The year is 53 B.C. Fresh from victory in Gaul, Julius Caesar leads battle-hardened legions across the Rubicon river-threatening Rome herself. Even the master strategist Pompey is caught unprepared by the strike, and forced to abandon his city. The armies of Rome will face each other at last in civil war, led by the two greatest generals ever to walk the seven hills. Thus begins Conn Iggulden's towering saga of Julius Caesar as he approaches his final destiny-a destiny that will be decided not by legions but by his friend Brutus and an Egyptian queen named Cleopatra, who will bear his only son.... For Caesar, the campaign against Pompey will test his military genius and his appetite for glory to their limits, as the greatest fighting machine the world has ever seen divides against itself in a bloody conflict that will set brother against brother until victory or death. But for Caesar, another kingdom beckons-a world of ancient mysteries and languid sensuality, where a beautiful, bewitching woman waits to snare his heart.
This is the fourth and possibly last installment in Iggulden's epic series (see also Emperor: The Field of Swords) chronicling the intertwined lives of Julius Caesar and Marcus Brutus (the author leaves open the possibility of future books involving ancient Rome). Caesar has taken control of Rome, his rivals have been defeated or killed, and he has the Egyptian queen Cleopatra as his mistress. But now new enemies are gathering, especially the estranged Brutus, one of several men who fears that Caesar will declare himself king. This volume features some gripping moments but suffers from poorly defined motivation (e.g., Brutus appears petty) and strained dialog (e.g., "Did Caesar's friends really call him `Julius' when his first name was `Gaius' "). Also, because it tries to say so much, it lacks the richness of Colleen McCullough's novels on Caesar and, although a different medium, the grit of HBO's addictive series Rome. Still, Gods of War is an entertaining and fairly compelling historical novel, an impressive feat considering everyone already knows the ending. For larger collections. [See Prepub Alert, LJ 12/05.]-Robert Conroy, Warren, MI Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information. -- PUBLISHERS WEEKLY.
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1 . great serires for the history buff
Posted July 10, 2010 by bob b , midwestI enjoyed the entire series. I you are a history buff, you will enjoy the entire Emperor series
March 28, 2006
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Excerpt from Emperor: The Gods of War by Conn Iggulden
Pompey pronounced each word as a hammer blow: "Therefore, by his actions, Caesar is today declared Enemy of Rome. His titles and honors are revoked. His right to command legions is struck from the records. His life is forfeit. It will be war."
The Senate chamber was finally still after the storms of debate, the tension showing in every face. The messengers who had killed horses to reach them had no way of knowing the pace of those who followed. The Rubicon line had been crossed and the legions of Gaul were racing south.
Pompey had aged visibly over two days of strain, yet he stood before them with a straight back, his experience giving him the strength to dominate the room. He watched as the senators slowly lost their frozen expressions, and saw dozens of them meet each other's eyes in private communication. There were many there who still blamed Pompey for the chaos in the city three years before. It had been his legion that had failed to maintain order then and his Dictatorship that had arisen from that conflict. He knew there were more than a few voices muttering for him to put aside the position and elect consuls once again. The very building in which they sat was a constant reminder, with its smell of fresh lime and wood. The ashes of the old site had been cleared, but the foundations remained as a mute testament to the destruction and rioting in the city.
In the silence, Pompey wondered whom he could trust in the struggle. Who amongst them had the strength he needed? He had no illusions. Julius was coming south with four veteran legions and there was nothing in Rome to stand against them. In just a few days, the commander of Gaul would be hammering at the gates of the city and some of the men before Pompey would clamor to let him in.
"There are hard choices to be made, gentlemen," he said.
They watched him closely, judging his strength, his weaknesses. One slip, he knew, and they would tear him apart. He would not give them the chance.
"I have legions in Greece who have not been infected by the enthusiasms of the mob in Rome. Though there may be traitors in this city, the rule of law has not lost its voice in our dominions."
How closely he watched them then to see who looked away, but every eye was on him.
"Gentlemen, there is no other option but to leave Rome for Greece and gather our armies there. At present, the bulk of Caesar's forces remain in Gaul. Once they join him, the whole country could fall before we have a sufficient presence in the field. I do not wish to lose a race to reinforce. Better to be certain and go to our armies. There are ten legions in Greece waiting for the call to defend against this traitor. We must not disappoint them.
"If he remains in our city, we will return to tear him out, exactly as Cornelius Sulla did to his uncle. The battle must be joined with him. He has made that clear by ignoring the lawful orders of this Senate. There can be no agreements, no peace while he lives. Rome cannot have two masters and I will not allow a rogue general to destroy what we have all built here."