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Publisher's Summary

"The First Man in Rome was not the best man: he was the First among other men who were his equals.... To be the First Man in Rome was something far better than kingship...."

In the first century B.C. at the height of the Roman Republic, two men set their sights on becoming the First Man - the Roman more respected than any other. Marius, a heroic man of strength and means, lacks the noble blood to contend for the First Man, but overcomes his common status when he marries into the patrician house of Caesar. Sulla, a pleasure-seeking aristocrat without money of his own, is transformed by his ambitions into a fierce and daring warrior. Together the two men will shape history as they are thrust into a raging storm - engaging in deadly political contests and waging far-off wars for a state battling to hold on to its enormous power.

Rich with unforgettable characters and unerring historical accuracy, The First Man in Rome is a vivid tale of power, treachery, and a great Republic hurtling toward civil war....

©1990 Colleen McCullough (P)2003 Recorded Books, LLC

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What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 4.1 out of 5.0
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Performance

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Story

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MASSACRE! DON'T BUY ABRIGED BOOKS!

Would you recommend this book to a friend? Why or why not?

The abriged version has ruined this creative work--made it unoriginal and boring in presentation-- like hearing Cliff Notes! I bought and read this book years ago. To read it made me feel as though I were living in Roman times. The characters were so fascinating and alive! What a wonderful study of their culture.

How would you have changed the story to make it more enjoyable?

To make it enjoyable, I would change Audible's story by having the performer read the whole damn book by one of the best authors ever! Will you butcher The Thornbirds like you did this book? The abrigment left out the creativity of the author!

It is like someone decided to abridge one of Shakespere's plays! How stupid!

What three words best describe David Ogden Stiers’s performance?

powerful, flexible, focusing

If this book were a movie would you go see it?

Definitely, I would see the movie. Visual information would enhance what can not be read in abriged audibles.

Any additional comments?

The performer did the best he could with what he had to work!

I WILL NOT BUY ANY ABRIGED AUDIBLES EVER AGAIN!

42 of 42 people found this review helpful

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I don't recommend this audiobook

This book wasn’t for you, but who do you think might enjoy it more?

I actually think this book WAS for me, but the abridged version was confusing and flat. It wasn't the book or the plot as much as what I believe was left out of this audiobook version that left me dissatisfied with the purchase.

Would you ever listen to anything by Colleen McCullough again?

Yes. But not an unabridged version.

Have you listened to any of David Ogden Stiers’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

I think he is a fine actor and narrator. Again, I think it was the material that I disliked.

What character would you cut from The First Man in Rome?

LOL...no! Don't cut anything or anyone else from this book! It is a mess as it is. The characters were well crafted but I'm sure in the original and unabridged version they are "fleshed out" a bit more and probably very interesting.

Any additional comments?

Such a disappointment. I am going to Italy and hoped to listen to this on the plane. As it happened I zipped through it so I could buy something else that had a little more substance to it.

13 of 13 people found this review helpful

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Abridged edition disappointing

Too much of the story is missing, Difficult to follow.

Not a bargain .

9 of 9 people found this review helpful

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Abridged

I loved the book when I read it but the abridged version is too short. I wanted the whole book. I wish I had noticed before I bought it.

9 of 9 people found this review helpful

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Why no unabridged option?

This is the first book from my favorite series of all time. Well read, but why don't we get the option of an unabridged version? I'd pay more.

16 of 17 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

ABRIDGED - CUT-- --PRUNED-----A GRADE-SCHOOL SUMMARY

If you disliked the books, purchase these Audiobooks - Abridged by Removing the work of the Authoress. Colleen McCollough's "First Man in Rome" Series is the greatest work of historical fiction -period. The research, breadth and scope of the work is truly incredible. These Audiobooks are truly crap

7 of 7 people found this review helpful

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Why Abridge?

Would you say that listening to this book was time well-spent? Why or why not?

I generally listen while cooking and found this book an excellent companion. Stiers is a fine reader and an appropriate one to the material.

What did you like best about this story?

As a student of history I find the novelizations help me to visualize the personalities of history and the times in which they lived.

Have you listened to any of David Ogden Stiers’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

No.

Was The First Man in Rome worth the listening time?

Certainly.

Any additional comments?

I suppose the abridgments are done as an economy however I find it a shame and a distraction.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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  • Jean
  • Santa Cruz, CA, United States
  • 09-01-14

interesting historical novel

If you are interested in Roman history this is a good book to read. The author tells a vivid story of two men who served in the Senate in ancient Rome. McCullough illustrates in all-encompassing and extensive detail, an image of life of the upper echelons of Roman society that is wholly believable. She not only describes how meaningful a sagum is to a Roman soldier, but also tells of domestic industriousness of Julia, matriarch of the Caesar’s household. A complete historical education of the time period is interwoven by way of anecdotes, digressions, and dialogue such that a fabulously rich and complex historical novel results. The author’s research for the historical novel is amazing; the book is more or less historically accurate.

The book revolves about its eponymous hero, Gaius Marius, Rome’s ablest general and a man destined to be a six times a Consul and his wife Julia, a beautiful aristocrat of the Juli Caesar family. (She is Julius Caesar’s aunt. Julius is a baby at the end of the book.) The other key person is the young Lucius Cornelius Sulla form the core of the story. The author masterfully illustrates through a story centered around the two men, the place of women in ancient Roman civilization, with the women of Julian family figure prominently as well. The author is terrific when writing about women. McCullough losses the story’s momentum when she is describing the politics of the time. The two men served together to win the war against Numidia (Africa) in 107 B.C.E. and held off the Cimbri and Teutonii Germanus tribes invasion between 103-102 B.C.E. Even though one man is a liberal and the other a conservative they are able to put aside their political difference to work together for the betterment of Rome. This is the first book of a series about Rome.

The book was narrated by David Ogden Stiers. This is my second book by McCullough the first one I read by her was “The Thorn Birds”.

7 of 11 people found this review helpful

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Nicely abridged

Would you listen to The First Man in Rome again? Why?

Yes - I like the story

Any additional comments?

This was nicely abridged. Sometimes when a book is abridged they do not do it well, but in this case they were successful

4 of 7 people found this review helpful

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Best narrator I've ever heard

David Ogden Stiers is, by far, the best narrator I've heard in the many, many audiobooks I've listened to. He has the ability to create distinctive voices and holds to those distinctions consistently throughout the book. He also brings the characters alive with subtle quirks of expression and adds a great deal of texture and life to a book which is very well written, but abridged so heavily as to be in danger of sounding like a bullet point essay. I've listened to four books read in this series and none of the narrators have displayed this ability to this extent. I heartily recommend both the book (unabridged, for Colleen McCullough's clear, uncluttered but evocative prose and pacing), and David Ogden Stiers's excellent reading of this shorter version.