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Empire: An Epic Novel of Ancient Rome (Rome 2) [Hardcover]

Steven Saylor
3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (23 customer reviews)
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Book Description

30 Sep 2010 Rome 2
In the international bestseller "Roma", Steven Saylor told the story of the first thousand years of Rome by following the descendants of a single bloodline. Now, in "Empire", Saylor charts the destinies of five more generations of the Pinarius family, from the reign of the first emperor, Augustus, to the glorious height of Rome's empire under Hadrian. Through the eyes of the Pinarii, we witness the machinations of Tiberius, the madness of Caligula, the cruel escapades of Nero, and the chaos of the Year of Four Emperors in 69 A.D. The deadly paranoia of Domitian is followed by the Golden Age of Trajan and Hadrianobut even the most enlightened emperors wield the power to inflict death and destruction on a whim. Empire is strewn with spectacular scenes, including the Great Fire of 64 A.D. that ravaged the city, Nero's terrifying persecution of the Christians, and the mind-blowing opening games of the Colosseum. But at the novel's heart are the wrenching choices and seductive temptations faced by each new generation of the Pinarii. One unwittingly becomes the sexual plaything of the notorious Messalina. One enters into a clandestine affair with a Vestal virgin. One falls under the charismatic spell of Nero, while another is drawn into the strange new cult of those who deny the gods and call themselves Christians. However diverse their destinies and desires, all the Pinarii are united by one thing: the mysterious golden talisman called the fascinum handed down from a time before Rome existed. As it passes from generation to generation, the fascinum seems to exercise a power not only over those who wear it, but over the very fate of the empire. Praise for Steven Saylor: 'Saylor expertly weaves the true history of Rome with the lives and loves of its fictional citizens' - "Daily Express". 'Saylor's scholarship is breathtaking and his writing enthrals' - Ruth Rendell. 'With the scalpel-like deftness of a Hollywood director, Saylor puts his finger on the very essence of Roman history' - "Times Literary Supplement". 'Readers will find his work wonderfully (and gracefully) researched...this is entertainment of the first order' - "Washington Post".

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 576 pages
  • Publisher: Corsair (30 Sep 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1845298586
  • ISBN-13: 978-1845298586
  • Product Dimensions: 16.5 x 24.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (23 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 418,600 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Steven Saylor is the author of EMPIRE: THE NOVEL OF IMPERIAL ROME, a follow-up to the international bestseller ROMA: THE NOVEL OF ANCIENT ROME. These two epic novels comprise a multi-generational saga that spans the first 1200 years of the city, from Iron Age trading post to the height of empire under Hadrian.

Steven is also the author of the ROMA SUB ROSA series of historical mysteries featuring Gordianus the Finder, set in the ancient Rome of Cicero, Caesar, and Cleopatra. The latest book in the series is THE SEVEN WONDERS, a prequel that follows the 18-year-old Gordianus on his journey to the Seven Wonders of the World.

To read the previous volumes of the ROMA SUB ROSA series in chronological order, begin with ROMAN BLOOD, then THE HOUSE OF THE VESTALS (short stories), A GLADIATOR DIES ONLY ONCE (short stories), ARMS OF NEMESIS , CATILINA'S RIDDLE, THE VENUS THROW, A MURDER ON THE APPIAN WAY, RUBICON, LAST SEEN IN MASSILIA, A MIST OF PROPHECIES, THE JUDGMENT OF CAESAR, and THE TRIUMPH OF CAESAR.

Outside the Roman books are two novels set in Steven's native Texas. A TWIST AT THE END is based on America's first recorded serial murders, which terrorized Austin, Texas in 1885. The chief protagonist is young Will Porter, who later became famous as O. Henry. HAVE YOU SEEN DAWN? is a contemporary thriller set in a small Texas town not unlike the one where Steven grew up.

Steven's books have been published in 21 languages, and book tours have taken him across the United States, England, and Europe. He has appeared as an expert on Roman life on The History Channel, and has spoken at numerous college campuses, The Getty Villa, and the International Conference on the Ancient Novel.

