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

Narrated by: Paul Blake
Series: Emperor, Book 3
Length: 17 hrs and 35 mins
4.3 out of 5 stars (538 ratings)

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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)2014 Audible, Inc.

What listeners say about EMPEROR: The Field of Swords, Book 3 (Unabridged)

Average Customer Ratings
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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.

20 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

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.

11 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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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.

8 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Why? Why? Why?

Why?! Why?! Why?? Why does this happen every time in Conn's books? For the first few books there is a speaker who you get used too and like, and then by the third or fourth book the narrator changes! This narrator did a fine job, but he pronounced names differently then the original narrator, and in some cases different then any pronunciation I've ever heard.

This story is excellent (if not exactly historical) and I can't wait to listen to the next one. My only complaint is the changing of narrators.

5 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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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.

5 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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Overacting

Would you try another book from Conn Iggulden and/or Paul Blake?

I will never listen to another book from this narrator

How did the narrator detract from the book?

The narration was terrible. It was so distracting. There was so much overacting and emphasis on words that did not need to be emphasized. It sounded like like someone was doing a parody of a Reading. Also he could not pronounce the characters' names properly. It Is Servilia not sewilia and Octavian not Octawian. I stopped listening after an hour because I couldn't take it anymore.

4 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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ridiculous narrator. ruins great story.

the story is captivating but the person reading it on audible manages to make every word grate on my ears. he also pronounced "V" with the "W" sound. for example Octavian was read "octa-wee-an". this was especially terrible because this is the 3rd book in the series so as readers we already know how the characters names should sound. please re-record this book with the same narrator as book 2!

2 people found this helpful

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    1 out of 5 stars
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Horrible reading of an excellent book

In the hundreds of books I've purchased from audible, this is the worst performance of any book I've heard. Words are butchered and names we've become familiar are butchered. This the third and final book I will have in this series and find it even more galling I'll have to finish the series if I can find time to read it.

2 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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Awful Performance

What did you like best about EMPEROR: The Field of Swords, Book 3 (Unabridged)? What did you like least?

I enjoyed the continuation of the story from Books 1 and 2, the characters and plot are interesting and captivating. The new Narrator failed to listed the the previous book and came across like a pompous jerk while pronouncing "v" as "w" and many s-sounding "c"s as hard "k" sounds. It was distracting from the entire plot as I had to figure out who he was actually talking about.

How could the performance have been better?

Listen the previous readings so names are pronounced uniformly through the series.

Any additional comments?

I am dreading the performance of Book 4 by the same narrator, but I like the story.

2 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Excellent Story

Listened to this book after the first two in the series. Biggest annoyance was pronouncing character names different than in the first two books. Otherwise and enjoyable book.

1 person found this helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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  • Alex
  • 09-12-10

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.

52 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Tumpline
  • 12-28-10

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.

30 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Mertaal
  • 01-21-15

Annoying change of narrator.

What made the experience of listening to EMPEROR: The Field of Swords, Book 3 (Unabridged) the most enjoyable?

There really is nothing wrong with Paul Blake, but why OH WHY can a new narrator in an ongoing series not listen to at least a small extract of the previous books, and attempt to emulate the pronunciation of names?

Who is Octawiun? (previously the more common Ocvavian)
Who is Serwillia? (previously the more common Sevillia)
Who is Carbora? (previously pronounced Caberra)

I have no idea if Iggulden uses something other than the standard Anglicisations of these common Roman names (the first two at least), but either way, consistency is important in a series of audiobooks.

9 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
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  • Paul
  • 11-15-11

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.

19 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Mrs. S. P. Taylor
  • 12-01-15

Spoilt by narrator

Where does EMPEROR: The Field of Swords, Book 3 (Unabridged) rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

Way up in the list

What did you like best about this story?

The mix of fact and the private lives of the historical figures

Did the narration match the pace of the story?

The narration is absolutely awful and you have to wonder why Paul Blake wasn't told how to pronounce some of the names i.e. who on earth is Carto (Cato?) Clowdius (Claudius?) He also fails to distinguish between the characters with any change of voice so that you are never sure who is speaking. One of the worst faults is his lack of understanding of where the punctuation should be i.e " The ground fell away. Below the line of trees ......." which also makes the story difficult to follow. Bring back Robert Glenister please!

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

In spite of the narration faults yes but only because of the superb writing

Any additional comments?

