After two masterpieces like "First man in Rome" and "Grass Crown" it is really a great achievement of Collen McCullough that the third instalment in the series is another great book.
This story takes us through the last years of Sulla, the rise of Pompey the Great, the war in Iberia (Spain) between Sulla's forces and his last Roman enemy Sertorius, the endurant and charismatic Roman general turned Iberian warlord, the first steps of young Ceasar's career and also Spartacus slave rebellion. It is extremely erudit, historically very true, well paced, full of intelligent dialogues, naturalistic in its description of the unspeakable cruelty of Roman world but also witty and humouristic by moments (the description of the decadent hellenistic king of Bithynia is particularly irresistible).
The description of Spartacus rebellion is very interesting and I believe it is very useful to read it to have another view of this event - mostly known in the public perception by the (magnificent) movie with Kirk Douglas and Tony Curtiss. Needless to say, here the vision, being historically more accurate, is also less glamourous but not less moving...
Now, author continues to describe Ceasar as a God like being (although in this book he is still mostly a teenager) surrounded by inferiors. It can get on the nerves of the reader (it did on mines) when most of future Ceasar's antagonists like Pompey or Bibulus are described in the worst possible way, preparing the reader to accept their future fate in the following books... This worshipping of Ceasar and bashing of all others, even great generals like Lucullus or Marcus Crassus, is the only thing that in my humble opinion Collen McCullough got wrong in this great historical cycle.
Still, it doesn't change the fact, that this is a great book, coming after two great books and leading us into more great books. I warmly recommend to read it.