This audio is one of the best historical fiction books I have ever read or listened to. It has the best of what the historical fiction genre should be..Show More » - a great point of view, well-imagined historical figures who are fleshed out to become real people, thorough research that doesn't get in the way of the story, broad sweep that also narrows down to individual stories. The narrator was excellent - his female characters were good, too - and the story was gripping, causing me to gasp aloud a few times, even though I thought I knew the story of Julius Caesar quite well. If you liked HBO's "Rome," you'll love this - it's like getting the backstory. Just a great example of historical fiction - I'm on to the rest of the series and looking forward to reading more Conn Iggulden.
thin characterizations, focus on fights and battle
Colleen Mcculough's Rome series is way more 3 dimensional. It is at the same time more enjoyable as fiction and more historically accurate. This boo..Show More »k is ok, the performance is very good, were it any less good I wouldnt have bothered with the story. The narrative likes sword... um gladius strokes, way more than politics, or social history. I would estimate the word "gladius" is used 300 times in the first two books of this series, which I bought together.
There are no real discriptions of places, neither homes nor forts nor markets, there are no holidays or festivals, there are no debates. The one time we are invited to dine there is no food and no conversation, just the assertion that children should be still while eating and that Aurelia has a medical condition. This is what I mean by thin. The characterizations of men seem limited to how good they are at violence.
Aurelia, who is a favorite character in first man in rome, is reduced to a shadow, and a nasty one at that. Its the totally fictional bit players here that add interest for me. The historical figures are cardboardy. I dont see that this will get repeat listens
Having said all that, its not terrible, I am listening all the way through and I have not yet decided if I will finish the series, but that has more to do with the lack of new offeriings I want to hear just now than because I really like it. I wish audible would get the rights to sell the rest of the Mccullough books unabridged. And I cant wait for January when the new Ruso book comes out from Ruth Downie.
I am offering the comparison so that other listeners will understand my definition of great historical fiction. I know lots of people will see this as action packed and thrilling, its just not my favorite kind of thing
Once, ancient history was torrid current events. This tale tells of Caesar's early career including his role in the Spartacus slave rebellion, and is..Show More » packed with great characters. Voicing the flawed heroes, depraved villians and the odd innocent bystander the narrator gets it just right too. The others in this series are definitely on my listening wish list.