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Publisher's Summary

Continuing the epic story begun in his <>i>New York Times best-selling novel Roma, Steven Saylor charts the destinies of five more generations of the aristocratic Pinarius family, from the reign of Augustus to height of Rome’s empire.The Pinarii witness the machinations of Tiberius, the madness of Caligula, and the decadence of Nero. The deadly paranoia of Domitian gives way to the Golden Age of Trajan and Hadrian - but even the most enlightened emperors wield the power to destroy their subjects on a whim.

Empire is filled with the dramatic, defining moments of the age, including the Great Fire of 64 A.D, Nero’s persecution of the Christians, and the astounding opening games of the Colosseum. But at the novel’s heart are the choices and temptations faced by each generation of the Pinarii. One becomes the plaything of the notorious Messalina. One becomes the lover of a Vestal virgin. One falls under the spell of Nero, while another is drawn to the strange new cult of those who call themselves Christians.

While the Pinarii struggle for survival, they also search for meaning. Some cling to the worship of the gods who made Rome great. Others explore the mysteries of astrology, follow the teachings of the wiseman Apollonius of Tyana, or celebrate the beautiful youth elevated by Hadrian to the status of a god.

However diverse their destinies, all the Pinarii are united by the mysterious gold talisman called the fascinum handed down from a time before Rome existed. As it passes from generation to generation, the fascinum seems to exercise a power not only over those who wear it, but over the very fate of the empire.

Friends, Romans, countrymen, lend us your ears: listen to another Novel of Ancient Rome.
©2010 Steven Saylor (P)2010 Macmillan Audio

Critic Reviews

"Saylor...vividly describes how the family survives the volcanic destruction of Pompeii, the burning of Rome, and the persecution of Jews and Christians." (Publishers Weekly)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • 4.2 out of 5.0
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  • Overall

Very well done!

I enjoyed this audio book production...the author Steven Saylor is one of my favorite historical fiction writers...I would probably have enjoyed a more robust, mature narrator however...such as Charlton Griffin!
Overall, a great listen and a great read! Thanks Audible.com and Mr. Saylor...keep of the good work!

6 of 6 people found this review helpful

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  • Kathleen
  • Spruce Grove, Alberta
  • 05-01-12

I came, I Saw, I Downloaded

If you could sum up Empire in three words, what would they be?

History, Rome, Power.

Who was the most memorable character of Empire and why?

As in "Roma" the Fascinus (the winged penis pendant heirloom) is my favorite. Even though it's not exactly a character.

Any additional comments?

A perfect addition to the book Roma by Steven Saylor.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

4 and a Half Stars

This was a fantastic book. I enjoyed the writing, I learned a lot about Rome that will stick with me. Each emperor was distinct and so well written that I will remember them easily now. The history seemed right on. I do however like having an author's note at the end to explain what was fact and what was not. I really liked the reader as well. He was superb. If you like historical fiction you will find this book interesting. I read Roma when it came out and it was really enjoyable as well.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

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Slow to start

I almost gave up on this but I am so glad that I didn't. It turned out to be engrossing Good narration. Loved it

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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Well Done.

Any additional comments?

Overall I thought it was a great title and definitely worth the time it took to listen. My only gripe (and this is minor) is that I thought it ended a bit strangely at the beginning of a reign instead of the end, but then again, perhaps the author is looking at a sequel, which I will be glad to purchase. :)

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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thin on history, thick on sex abuse

This book started off well I thought, there was a great description of ceremony at the college of augers and I liked how the narrative used claudius to clue in the politics in much the same way the Rome HBO series used Octavian. But then the story just moves from one scene of sex abuse to another without anything else of note happening for HOURS. Sorry, no. ICK . I got the first book in this series years ago that was read by John Lee. All I remember about it was the rediculous and endless description of a winged phallus and the idea that if I had to hear John Lee over- enunciate the word Roma one more time I would die.

I shouldve heeded the warning the winged phallus offered, this story is not for me.
I lasted longer on this one because the performance was excellent. Too bad the story lacked substance.

3 of 5 people found this review helpful

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Fantastic follow-up to Roma

I'd love to see the story of the Penarii and/or the fascinum amulet go on.

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Read Roma then stop!

I read Roma and it was fantastic! So I read Empire. It was milk toast at best. Save your money.

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  • AlexIndia
  • Fort Worth, TX, United States
  • 09-09-15

Great sequel to Rpma

I have been reading / listening to a great many books on Rome and Ancient history for a presentation I plan to give in 2016. Even though this is a novel, it helped allot to set the real emperors names and dates in order in my mind so I could picture them.
The only critical remark I will make is that the main characters don't seem to have much depth as they did in Roma. But Empire was a really great book, so I strongly support reading it.

