- Hardcover: 368 pages
- Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton; 1st Edition edition (21 Feb. 2008)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0340951125
- ISBN-13: 978-0340951125
- Product Dimensions: 16.1 x 24 x 3.4 cm
- Average Customer Review: 3.3 out of 5 stars See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,757,099 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Conspiracies of Rome Hardcover – 21 Feb 2008
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More About the Author
For Hodder & Stoughton, he has written the following six historical novels: "Conspiracies of Rome" (2008), "Terror of Constantinople" (2009), "Blood of Alexandria" (2010), "Sword of Damascus" (2011), "Ghosts of Athens" (2012), "Curse of Babylon" (2013). These have been translated into Spanish, Italian, Greek, Slovak, Hungarian, Indonesian, and Chinese.
In 2015, Hodder & Stoughton republished all six novels in two omnibus volumes: "Death of Rome Saga 1" and "Death of Rome Saga 2."
As Sean Gabb, he has written these novels: "The Column of Phocas" (2006 - historical), "The Churchill Memorandum" (2011 - alternate history thriller), and "The Break" (post-apocalyptic science fiction). This novel was published in 2014, and nominated for the Prometheus Award, but has now been acquired by Caffeine Nights and withdrawn for republication in 2016. A further novel, "The York Deviation" (alternate history fantasy), is awaiting publication.
He also writes for Endeavour Press. His latest historical Novel, "Game of Empires," was published on the 15th May 2015. His next in this series - provisional title: "Death in Ravenna" - will be completed in July 2015.
You can follow him on Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/richard.blake.7773
You can also follow him on Twitter - https://twitter.com/BlakeTheWriter
His personal website is - http://www.richardblake.me.uk/
Fascinating to read, very well written, an intriguing plot and I enjoyed it very much. (Derek Jacobi star of I, Claudius and Gladiator)
The best historical novel I have ever read. (L. Neil Smith)
I can't resist recommending this first volume of a promised trilogy. Set during the last pangs of Imperial Rome, with a vivid account of the machinations of the early Church, it is well-informed, atmospheric and beautifully written. (Literary Review)
An enjoyable read. (Historical Novel Society )
The first in a sharply-written trilogy set in crumbling 7th Century Rome which introduces the most compelling anti-hero since Flashman.See all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
Those criticisms notwithstanding, there are certainly good points to this book. Whilst some people don't like a modern mode of speech in historical fiction, I think it always works much better than cod historical dialogue. This book doesn't bother with any of that faux-archaic stuff. Plus, I very much took to the main character/narrator and enjoyed his company along the way of the story. The other characters too came to life quite well. I enjoyed the lighthearted tone of the book (ponderous historical fiction = a pompous annoyance). And I felt the uncertain, 'interesting times' of the setting, and the rough justice of the ancient world, came across tangibly - and without the free ancient history lecture that you often get in historical novels.
So, on balance, I enjoyed reading this book. Great literature it ain't, and it has plenty of clumsy moments. But it lacks many of the common annoyances of historical fiction and will pass the time admirably if you approach it with an uncomplaining, uncritical eye!
I loved it from start to finish and would recommend to anyone. It is not a 'battle-action' novel in the Cornwall or Scarrow style, but it is great historical fiction, bringing the unusual setting to life.
Look out for the chase which is nearly equal in tension to that of Stokers Dracula. As always, a touch of Flashman about it too!
I am only moved to write reviews when a book is either outstanding or is really, really bad. Sadly this is prompted by the latter.
I am a big fan of historical mystery fiction and am always on the look out for new (to me) authors. It was therefore with great hope that I picked up this volume in the library. By chapter 5 I just could not bring myself to read any more. The book was simply crude, and at times gratuitously crude. One might almost think that the author hated the people, places and time portrayed, so brutal, in the wider sense, was his writing. I know that the very early medieval period, immediately post Roman Britain and with the empire slowly dying (or changing) in Europe, was not a place of sweetness and light. But neither was it as brutish and crude as portrayed here, as archaeological discovery (the Staffordshire hoard being only the latest) and historical research has demonstrated.
Other writers -- Davis, Doherty, Rowe, Saylor, Scarrow, Sidebottom to name a few -- manage to cover the same broad periods both realistically and entertainingly. And that last is important. Most of us read these books for entertainment, not for academically sound education. Unfortunately, this volume provides neither and, for me, is a waste of paper. I will not be looking for more titles from this author.
For me this is, without doubt, the worst written book I have ever read. It is ham-fisted, without any trace of sophistication and, on occasion, is total nonsense. A couple of examples:
"Next stop was the Church Bank, housed in one of the cellars. Armed guards stood outside a monumental brick arch that led down into what I cannot imagine once had been." WHAT? I can sort of understand what he's driving at but this is clumsy to the point of opaque.
...and on the next page:
"But the Church Bank was an excellent choice. Handling and backed by the vast revenues of the Church, it has never closed its doors." Say what? Now that actually doesn't make any sense at all.
As if this wasn't bad enough, we're treated to a whole cast of cliché characters: everyone from the two tailors from the Fast Show ("You'll look lush sir - really, truly lush": I kid you not, this is a direct quote. Followed by "For a lady, is it, sir? Is she pretty? Will you be marrying her in Rome? Or simply [italics]visiting her") to the battleaxe landlady who drops her Hs in order to sound posh.
When he wants to indicate that a character is English, he simply adds the word "mate" to the end of every sentence and has them talk in "mockney".Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Well written account of a different kind to the usual Rome based saga.Published 12 months ago by D. Howson
The end of the Roman empire is a really interesting period in European history and I really enjoyed the way that Richard Blake has brought that period to life. Read morePublished on 23 Oct. 2010 by Amazon Customer
This is a reprint of a book by a differently named author - is this reasonable!
stating that first published in 2008 is incorrect, why would a respectable publisher like... Read more
Just a bit naughty NOT to advise that this novel was previously published a few years ago under the author's name of Sean Gabb . Read morePublished on 3 Mar. 2010 by Michael F. Star
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