Steven was born in Texas in 1956 and graduated with high honors from the University of Texas at Austin, where he studied history and Classics. He divides his time between homes in Berkeley, California, and Austin, Texas. "If I could have another home," he says, "it would definitely be in London, my favorite big city in the world." When not using his brain, he likes to keep in shape running, swimming, and lifting weights.

Product Description

Review

'Saylor expertly weaves the true history of Rome with the lives and loves of its fictional citizens.' Daily Express; 'Saylor's scholarship is breathtaking and his writing enthrals.' Ruth Rendell; 'With the scalpel-like deftness of a Hollywood director, Saylor puts his finger on the very essence of Roman history.' Times Literary Supplement; 'Readers will find his work wonderfully (and gracefully) researched...this is entertainment of the first order'. --Washington Post

Book Description

The eagerly awaited sequel to the bestselling Roma. --This text refers to the Perfect Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
37 of 43 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Why the Roman Empire fell 15 Dec 2010
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
This is simply awful.

Let me be clear. I have been a longtime fan of Steven Saylor. The first two thirds of his Roma sub Rosa series about Gordianus the Finder are brilliant.

My problem with Saylor really began with Roma, the first in his pompous new series about ancient Rome, and really brings Empire to a halt. What seems to have happened is that Saylor has done huge amounts of research and feels the need to ensure everyone knows it. As a result the book - as far as I had to heart to read it anyway - is a long series of dialogues when a character can't just say what is happening - it has to be then explained in terms of what the history of the person/place/event is, what the colour of their clothes were - what the metaphysical or allegorical omens of the day were. All of which simply seems to say "Aren't I clever with what I know.." But you really just want to shout at the page "Get on with it".

Because Saylor's writing style is so ponderous and exasperating quite what the story is becomes meaningless. To his credit (hence two stars)he's trying to tell the story of ancient Rome from birth to death through one family line. But by now you just don't care. I'm saddened to say I couldn't finish this - and hope the charity shop at least makes some money from my misery.

If you want to read really classy stories about Rome read Robert Harris, or go back to Robert Graves and I Claudius. Give Saylor a very wide miss. Sorry.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Past its sell-by date 29 Dec 2012
Format:Kindle Edition
Like others, I have been a great fan of Gordianus. Bringing to life some of Cicero's great forensic speeches was always a worthwhile project, and Saylor's execution was well-judged. I kind of half-enjoyed the more plodding Roma, because it dealt with little-visited periods of Roman history.
But Empire is a different matter. I found I wasn't learning much, because unlike the Gordianus series, or Lindsey Davis' Falco, where it's easy to tell the difference between the historical figures and the lowlifes who provide most of the narrative, here you have to know already that Pinarius senior is a historical figure, but (as far as I know) his descendants aren't. The dialogue is over-didactic and stilted. On the whole, not much fun.
But I stayed with it until page 93, when I found that the ancient family amulet, interpreted by Claudius as a winged phallus, is suddenly reinterpreted by the more radically-minded twin - in 41AD, less than a decade after the crucifixion - as the Christian cross 'on which our saviour, Jesus Christ, was killed' and which is thereby 'a holy symbol'. As any fule kno, the cross did not emerge distinctively as a Christian symbol for another century at least.
Sorry, Steven, I really can't be bothered with The Robe revisited. Save it for the US market.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
By Jo
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
First of all this book is probably a reprint we got caught out buying this book, gave it away.
Watch out that you don't get caught out like us.
Empire is in big type first then the small sentence after it, ( Front cover ) the other book starts of with a small
sentence followed by Empire in big letters on the front cover, also the other difference is that one of the books small
and thick with small writing inside.

Empire is the story on Rome in its first thousand years, through the descendants of the Pinarius Family.
They live through Tiberius, Caligula, Nero and each story has its own Pathos to it.
.
Sometimes sad, sometimes happy, but their stories are like millions of others, through out time.

