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First Man In Rome (Masters of Rome) Paperback – 7 Aug 2003


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Product details

  • Paperback: 1056 pages
  • Publisher: Arrow; New Ed edition (7 Aug 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0099462486
  • ISBN-13: 978-0099462484
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 4.5 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (51 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 122,913 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Review

"The author's narrative flows as easily as Father tiber ... A grandly meaty historical novel ... rich with gracefully integrated research and thundering to the beat of marching roman legions" Kirkus Reviews

Book Description

PART OF THE ACCLAIMED MASTERS OF ROME SERIES

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Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

37 of 39 people found the following review helpful By Gareth Davies on 20 Sep 2004
Format: Paperback
To put it simply, I couldn't stop reading. A truly remarkable work of historical fiction based soundly in historical fact. As a fan of this type of literature, I heartily recommend this example.
Not a single character appears but is fully rounded and fleshed out; she happily delves back into a particular character's past then effortlessly brings you back to the current plot. The plots themselves are beautifully complex without being complicated. Her true masterstroke (amongst many) is in making each character human. The enemies of the books 'heroes' are not villains - simply differently minded. Even our protagonists are not above selfish or violent deeds. All is so well presented in the social and moral code of the time, without any modern comment, that you begin to forget you're reading a historical work.
Having finished this book, I was delighted to see that there are several more to follow. Until I get my hands on them I'm very happily reading the glossary!
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26 of 28 people found the following review helpful By Kittycat on 8 Jun 2006
Format: Mass Market Paperback
If you are at all the tiniest bit interested in the history of ancient Rome, you must read the Masters of Rome series. Some of the practices of Roman society at that time were, in modern eyes, barbaric, but McCullough presents them in a matter-of-fact way, she does not judge anyone. Even the monstrous Sulla was, at times, likeable and you can't get away from the fact he was a genius. I liked that she did not just present the bare bones of Roman history, but each character comes alive at her hands. You learn why each character behaves as he/she does, and their decisions that will eventually shape the world. You can almost imagine strolling through the Subura, taking in the hustle and bustle of street vendors, touching elbows with Roman citizens from the poorest to the grandest, soaking in the smells and the hot sun, hearing the babble of many different languages. McCullough, who must have spent countless exhausting months researching this, presents her book as if to say: this was Rome - this was how her citizens behaved - these are the laws they formulated, the battles they fought, their hopes and struggles. You may not approve but that was life in 60BC - these people are not for you to judge, but take the time to learn their story and understand how the modern world was shaped.
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37 of 41 people found the following review helpful By HennaH84 on 7 Feb 2004
Format: Paperback
This book is the first in the six part series called "The Masters of Rome" and this book starts deals with two of these men. Primarily focusing on Gaius Marius who is a wealthy but ancestrally poor man, which causes him to be slighted by the powerful men of Rome, despite his being the most able military commander of his time. The secondary character of this book is the charismatic Lucius Cornelius Sulla. Sulla is the degenerate but patrician son of an extremely poor family and despite his good name looks to be unable to even enter the senate. The lives of these two men, who are so closely related to the Julius Caesar, are related in this wonderfully descriptive and historically accurate book.
Be warned; you will be hooked on these books, but on the bright side your knowledge of Ancient Rome will increase one hundred fold and learning has never been so fun!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By J. Chippindale TOP 500 REVIEWER on 24 Sep 2007
Format: Hardcover
Colleen McCullough was born in Australia. A neurophysicist, she established the department of neurophysiology at the Royal North Shore Hospital in Sydney She then worked as a researcher and teacher at Yale Medical School for ten years. She is the author of the record-breaking international bestseller The Thorn Birds and her series of books on Rome have also been bestsellers. Colleen lives on Norfolk Island in the Pacific with her husband.

Colleen McCullough has been one of my favourite authors ever since I read this book many years ago. Her research on the subject and her feel for the period of history she is writing about is second to none. The only slight criticism that I have with the books on Rome and it is probably outside the author's control is that the books are so detailed that the number of characters that become part of the story is so large that it is sometimes difficult to keep track of them all, but this is a small price to pay for the enjoyment the books give the reader.

The First Man in Rome begins the series and the reader is introduced to Gaius Marius, one of Rome's greatest and most successful generals. Wealthy but from a low born family. A man who has pulled himself up by his boot straps and on the other side of the coin, Cornelius Sulla, a man from well bred stock. Both men have a driving ambition, both want to be the `The First Man in Rome'. There ambition drives them forward and will lay the foundations for the greatest empire known to mankind.

This is a book of human frailties and also burning ambition. It has a cast of some of the most famous names to grace Roman history. The start of one of the greatest fictional sagas written in modern times and a most for all lovers of ancient history.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on 11 Mar 2004
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Crammed with historical detail, poltical plots and enormous battle scenes. McCullough's greatest trick is to fill this book (and the rest of the series) with fascinating personalities whose motivations aren't those of twentieth century people, but are still totally believable. This is historical novel writing at its best - as good as Renault, Graves, and Patrick O'Brian.
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