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  • Massimo
  • Birmensdorf, Switzerland
  • 05-23-12

Story over several generation

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

yes, do some which are intressted to the day to day live a roman aristocracy

What other book might you compare Empire to and why?

non

Did James Langton do a good job differentiating all the characters? How?

Yes he did, but some passages are little boring

Who was the most memorable character of Empire and why?

Apollonius of Tyana which seems a be a little magic and a kind of philosoph

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  • The Wolf
  • 05-02-16

Epic listen, mostly really good

I've read some of Saylor's stuff in the past and enjoyed it so when I saw this very long audiobook for the princely sum of one credit I knew it would be good value.
And it is! It lasts for a long time so will keep you going until the next credit rolls in. But is it any good?
Yes, for the most part it's well written, has interesting characters and is almost a history lesson without becoming boring or dry.
It follows one family, from generation to generation, as they deal with the various emperors and great events that shaped the mighty Rome. It's all set within Rome itself and it's mainly about people and political events, so don't expect battles or heroic centurions. This is no Ben Kane or Douglas Jackson book but it works, mostly, just as well as something more action oriented as it's so interesting and so well read - the narrator really does a fine job.
The one downside for me was the fact a) everything is rather bleak and depressing, with lots of descriptions of people being tortured for fun while the people lap it up like rabid dogs and b) there's too much emphasis on the sexual appetites of everyone. It seems like everyone in Rome was either a sadist or a nymphomaniac which might be true for all I know, but it doesn't make for the most exciting book. At times I felt like it was too depressing and I just longed to listen to some throwaway, light fantasy or something fun by the likes of Terry Pratchett.
But, overall, this is a fine audiobook - great value for your credit, with a nice performance by the narrator James Langton, and, in general an interesting and nicely structured tale.
Give it a try!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Jac
  • 07-08-13

History made simple

What made the experience of listening to Empire the most enjoyable?

The combination of historical fact and fictional family story make this a really easy way to brush up on Roman history.

What was one of the most memorable moments of Empire?

The evocation of the fire at which Nero supposedly serenaded as the city burned. some interesting ideas about who and why the fire was started.

What aspect of James Langton’s performance might you have changed?

Found the female voices irritatingly coy and "twittery"

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

I found the story easy to listen to while doing other things and also easy to pick up if left for a few days.Not a listen that you needs 100% concentration.

Any additional comments?

As long as you take some of the "facts" with a pinch of salt this is a really entertaining listen. Not for scholars of Roman history perhaps but for those of us who have long since forgotten everything except the debauchery of Caligula and the vanity of Nero,it is a great reminder.

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • Lotten
  • 03-17-16

Big time disappointing!

Would you try another book written by Steven Saylor or narrated by James Langton?

Since I've been recommended his serie "Roma sub rosa" from friends whom I usually like the same books as I want to try one of those before giving up on Saylor but if it's anything like "Empire" I'll never try another.

Would you listen to another book narrated by James Langton?

I think so. I have nothing against the narrator but it's hard to be fair when I really disliked the book so. That's why performance got 3 stars and the story 1.

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

I had high expectations based on recomendations of his "Roma sub rosa" books and since he studied history. I was very disappointed about how this book focuses so much on the sex, gore, madness and humiliation and affirms cliches that are known to be historically inaccurate. I don't expect every detail in an historical fiction book to be right but this was to much. I really tried to listen through and hoped it would be better but realist I was waisting my time.

Any additional comments?

I'm glad Audible has a system for refound wich I will use for the first time now.

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  • Mr David Cartwright
  • 06-24-15

A sweeping historical inter generational saga

Would you consider the audio edition of Empire to be better than the print version?

Not better but every bit a good - more Steven Saylor on audio please

Any additional comments?

A really good start which gripped me within a few minutes and it didn't let up. I know Steven Saylor's work quite well and was delighted to see this title available from Audible but disappointed there are no more of his Roman novels available too. A really well read and thoroughly absorbing story narrated over a timescale greater than one lifetime.

1 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • Adam
  • 07-31-17

Brilliant Sequel to Roma

If you could sum up Empire in three words, what would they be?

Amazing, historical, brilliant

What other book might you compare Empire to, and why?

Roma, Empire is the sequel to Roma and you probably need to read/listen to it first

What does James Langton bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you had only read the book?

He brings the language and people of Rome to life

Did you have an emotional reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

More laugh than cry. Steven Saylor books always take me to ancient Rome

Any additional comments?

Get it, and let Audible know to put more Steven Saylor in their library