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The Gates of Rome (Emperor Series, Book 1) [Mass Market Paperback]

Conn Iggulden
4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (195 customer reviews)
RRP: 7.99
Price: 7.20 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over 10. Details
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Book Description

1 Sep 2003 Emperor Series (Book 1)

The astonishing life of Julius Caesar is recreated in a magnificent new novel that brilliantly interweaves history and adventure.

Emperor: The Gates of Rome is an epic tale of ambition and rivalry, bravery and betrayal, from an outstanding new voice in historical fiction.

From the spectacle of gladiatorial combat to the intrigue of the Senate, from the foreign wars that created an empire to the betrayals that almost tore it apart, the Emperor novels tell the remarkable story of the man who would become the greatest Roman of them all: Julius Caesar.

Brilliantly interweaving history and adventure, The Gates of Rome introduces an ambitious young man facing his first great test. In the city of Rome, a titanic power struggle is about to shake the Republic to its core. Citizen will fight citizen in a bloody conflict – and Julius Caesar will be in the thick of the action.

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The Gates of Rome (Emperor Series, Book 1) + The Death of Kings (Emperor Series, Book 2) + The Field of Swords (Emperor Series, Book 3)
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Product details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 640 pages
  • Publisher: HarperCollins; New Ed edition (1 Sep 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0007136900
  • ISBN-13: 978-0007136902
  • Product Dimensions: 11.1 x 17.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (195 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 257,993 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

The first volume of a sequence of novels about Julius Caesar, The Gates of Rome is at its best in its scenes of gruelling training in swordplay and dirty fighting. Iggulden's Caesar is more or less fated from the start by his circumstances to be a gifted and cynical player in the great game of Roman senatorial politics--his father is an old-fashioned servant of the public good who dies in a slave revolt. Young Caesar finds himself having to hit the ground running--family alliances throw him onto the losing side in a battle for power between generals Marius and Sulla.

One reservation about Iggulden's story is that he simplifies the pushing and shoving of Rome's two most powerful men to a degree that makes Caesar's choices and loyalties too simple--this is a version of Rome in which politics is only about power and never about ideas. Caesar's friendship with his blood-brother Marcus is too redolent with historical irony--Marcus will be his assassin--and Iggulden is a little novelette-ish in his portrayal of young Caesar's affairs of the heart. This is a competent, routine account of material that deserves better than this handling of it. --Roz Kaveney --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.


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

‘A brilliant story – I wish I’d written it. A novel of vivid characters, stunning action and unrelenting pace. It really is a terrific read.’

‘The descriptions of combat in the circus, slaves in revolt, skirmishes in Greece, amputations and street fighting are all convincing.’

‘A rich and compelling novel that draws the reader into an extraordinary time and the life of an extraordinary man.’

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
101 of 107 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars If you want a little escapism in your day! 4 Nov 2003
Format:Mass Market Paperback
I have always been a keen reader of historically "based" books and my only slight disappointment is that this book does not so much rely historical fact as "bend" it to fit in with the book's story. But the author - even at his ending historical note - never pretends that this is the "definitive" narrative of one of history's most famous figures .
Never the less, this was a very enjoyable adventure which follows the growing up of two young Roman boys living on the outskirts of a turbulent Rome....from their early lives up until they go their separate ways, one into the political intrigue of the Roman Senate and the other to fight in one of Rome's far flung legions. It would be a good read for anyone who has enjoyed Cornwell's novels, and even for those interested in fantasy and / or non fictional works. The mixes humour with tradgedy, affection with war, and there is enough adventure in there to keep the reader flying through the book.
If you are a person who enjoys a little escapism in their novels, and wants a good book with Sharpesque swash and buckle, then buy this book. If you are looking for pure fact then buy something from the non fiction section. I didn't watch Gladiator for it's historical content and I didn't buy this book for that either!!
And by the way, my whole reading experience was slightly tarnished by one Amazon "reviewer" who decided to give away all the details of the two main characters in the book in his review. This definitely takes the "kick" out of the ending. Please try not to do this!! there are readers out there who want to read the book prior to knowing all the plot twists!!!
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Two Little Boys 20 Sep 2009
Format:Mass Market Paperback|Verified Purchase
No, not a Rolf Harris story!

