Rome, the Ides of March and Julius Caesar is dead, stabbed to death by his friends and colleagues in the very city he had dominated for so long. For the killers, the elation of bringing down a tyrant is quickly dispelled as the people of Rome vent their anger on the city and the men who brought down their Caesar.
Instead of being seen as liberators and heroes they are hounded and abused by the mob and with Mark Anthony cleverly using the mob to his own ends they soon have to flee the city.
Arriving in Rome as a penniless officer and with his only his two closest friends for company he knows that obtaining justice for Caesar will be nigh on impossible.
His fortunes change when the Vestal Virgins read Caesars will and he discovers that he has been adopted into the Julii and that Caesar has left him the bulk of his vast fortune.
He immediately changes his name to Caius Julius Caesar in honour of his father and the power of that name brings him power, influence and more importantly Legions.
With the Legions at his back he can now influence the senate and have the killers declared outlaws.
Despite being rivals for power Octavian and Mark Anthony know they must work together to bring the killers to justice and in particular Brutus, Caesars oldest friend and the man who betrayed him twice.
Safely ensconced in Greece Brutus is finally enjoying the fruits of power after so many years in Caesars shadow. Protected by a powerful fleet he knows a confrontation with Octavian and Anthony is coming and he will choose his own ground.
A little town called Phillpi will decided the fate of the Republic.
As fans of Conn Iggulden will know we have waited for this book since 2006 and the publication of The Gods of War. This is the last book in the Emperor series and I glad to say it was well worth the wait.
This book is as much about emotion as it is about the grab for power and glory. It starts with the aftermath of Caesars murder as it slowly dawns on the killers that not everyone is happy with them. Then the anger starts as Mark Anthony outmaneuvers them and the promise of power and prestige slips from their fingers.
Octavian’s anger is palpable throughout the book and his desire for revenge is all consuming. His friendship with Agrippa and Maecenas is his bedrock that he builds his grab for power around.
Brutus has always been one of my favourite characters. While a excellent fighter and solider he has always been flawed and his love for Caesar is tempered by his anger and jealousy at his success. Brutus’s bitterness flows out of this book and it is delicious to read. It really captures a man not quite good enough who lashes out at those closest to him.
Conn Iggulden has always taken a few liberties with historical fact to fit into his story but this in no way affects the book. It is fasted paced and beautifully written with some great action scenes and even the political scenes in the senate are written with power and purpose.
This is a great reworking of some of the greatest men in history as they battled it out for the soul and the future of the Roman Republic.
Tantalizingly, at the end of the book we see Mark Anthony sailing east to meet Cleopatra. Could we possible see another book in the series? Lets hope we don’t have to wait another 7 years for it.
About Conn Iggulden.
I was born in the normal way in 1971, and vaguely remember half-pennies and sixpences. I have written for as long as I can remember: poetry, short stories and novels. It’s what I always wanted to do and read English at London University with writing in mind. I taught English for seven years and was Head of English at St. Gregory’s RC High School in London by the end of that period. I have enormous respect for those who still labour at the chalk-face. In truth, I can’t find it in me to miss the grind of paperwork and initiatives. I do miss the camaraderie of the smokers’ room, as well as the lessons where their faces lit up as they understood what I was wittering on about.
My mother is Irish and from an early age she told me history as an exciting series of stories – with dates. My great-grandfather was a Seannachie, so I suppose story-telling is in the genes somewhere. My father flew in Bomber Command in WWII, then taught maths and science. Perhaps crucially, he also loved poetry and cracking good tales. Though it seems a dated idea now, I began teaching when boys were told only girls were good at English, despite the great names that must spring to mind after that statement. My father loved working with wood and equations, but he also recited ‘Vitai Lampada’ with a gleam in his eye and that matters, frankly.
I’ve always loved historical fiction as a genre and cut my teeth on Hornblower and Tai-Pan, Flashman, Sharpe and Jack Aubrey. I still remember the sheer joy of reading my first Patrick O’Brian book and discovering there were nineteen more in the series. I love just about anything by David Gemmell, or Peter F. Hamilton or Wilbur Smith. I suppose the one thing that links all those is the love of a good tale.
That’s about it for the moment. There is a contact link off the main page if you’d like to write to me, or perhaps leave a comment in the forum. I’ll leave it there for the moment. If you’ve read my books, you know an awful lot about the way I think already. There’s no point overdoing it.