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The Field of Swords (Emperor Series, Book 3) [Hardcover]

Conn Iggulden
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (115 customer reviews)

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Book Description

3 Jan 2005 Emperor Series (Book 3)

The third volume in the acclaimed Emperor series, in which Conn Iggulden brilliantly interweaves history and adventure to recreate the astonishing life of Julius Caesar – an epic tale of ambition and rivalry, bravery and betrayal, from an outstanding new voice in historical fiction.

THE GATES OF ROME, THE DEATH OF KINGS and now THE FIELD OF SWORDS tell the powerful, dramatic story of the friendship and enmity between the two men who ruled the Roman world.

Following the defeat of the Spartacus rebellion, Julius Caesar and Marcus Brutus, who have been sent to run the Roman colonies in Spain, return to challenge powerful senators to become one of the Consuls of Rome. Political opposition, family quarrels, armed rebellions and corruption make this a highly contemporary scene, fuelled by the intrigue of the major characters, who are now developing as full adults.

As he takes the legions north into mighty battles with the Gallic tribes, the imperious stand of Caesar and the leadership of his men, his new friendships with fellow leaders and his overwhelming ambition, begin to separate him from Brutus, the great swordsman and warrior. Their long friendship reveals ominous cracks under the strain. Although the Gallic conquests lead to Caesar's triumphal entry into Britain, the victories on the battlefield cause political rivalries at home, and ultimately the famous choice is presented to Caesar and Marcus Brutus. They must choose whether to cross the Rubicon – together or singly – and to take the fight to Rome itself.

Conn Iggulden is a brilliant storyteller. Characters jostle for space in the crowded streets, on the battlefields and in the corridors of the Senate. The friendship and rivalry between Caesar and Brutus provides compelling reading. Each book in the EMPEROR series causes readers to return to the previous novel, and ensures they also look forward hugely to the next.

Product details

  • Hardcover: 588 pages
  • Publisher: HarperCollins; First Edition, First Impression edition (3 Jan 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0007136935
  • ISBN-13: 978-0007136933
  • Product Dimensions: 23.4 x 16.2 x 5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (115 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 17,277 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Born in London, Conn Iggulden read English at London University and worked as a teacher for seven years before becoming a full-time writer. Married with three children, he lives in Hertfordshire. Since publication of 'The Gates of Rome', Conn has written a further thirteen books including the wildly successful 'The Dangerous Book for Boys'.

Product Description

Amazon Review

Emperor - Field of Swords takes Colin Iggulden's sequence of novels about the rise of Julius Caesar to a point where Caesar is forced to bid for mastery of the Roman world. Iggulden is intelligent and precise about the internal dynamics of the triumvirate of Caesar, the elderly rich Crassus and the proud Pompey. This alliance was never more than pragmatic and there was always going to be a settling of accounts--thus far so good, but Iggulden's idealizing of Caesar leads him at times into ignoring the sheer complexity of the affairs of the late Republic. This is a version of Rome which downplays the alliance of street and snob, and treats Caesar as if he were always an apostle of order--it is a historical novel which plays worrying games with historical fact.

Iggulden is fascinating on Caesar as governor and general--in the areas, that is, where we have the words of the man himself, rather than the spin put on his actions by his enemies. There is a real sense here of the practicalities of ancient warfare, of hard footslogging in difficult terrain and planning supplies for the long haul of sieges and forced marches - Iggulden may oversimplify politics, but he is intelligent about battle. --Roz Kaveney


‘Iggulden is in a class of his own when it comes to epic, historical fiction’ Daily Mirror

‘Iggulden…tells an absolutely cracking story…the pace is nail-biting and the set dressing magnificent’ The Times

‘Iggulden weaves an entertaining tale of this world of men, swords, bows and the call of war and the plains’ Daily Express

‘I felt as if a blockbuster movie was unfolding before me…read the book before Hollywood takes it over’ Daily Express

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
46 of 49 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Pleasantly Addictive 19 Nov 2007
I have picked up the Wolfs of the Plains at Heathrow airport three weeks ago on my way back home and by the time I arrived I decided to order all the historical novels by Conn Iggulden. Now I am almost done with the third book in the Emperors series, the Filed of Swords, so my comment here relates to the whole series.