A brilliant read Highly Recommended.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Empire Steven Saylor 28 May 2012
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I was rather underwhelmed with this book. I felt as if I was being educated, and indeed I was but that was not my aim. The plot did keep me reading however.
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Gahhhhhh! 25 July 2011
By Parm TOP 500 REVIEWER
Format:Kindle Edition
Is this the death of what was a really good series?
In the past its always been a bit ploddy and slow, but i always took that as part of the story, its not designed for pace its not swords and sandals type fiction.
But Empire...Gah! its just.... well so dreary it felt like i was being dragged through the plot kicking and screaming "no leave me alone, let me find a decent book" .
There is plenty of the usual research, but as other have noted, instead of letting you discover it i felt like i was being hit around the head with the text book by teacher for not knowing it.

This maybe my last for Saylor, the power has been waining... the empire may be dead Death to the emperor!

NOT recommended
(Parm)
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Just a little contrived. 21 Jan 2011
Format:Hardcover
It took me some time to track this book down since, before Christmas, it seemed conspicuous by its absence from the shelves. Marketing I suppose! I loved Steven Saylor's previous book in the series - "Roma" - and had looked forward to reading this with some relish. I suppose it is inevitable that under such circumstances the reality was a little disappointing, but there are some very real flaws in this work. Perhaps the most annoying was the habit of characters explaining situations that were obviously well known to those they were speaking to. You know the sort of thing - "As you know Pinarius.... " A clumsy device that someone with Steven Saylor's writing experience should avoid. Some of the plot was a little contrived but, given the strange twists and turns in Roman history, not so much as to make this work untenable. As a device to describe Roman history from Augustus to Hadrian from the point of view of witnesses not directly connected to the various imperial families it does work, though somewhat awkwardly at times. Still, a creditable effort which, despite its flaws, I enjoyed. Is it worth the effort? Yes it is and I look forward to the next installment that must inevitably be in the pipeline.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars I love Steven Saylor's novels
I love Steven Saylor's novels. They transport you right to the heart of Rome and and its empire.They help you to imagine the intense machinations of the Imperial court and its... Read more
Published 27 days ago by MartinandKashka
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Steven Saylor never fails to achieve a superbly written and readable novel
Published 1 month ago by Terry NOBLE
5.0 out of 5 stars Book
Second in the series and I found an enjoyable read. I will buy the next in the series when it available.
Published 3 months ago by George Hackett
4.0 out of 5 stars Good Read
Books of this type are always more difficult to get into, effectively being a volume of short stories. This kept its excitement for most of the time. Enjoyed it!
Published 5 months ago by Alec Deighton
3.0 out of 5 stars A very nice sequel.
First empressions are always best - perhaps I should not have reread this. Because what once seemed like a giant feat of imagination and creativity, seems after a while… well… lets... Read more
Published 6 months ago by ereini0n
4.0 out of 5 stars Rather like the first, too much exposition, but good for fans of Roman...
This is the sequel to the author's novel Roma, which covered the 1000 years of Roman history from before the city's founding up to the time of Augustus. Read more
Published 8 months ago by John Hopper
5.0 out of 5 stars Empire
An outstanding book by an excellent author - I'm not sure if I enjoyed 'Roma' or 'Empire' more! If you feel like you'd like to get to know the story of the Emperors of Rome but... Read more
Published 9 months ago by Rachel Millar
3.0 out of 5 stars Decent enough
The research is more impressive than the writing, but it's still a decent diversion. It won't take very long to read, but still worth a purchase if you liked the first book, Roma,... Read more
Published 11 months ago by Ben Rowe
3.0 out of 5 stars Roman history as cardboard gossip
For those who like me greatly enjoyed the Gordianus stories and also care a lot about ancient Roman culture this novel was not a great experience. Read more
Published 12 months ago by Florence
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic
Brilliant book once again fro Steven Saylor a fantastic writer of Rome and Roman Empire...look forward to reading more of his work
Published 13 months ago by Angela Carlisle
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