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From the bestselling author of the ROMA SUB ROSA series comes this epic tale covering an almost entire history of the city of ancient Rome from it's very beginning through to the death of Julius Caesar and just beyond. Told through the viewpoint of two families, the novel attempts to cover a remarkable amount of history in just one book and unfortunately doesn't quite manage to achieve what it sets out to do.
The book is actually more like a series of novellas or short stories than one cohesive novel and, as such, never really flows or gels together the way it needs to do to maintain the reader's interest. The majority of historical events that include Hannibal's attack on the Roman Army with his legion of elephants are glossed over and presented to the reader almost like an overheard conversation between two Roman nobles. Very rarely in the later stages of the novel are we ever thrown directly into the action and this merely manages to alienate the reader more. After his highly impressive other novels, I was kind of expecting big things from this book but sadly, was destined to be disappointed and actually left feeling a little cheated. If I had not already read some of his other impressive works featuring Geordiannus The Finder, I doubt I would pick them up after reading this. Thankfully, this is not my first experience of Saylor and so am able to regard this as just a blip in his biblography and not an indication that any of his other novels might also turn out to be such a chore to read.
I really wanted to enjoy this but sadly found myself close to giving up on more than one occassion simply because characters felt one-dimensional and the historical events described feel so far apart from the reader that you might as well be reading about some common scandal or adultery between members of the plebian masses.
If this is your first experience of Saylor, don't be dissuaded- his other novels are far superior to this!!! This is without question, one to to avoid.......it's not short and frankly it's not clever...