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Publisher's Summary

On a small estate just outside Rome in the first century BC, two boys become blood brothers, little imagining the extraordinary future that lies before them. As friends and rivals, Gaius and Marcus are destined to find lasting fame.
©2009 Conn Iggulden; (P)2014 Audible, Inc.

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 4.4 out of 5.0
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Performance

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Story

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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 book 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

17 of 17 people found this review helpful

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to live in Rome

What was it like to live in B.C. Rome. This book gives you the feeling that you are there. Conn puts you in the head of some of the most famous leaders of history. The book is entertaining from start to finish. There are no slow parts, no fillers, no bull. I will be buying the rest of the series.

This being fiction, Conn explains in the end what he did to write the story. I love authors who say something at the end about how and why they write what they write.

I liked the series about Genghis Khan just a slight better, but that is probably because I have always been more interested in China's history then in Rome's. This being the fourth book I have listened to written by CI, I do not believe you can go wrong. So pick which ever history you would like to live in and listen to that.

16 of 16 people found this review helpful

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Another Conn Iggeldon winner

Having finished Iggeldon's six book Conquerer series about Genghis Khan, I was looking forward to having thre Emperor series still ahead of me. My initial thought was that this story can't possibly be as interesting as the story of Genghis, but it holds its own.

I'm writing this review having finished the whole series, and like the Conquerer series I'll rate the Emperor series as a whole, and as a whole it's a great story, well executed, and well performed. It's hard for me to imagine that anyone could possibly read this first book of the series and stop. If you buy this download, I guarantee you'll be buying the next three, and if you haven't read the Conquerer series, you'll be buying six more on top of that. You'll wish there were more.

8 of 9 people found this review helpful

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Fictional History at it best!

Conn did a wonderful job bringing an old story to some new heights. I am not sure how to understand the critics that say this story is not historicly accurate. "Of course it is not completely accurate"!!! That is why it is fiction. Maybe those critics are best to stay with just history and leave fiction to us with a good imagination I love Roman history as much, if not more than anyone...but I also love a good story that mixes both History and Fiction together. Well done Conn!!!

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

Entertainment Value

Some readers have complained that the "order of history" this book is based upon is not accurate. I don't see a problem with that. Fictional books are often written with nuggets of reality and factoids. One must remember that this book is a "work of fiction" and should be read for entertainment value. Folks wanting more accurate versions of reality for thesis quality research should look elsewhere for their timelines.

That said, this is a great book and I'm looking forward to the next Empire series.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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Rome!

Not a fan of historical fiction yet this book this book had me hooked! Also when completed I wanted to learn more about the history.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Un-putdownable

Having read Iggulden's Ghenkis Khan series whilst in Outer Mongolia I see similarities with this series.

The writing is well-paced and well researched and characters are convincing.

I was transported for a couple of days and couldn't put it down.

The narration was excellent and enhanced the experience

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Entertaining

I had trouble warming up to this book, but am glad I stuck with it. By the end of the book. I was enthralled with the characters. I thought they were developed in a way that drew my attention and made me want to read the next book in the series. I liked the epilogue explaining the historical inaccuracies and the writers reasoning behind them.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Entertaining. What I was looking for.

What about Robert Glenister’s performance did you like?

He is one of the top performers I've listened to. Hopefully there is an annual poll that allows us to nominate top voices such as his.

Any additional comments?

Don't get this for historical accuracy. Get it for the entertainment value. It's not sophisticated, and terribly inaccurate, but, with this in mind, it entertained my during my daily commute. <br/><br/>Of particular note, the performance was first rate.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Fantastic Story

I love historical fiction and Conn Iggulden is a master of the genre as he has proven once again with this fantastical tale of Julias Ceasar. Although not much can truly be known of his early childhood, I often wonder how men of such historical significance grew up. Conn Iggulden gives a believable interpretation of the early years of Julias Ceasar and what made him the man he grew to be.
Excellent listen. Thanks Audible.

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • Overall
  • Georgina
  • 03-04-10

Emperor The Gates Of Rome (unabridged)

Excellent. Enjoyed the entire book. Had to pace myself otherwise I would have listened in just a couple of sessions. Well written and well read. Story very easy to follow and the characters were bought to life by good narration. Would recommend to anyone who likes historical novels.

14 of 14 people found this review helpful

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  • Denise
  • 07-09-11

Conn Iggulden rocks!