The first book starts with two boys - Julius and Marcus - who grow up together on an estate outside Rome, fighting the local bully, and being trained by the estate manager and former gladiator.

Like Cornwell with his Arthur stories where Lancelot was turned from hero into a cowardly, preening, pompous twit, in this book Marcus (who you later learn is the Brutus from 'Et tu.....?') is changed from the potential coward, preening, pompous twit you might have thought from other stories into a sword swinging hero.

Yes, this book and the others twist the truth. For starters, the age gap between Julius and Brutus was far bigger in real life, but this is fiction based on fact. And it works well. A great start to what is a tremendous quartet.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Iggulden - extraordinary name - has found the perfect balance between steroidal action romp and historical integrity. There's no ambition to pen a psychological profile of Caesar or overwhelm the reader with a knowledge of period sword-making. This is about telling a story and turning pages. It is just class plotting and pacing with some period texture. He knows what he does well.
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32 of 37 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Historic Novel Well Worth the Read. 21 Mar 2005
Format:Mass Market Paperback
The Gates of Rome is the first novel in the Emperor series written by the ex-English teacher Conn Iggulden. Unfortunately my first impression was unfavourable, a comparison with the 'blockbuster' movie Gladiator. The cover features a gladiator's helmet and quotes The Times, 'If you liked Gladiator, you'll love Emperor'. However The Gates of Rome is no mere Hollywood distraction like the previously mentioned Gladiator, the recent Troy, and the soon to be released Alexander. Instead it is a true historical epic with fewer gladiators than the cover would have you believe (however for those who look for such things, the occasional gladiator does appear). It is an instant classic with all the depth and passion that you would associate with one.
Emperor: The Gates of Rome is the story of two young boys, Gaius and Marcus, who are destined to become two of the greatest Romans, who are still, even today, house-hold names. Cleverly and well written, the story hides the identities of the two boys until well into the book. The reader is continually drawn into the story with Conn Iggulden's descriptive style evoking the ancient Roman world incredibly well. We are taken from the rural farm of Gaius and Marcus's youth into the opulent Rome with all the excitements of gladiatorial games, political manoeuvrings of the senate and the deadliness of war. We follow the boys on the early steps of their careers, Gaius as a senator and Marcus as a legionary, both hoping to one day to make their impact on the Rome they love so much.
The Gates of Rome is incredibly well written, although this is sometimes achieved at the cost of historical accuracy. However, this is excusable, as all the changes made improve the plot and the passage of the story. In fact, the whole story is so well written that the 600 and so pages are consumed far too quickly, leaving you with only a single consolation; that there are two more books already published and hopefully more on the way.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Julius Caesar is cheapened 25 Nov 2010
Format:Mass Market Paperback
These books are set during one of the most turbulent and exciting parts of human history - the infamous late Republican period in Rome.
Why, why, WHY does Mr Iggulden think that he can write a better version of events by changing several of the most important historical facts? That's the problem, Conn doesn't completely depart from historical accuracy, it's just a few infuriatingly glaring liberties that make you go "What??" every now and then while reading the series.
It's all designed to portray Julius Caesar as a superman who did everything pretty much single-handedly. Caesar was indeed a great man, but Conn massively cheapens his character by fatuously attributing to him all the ridiculous achievements described in this series.
In between the "What??" moments there is genuinely exciting prose. I read the whole series only moderately painfully, but sheer disbelief at what I was being asked to accept at times meant I nearly put it down. I put a 'Historical Fantasy' tag on the series for the incredible amount of suspending of disbelief you need to do in order to get through it.
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