Conn Iggulden is brilliant with his blend of fact and fiction. Have not yet been disppointed with anything he has written.

8 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Kendal
  • 06-11-15

Love the story but wish the reader wouldn't change

Epic tale set in ancient Rome. Hard to adapt to a new voice actor though

7 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Ian
  • 06-03-15

Excellent story. Prefer Robert Glennister narrator

This followed on excellently from previous book but I found it off putting changing the narrator.

7 people found this helpful

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    1 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Mr. D. P. Judge
  • 03-27-14

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.

15 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
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  • National Hunter
  • 05-20-10

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

24 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Richard
  • 12-22-10

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.

17 people found this helpful

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  • Won
  • 11-05-15

Change of Narrator Mid Series Not a Good Idea...

Is there anything you would change about this book?

We as readers, understand there there are certain historical inaccuracies in the narrative (to add to the drama) so why would they bother to attempt to make the names historically accurate given a precedence established in two prior books in the series?

Why, given as this is now the third book in the series, did they bother to change the pronunciation of names, Sevillia to Serwilia or Octavian to Octahwian and the continual use of the soft C for Cicero as Kikero not the usual pronunciation of hard C sounding Sisero. Ariowistus??

Was this a narrator choice or a production choice to make a majority of the names sound like old vaudeville jokes. I can understand trying to give some validity to the ancient Latin pronunciation of the letter V but given that the names had already been established in the previous books and current pronunciation in the world in general is to use the V as we do now not as a W, it just proved to ruin the narration

If the producers of this reading wanted to use REAL Roman names they should have used Octavianus not Octavian. If they wanted to use the real Latin pronunciation of Julius, they should have made it sound as it was.. Iulius Kaisahr (YOO-lee-us Kye-sahr).

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

Given the previous brilliant readings Book 1 and Book 2, I am at a loss to understand why they changed narrators for Book 3, and in doing so, why the narrator of this book (possibly under producers direction) seemed to change the past intensity of the readings to be a breathless rushing through the book/narration

Any additional comments?

.

7 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Susan
  • 03-08-16

Not as good as 1 and 2

The overall story wasn't as engaging. The narrator didn't help as he pronounced many names differently and also I didn't like his the way he read with big in-takes of breath.

I'm going to continue on with the series but I'd like the narrator from books one and two back.

1 person found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Anonymous User
  • 09-13-20

reader issue

I liked the narrator of book 2 a lot better than this guy. Obviously this narrator did not listen to book 2 at all and he pronounced so many of the names differently in this book. Annoying to hear so many characters have their names pronounced completely differently from one bokk to the next. Love the story though.

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    2 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Anonymous User
  • 07-28-20

Awful narration spoils a great story

I guess this is one that I send back. This is a pity as this series was my top of all time having read the series a number of times in hardback. Back to reading the books instead.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Anonymous User
  • 07-15-20

Fantastic book

Very good book, great detail and very gripping. However many of the names of people and places were pronounced very strangly and could be a bit frustrating. Perhaps thats how they could have been spoken, i am unsure. Overall really good.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Grant Dempsey
  • 07-01-20

Doesn't get any better

It is always rewarding when a series gets better and better and this is certainly the case here. The author does a fabulous job crafting Ceaser's charisma, skill and drive. A terrific tale superbly written. My only disappointment was the narrators style was different to the previous books in the series.

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Anonymous User
  • 03-09-20

Great author, let down by narration.

Conn Iggulden is a master story teller. The narrator really let him down on this one, by using strange emphasis especially on characters names. He also does not seem to have researched the correct pronunciation of words which appear in the narrative, whether they be latin or common English. The narration jars tje listener and takes you out of the story.

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    1 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • scott harland
  • 12-24-19

Let down by pronunciation

I love this series and have read it numerous times in hard copy but this audio version was ruined by the pronunciation of two of the main characters names - I just struggled to get past it. I fear it will be the same in one other volume as well...

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • mary
  • 10-28-19

Hail Caesar

Well developed and interesting characters. Well researched and rich in historical detail. A good tale, well told.

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Amazon Customer
  • 04-07-19

Terrible Narator

After how good the first two books were, I can't for the life of me figure out why they changed it to this pompous fool. He can't settle for a pronunciation of names, and the ones he did are completely different to the original way of it. His whole tone is completely wrong as well. Feels like a melodramatic theatre show, over the top weird accents that take away completely from the gritty nature of this story. Can not stand it, had to stop listening and go back to reading only now.