I have read many books by great authors who excel in bringing ancient events to life, but this guy is unbelievable. My advice is to start reading on a weekend or on a holiday as trying to read it during a working week can ruin your schedule.

I can not comment on the inconsistency of the historical events that many of my fellow readers have expressed their concern about as my knowledge of Roman history remains very general. However, I will say this, these books are of the highest quality as history based novels are concerned. The characters are vivid and the scenes are superbly described. The war scenes alone would get the book a five star rating.

A highly recommended read. A lot of fun.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Weak on Spain, excellent on Gallic Wars 1 Nov 2011
Conn Iggulden liberally rewrites history in order to increase the dramatic impact of his novels. That's fair enough, but sometimes it seems that his liberties with known history are unnecessary. As another critic has pointed out, what did he gain by ignoring Cicero's role in the thwarting of the Cataline Conspiracy? But enough said on that. My main gripe with this book is that the first two hundred pages (mainly about Caesar in Spain) were rather tedious and irrelevant and I found the arrival of Servilia with a troupe of prostitutes irritating and schoolboyish. My other problem with Iggulden is his writing style which has a certain laziness, for example he uses the word "chuckle" repeatedly and inappropriately. (Has he actually ever heard anyone chuckle their words? I don't think I have.)
However, leaving aside the negatives, I must confess I absolutely loved the account of Caesar's Gallic Wars. This is Iggulden at his best with plenty of good historical detail and, perhaps more importantly, and understanding of the psychology of the Gauls, combined with respect and sympathy for their plight when confronted by the remorseless Caesar. Vercingetorix gets a fine cameo role. (After Vercingetorix surrenders, Caesar rather unsportingly keeps him prisoner for five years before having him strangled as part of his Triumph. This is not mentioned in this book although it might be in the next one.)
Caesar's detour into Britain in 55 and 54 BC is vividly described and gives an understanding of just how difficult it is to invade an island.
To summarise, this is a very readable and entertaining book which captures the character and ambition of Caesar, but which contains too many imperfections of style and detail to be recommended unreservedly.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Read! 28 Mar 2005
By Ed
Conn Iggulden's third book builds further on his successful other two book in this series. Putting aside the occassional historical liberty, which in all fairness he justfies at the end of each of his books, this book is fantastic escapism. It is engrossing, well written and gives the reader a genuine desire to find out more about this period. I can't give enough complements for this book, it has thoroughly entertained me for the last few weeks and i'm looking forwards to his next book - which will involve Cleopatra no less.
Worth buying, though start at the begining of the series "The Gates of Rome" to fully appreciate the major players in this book.
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13 of 15 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent, entertaining page turner 2 Sep 2005
Volume three in the series devoted to the life and times of Julius Caesar. Here, we follow his political and military career from Spain to the conquest of Gaul and his abortive expedition into Britannia. Caesar had a well established political presence in Rome by the time he was given the freedom to pacify Gaul. Once engaged on this task, his star rose higher and higher, aided by Caesar's ability to manipulate news and spin a heady story for the people of Rome.
The cast of characters is well established now and Iggulden is able to leap backwards and forwards between the political chicanery and turmoil of Rome and the battlefields of Gaul, the Rhine frontier, and Britannia, sustaining both strands of the story quite effectively. Caesar was a great military leader - and it is clear that he had the personality to inspire his soldiers and drive them on to victory after victory. But Caesar was also a very ambitious man, politically. Indeed, given the bloody nature of Roman politics, ambition was probably a good survival strategy.
Iggulden manages to make the political in-fighting as exciting and well-paced as the military action - at the price of some over-simplification and a bit of judicious manipulation of history. As a piece of fiction, however, it continues to work quite well. In fact, there may be evidence of a bit more maturity and confidence creeping into his style in this volume, particularly given the more complicated nature of the plot he has to tackle this time.
"The Field of Swords" is an excellent page-turner - if you have read the first two volumes and enjoyed them, this one will not disappoint. If you haven't read the first two, I'd encourage you to start with "The Gates of Rome" to see if you like Iggulden's style and themes - you will lose too much of the back-plot and character building if you leap straight in to volume three
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