This was my first taste of a Conn Iggulden novel and I thoroughly enjoyed it. Yes it isn't exactly based on historic fact, as explained by the author himself at the end. He has taken some poetic licence with the timelines and has crafted a fictional account of what Julius' early years might have been like. As there is no actual written account of his childhood the author based his story around what it would have been like for a typical middle class Roman boy and I think he's done a fantastic job. I thoroughly enjoyed Robert Glenister's narrative and I can't wait to listen to the next book in the series. I'm middle-aged and female so probably don't fit the typical demographic of Conn Iggulden readers but as an avid reader of historic fiction and non-fiction I would recommend this writer to anyone who enjoys the same.

12 of 13 people found this review helpful

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  • Tim
  • 03-05-11

Quintissential Car Reading

In their style of writing, certain books complement certain venues - two examples being Dawkins' books for coffee shop reading and Michael Palin's books for holidays. Having listened to many audiobooks in my travels to & from work, I have found few better than the Emperor series for keeping my attention and yet not requiring me to know every detail of the plot.

This particular one was the first one Robert Glenister narrated and it is amazing how, even early on, he has a talent for the voices and a skilful clear narrative. The plot may be a little slow at first, but that is typical of biographical novels, and the action that begins on the third part is well paced and compelling.

Since I have heard all but one of the rest of the series before this one, I would recommend this audio download on its own merits as a good foundation to build the rest of the series on (though the order of reading is not especially important). The Emperor series make for brilliant and engaging adventure novels which help long journeys go by like a breeze!

10 of 11 people found this review helpful

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  • Simon
  • 01-13-16

A Very Sound Start!

Ancient Rome in all its glory and squalor seen through the eyes of two growing boys who are destined to be numbered amongst its most famous sons. A glorious city of great contrasts: fanatical loyalty set against incredible fickleness and the difference between the high value of the lives of the nobilitas set against the cheap, commodity that was a slave or pauper. The great schemes and intrigues of the Senate and the gutter politics of the tavern and barracks.

Gates of Rome is part historical fiction and part a coming of age novel. It follows the two boys Marcus and Gaius from their young childhood through to them taking their place in the Roman world as young men with names as famous as any in history. Iggulden fills in the gaps in known history and as he explains in the excellent brief historical note at the end of the book bends timelines and details to facilitate his story. It is though largely set within a well-detailed and authentic historical environment and follows the genuine history reasonably well.

“Gates of Rome” is a powerful scene setter for what I assume is coming and it is extremely well-read by Robert Glenister who is clearly a sought-after narrator by high quality authors. The characters stand up well and evoke images of the best and worst that the Roman world had to offer. Marius and Sulla are particularly strong as the rival consuls of the city.

The overall package promises much for the rest of the series and I very am very much looking forwards to progressing through the rest of the series.

6 of 7 people found this review helpful

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  • Jon D.
  • 06-26-13

A Good Begining

Robert Glenister does a very good job with the characters in the novel adding depth to the historical figures. The story moves swiftly through Caeser's early years and the action is well paced throughout. If your can't wait for the next Bernard Cornwell novel then this is great in the meantime.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Bennet
  • 11-23-10

Epic

Epic
This simply epic in every aspect adventure, romance, death, history, battles, and it?s all put together by the master Conn Iggulden

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Colin
  • 11-16-13

Very engaging story.

What made the experience of listening to EMPEROR: The Gates of Rome, Book 1 (Unabridged) the most enjoyable?

Before this book I knew nothing of Roman history, it really peaked my interest.

What did you like best about this story?

Fast paced, no slow moments.

Have you listened to any of Robert Glenister’s other performances? How does this one compare?

Very good narrator, on of the best.

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

The very last last sentence. Not knowing Roman history it blew my mind.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • anthony
  • 06-13-11

Emperor

Enjoyed the book but was a bit disappointed when I found afterwards out that the story does not bear any resemblance to what actually happened in real life.

3 of 4 people found this review helpful

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  • Kevin
  • 03-09-11

Great narration simply told

really good story about julius ceasars young days , told really well and isnt too difficult to follow, id recommend this book to simple roman times enthusiasts !

3 of 4 people found this review helpful

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  • ms
  • 12-01-17

superb

brilliant story great history excellent narration hope this author just keeps writing...so much historical fact credible characters thank you on to book 2

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  • Lesley Wilcox
  • 02-19-15

excellent story and narrator to match

always interested in the history and story matched the time
Very enjoyable and the narrator added value - couldn't wait to download the next book

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • Andrew G. Moore
  • 07-27-17

A good story but not good history.

Ripping yarn told with Robert Glenister's usual aplomb.
Spoilt by the author's disregard for historical accuracy with regard to known facts about real people and events.