two which I thought were extremely well written and brilliantly narrated making the long commute to work so much more bearable (my thanks Mr Iggulden/Mr Glenister).

    In hindsight I believe I would still have made the purchase however after eventually finishing this book I now fully understand the frustration of the previous reviewers. In fact I was so disappointed in the narration that I do not think I will be purchasing the fourth (unless I can find a version using a different narrator or find time to read the hard-copy).

    In summary: Personally, the constant re-winding of the audio after realising that the names of characters and places etc are not new but simply old names etc being pronounced differently confuses and spoils an otherwise great book.

    A real shame.

    5 of 5 people found this review helpful
  • Bruce
    Abbots LangleyUnited Kingdom
    10/23/10
    Overall
    "Disappointing after the first two Emperor books"

    I've thoroughly enjoyed listening to the first two Emperor books. They were excellently narrated and enthrawling. Sadly, the third book, 'Field of Swords' is narrated by someone new. He pronounces every name and place differently and articulates even well known Roman phrases incorrectly. It's infuriating and spoils the book. Why wouldn't the narrator listen to the pre-quels to keep the language consistent?

    5 of 5 people found this review helpful
  • Paul
    Warwickshire, United Kingdom
    11/15/11
    Overall
    "Good book ruined by narrator"

    After listening to the first two books excellently narrated by Robert Glenister I was really looking forward to this. It always takes a while to get used to a new narrators voice but I soon got used to Paul Blake. However, I am struggling to understand why he has to change virtually all the name pronunciations. This is well documented in other reviews. Why didn't he go the whole hog and change "Caesar" to "Cesaaar".
    A real shame.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  • Paul
    LLanrwst, Conwy, United Kingdom
    9/19/10
    Overall
    "How to pronounce names."

    After listening to the two previous excellent books in this series, this was a stunning reversal of standards. Mr. Blake, the reader, mangled the names of the central characters into a farce. Julius was OK but Jupiter became Hupiter,Octavia is now Octawea, and it wasn't just names of characters. Ostia is Oastia, the gladius became the glardius, (but not all the time). It spoiled a good story, detracting from the build up of the plot.

    7 of 8 people found this review helpful
  • David
    Wirral, United Kingdom
    5/20/10
    Overall
    "who is this narrator!?!"

    I've never had this experience before, I've read nearly 200 books from audible and have heard people complain about the narrator spoiling the book but not until now. I bought all 4 of the books of this series in one go, the first two were absolutely excellent so by the time I get to the 3rd, the characters feel like my friends. Then all of a sudden this bloke turns up and starts calling Servilla; Sir Willa, Octavia; OctaWia, it takes me some time to realise Cabrera isn't a new character at all because of his pronunciation and he makes Brutus sound like a 50 year old drag queen instead of a battle hardened veteran in his late 20's. I'm already waivering and my mind wandering, there's no way I'll finish this book. You'd have thought the narrator would have listened to some of the previous books to see how the characters had been announced, shocking stuff

    6 of 7 people found this review helpful
  • Mr. D. P. Judge
    UK
    3/27/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Narrator"

    Such a shame, I really enjoyed the first two books but they have changed the narrator on the third one and I'm sorry to say he's terrible. I can't even listen to the whole book.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Tony
    BROADSTAIRS, United Kingdom
    3/24/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "How to spoil a series!"
    What did you like best about EMPEROR: The Field of Swords, Book 3 (Unabridged)? What did you like least?

    I have enjoyed the previous two books in this series and looked forward to the third. How disappointed I was when I heard the strange new voice hashing well known names to such a point that I thought there had been a mass of new characters introduced. I understand that narrators change but surely who ever produced this audio book must have auditioned Mr Blake and realised he was pronouncing the names differently and that this would cause confusion and disrupt the flow from the previous books. Saying this I will stick with it as I want to see how Conn Iggulden combines the facts with fiction in the future books of the series.


    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Clive
    Milton Keynes, Bucks, United Kingdom
    3/2/11
    Overall
    "What's the fuss?"

    I was apprehensive about the change of narrator having read previous reviews, but the more I listened to Paul Blake, the more I enjoyed him and looked forward to his company on my daily commute. I think his characterisation is excellent and really adds to the drama of the story. It would have been nice to retain one narrator for all four books, but it's not the disaster others are suggesting. Having done Latin at school, I think Paul Blake is technically more correct with 'Serweelia' and 'Octawee-an', but I accept it comes as a shock after Robert Glenister's renditions. Having said that, I couldn't get used to 'Car-borough'!

    Putting narrators aside, the story itself is gripping and Iggulden's transformation of Julius from an idealistic and impressionable young patriot to a monster who will sacrifice everything and everyone to fulfil his lust for power is so subtle and believable. I genuinely hope that we get a film trilogy out of this at some point.

    If you have started with Robert Glenister, he's a great narrator, but don't write off Paul Blake. he may not be everybody's cup of tea, but the story is too darn good to be put off by the subjective opinions of others.

    3 of 4 people found this review helpful
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