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Libertas [Paperback]

Alistair Forrest
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)

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Paperback, 30 Jan 2009 --  

Book Description

30 Jan 2009
Set in southern Spain in the First Century BC, Libertas introduces the people who live in the idyllic mountain community of Munda and the ancient Kemeletoi people who thrive in the surrounding countryside. But the world is ruled by Rome, whose generals have a score to settle - Julius Caesar has force-marched eight crack legions from Italy to subdue the sons of Pompey, and two huge armies will clash in the wide upland valley that stretches before Munda. The final, savage battle of a remorseless struggle for world dominance. A battle that will leave 30,000 dead and a community devastated. But there's an unlikely hero who refuses to give in to the despair and horror of war, who believes his family can be rescued from slavery, who refuses to accept that Roman cruelty and greed has changed his beloved Munda forever. This is a story of bravery, love, invention and hope.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Quaestor2000 Ltd (30 Jan 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1906836078
  • ISBN-13: 978-1906836078
  • Product Dimensions: 15.2 x 22.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,222,479 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author



It all began when my English teacher at school got all shirty with me in front of my classmates. He said my essay on Macbeth was too descriptive.

Dammit, I thought, I enjoyed writing that. Maybe there's more where that came from. Forget it, he said, do your course work. Go and be an accountant or something. But that didn't add up in my mind. Besides, I can't add up.

So I became a journalist. He became the respected Parliamentarian in England, Sir Patrick Cormack and I bashed away on an old Remington at the South Wales Echo, envying the creative genius of the guy on the next desk, a youngster by the name of Follett, Ken.

Sure, that was all a long time ago. I've been a cub reporter and a senior journalist, an editor and even a PR consultant. I've lived in Lebanon, Syria, the Gulf and Spain. Oh, and England.

That's given me a raft of memories and a heck of a lot of learning, so now I "bring history's treasures to life" or so my website says (www.alistairforrest.com).

And here's an interesting fact. Julius Caesar marched through my garden. No kidding, I lived in the very same valley in Spain where JC fought and won his last ever battle (Munda 45BCE). It's all in Libertas, my first novel. How do I know, I mean really know that the bane of Pompey was there? Why, I found an old Polaroid of him in full battle regalia while I was digging in the garden!

Product Description

Review

Forrest has the gift of the true story-teller the ability to engage his readers interest from the very first sentence. --Sir Patrick Cormack FSA, MP<br /><br />Alistair Forrest's Libertas is a fast-moving tale of fortitude, survival and eventual retribution told against the background of Rome's bloody civil war. In the mountains of southern Spain Melqart grows up unaware of the unseen forces which are drawing the armies of Julius Caesar and Pompey the Great's sons towards an explosive collision in a valley close to his beloved village of Munda. As the action sweeps dramatically between Spain, Sicily and the shores of Africa Melqart is drawn ever deeper into the conspiracy by his friendship with Sextus. The young Spaniard must fight for his life and his family's freedom and Forrest vividly recreates the epic battle that gave Caesar the prize he sought so avidly. --Doug Jackson, best-selling author of Caligula

... Libertas is a good read: pacy, exciting and often funny. Forrest makes us care about Munda. He captures the tragedy of a people dragged into the horror of a vicious war brought about by circumstances over which they had no control and could hardly understand. And three cheers for Quaestor2000 for supporting off-beat historical fiction. --Lynn Guest, Historical Novels Review, May 2009

About the Author

Alistair Forrest decided to be a writer on the day his English teacher ticked him off in front of his classmates for being too descriptive in his essay on Macbeth. Quietly defiant, he embarked on a career in journalism with the South Wales Echo, always endeavouring to report the facts without resorting to the sin of flowery wordiness. His career took him through court and political reporting for several newspapers, specialist PR and magazine editing for the photographic, natural health and cruise ship markets. Two momentous events then enabled him to fulfil his dream. In 2004 he met and married his second wife, Lynda, and the following year they moved to a small mountain community in southern Spain, the very spot where Julius Caesar fought the last great battle of his civil war against the sons of Pompey. Gradually running down his magazine editing workload, Alistair began to write Libertas. The book took almost a year to write, and then months of re-writing following reviews by friends and fellow members of the Arts Council-funded YouWriteOn.com, the website from which it was selected by the publisher Quaestor2000. The English teacher whose rebuke inspired Alistair was the Parliamentarian Sir Patrick Cormack, in the days when he was a schoolmaster. I've sent him a copy, says Alistair. 'I'm hoping I'll get a decent mark this time'.

Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
4.5 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An amazing read.......... 3 Feb 2009
Format:Paperback
This great book has taken me on a journey into the Andalucian mountains in
Southern Spain. I was expecting the usual roman battle scenes, but
these had a different take on the norm. There is a more spiritual
story going on in the background that I think will appeal to women
readers who might usually give these sort of books a wide berth. The
characters managed to get under my skin and I found myself catching my
breath at certain points when things happened that were unexpected. It
has left me wanting to learn more about the mountains and its ancient
tribal people. I would like to know what happens to the main character
Melqart. I would highly recommend.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Roman Empire unromanticized 22 Aug 2009
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Cruelty and torture is rife and horribly convincing, and the details of early mechanical weaponry - the scorpio, for example - are painted in with precision. Sexual excesses too, of course. But neither Caesar nor his army is demonized - there are marauding tribes and pirates who are just as bad - and there is plenty of room for the other side of things. Some of the heart-rending farewells and reunions make you think Forrest has one eye on the screenplay. Most interesting for me was the ingenuity of the central character, Melqart. His shortcomings as a warrior are exposed throughout, but greatness is thrust upon him anyway because of his wit and imagination. There's a wonderful lighter scene involving Games in Sicily where he invents the centre-board in order to win the sailing race. Every kind of adventure is in this book: massed battles in Spain, hair's breadth escapes at sea, attacks on the Berbers in northern Africa - what more do you want? For me it's more a question of what less do you want. There's a little too much mysticism for my taste, and the style is heavily adjectival at times, but after a while you don't care about such things as you're swept along by the sheer narrative power. Great read.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Renben writes 20 July 2009
Format:Paperback
A beautifully written account of a major time in the history of Rome and Southern Spain. It has been well researched and held together by a fascinating duel between good and evil. You will warm to the main characters and I for one am looking forward to the follow up.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
By Richard
Format:Paperback
Alistair Forrest is surely a name to conjure with in the future. It's almost as if he's got himself present at the battles he so vividly re-creates and one is struck by an attention to detail that only comes from a thorough knowledge of the period. The human aspect of this gripping and quirky story is also perfecly measured. Melqart's friendship with Sextus and his being relentlesly drawn into these bloody events is a real hook as well as the generally pacy nature of the story. Thoroughly recommend as an antidote to so many historical adventure novels that adhere to the same formula.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Spain and Rome in the times of Julius Caesar 8 May 2009
Format:Paperback
The author of the book Libertas was new to me, hence hesitancy at purchasing a product to keep me entertained on a couple of long flights. However I was soon engrossed in the pages, which details actual historical events of Roman battles lead by Julius Caesar himself, of simple Spanish village life, of mountain people and arab warriors, all wrapped in a fictional and sometimes mystical storey of a boy on the path of growing into a man and of the people and cultures he met along the way. The writer describes scenes in such detail that there is no problem in picturing the events in ones own mind. To me the only real downside was that it ended quicker than I expected.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
By Peets
Format:Paperback
I was hoping for shades of David Ball (Sword & Scimitar). But the beat of the book reminded me of early work of Bernard Cornwell (Sharpe's Rifles). I recall Cornwell's first books about Richard Sharpe were spartan efforts. Cornwell was still working out his story-telling voice. But the author of Libertas has Cornwell's same knack for characters. Unexpected heros, likable louts, or pitch-black villains. In short, this was Libertas for me. It's a promising first book told against the backdrop of pitched battle that Caesar fought in Southern Spain.

I liked the unlikely hero of Libertas, a smart Spanish boy who is a bad fighter and poor hunter, but who finds his true calling as an inventor of war machines. Shades of Archimedes. Along the way, inventor-hero Pito crosses paths with historical characters like Caesar, Sextus and Agrippa. Sextus and Agrippa were nicely done. I also enjoyed the author's take on the Celtic mountain people of Spain and desert Berber people of North Africa. United by a common thread of grace, fierceness, and integration with nature. Good stuff.

Finally, I have minor beefs with the book's detour into mysticism, the mountain shamans, and guardian eagles. Didn't work for me. This voodoo aside, the new author knows how to tell a good story. Buy it.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Rivetting 3 April 2009
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Forrest had me rivetted from the first chapter. I'm not one for historical novels normally but love stories about Spain and the Med, which is why I read the book. However I have been converted and am looking forward to Forrest's next offering. Forrest's descriptive writing kept me enthralled and unable to put the book down. I felt I knew Melqart well enough to call him Pito. I would highly recommend this book.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Another ripping yarn from Forrest.
For Someone like me who likes historical novels They will find Another ripping yarn from Alistair Forrest a serious journey into the ancient world of Roman Spain . Read more
Published 18 months ago by Mr. Ray. Brown
4.0 out of 5 stars Libertas
I really enjoyed reading this book, there was a genuine sense of time and place. I enjoyed the descriptive detail and the recurring theme of the eagle giving it an almost... Read more
Published on 18 July 2011 by Caroline
4.0 out of 5 stars Libertas Lustrum
Libertas is set in the same period of Roman history as Robert Harris's Lustrum, but gives an utterly different perspective on the rivalry between Caesar and Pompey. Read more
Published on 11 Feb 2011 by Rassendyl
5.0 out of 5 stars Libertas, a mesmerising début by Alistair Forrest
Libertas was an unusual choice for this reader who prefers historical tales based on modern history, which makes my enjoyment of this novel all the more remarkable. Read more
Published on 29 May 2010 by Mr. S. Jackson
5.0 out of 5 stars A truly engrossing journey..
I am a big big fan of the historical fiction , especially that set in the roman era, and i have to say that this book captured me right from the very first couple of pages.. Read more
Published on 29 Mar 2010 by Miklagard
5.0 out of 5 stars Where fact and fiction blend in perfect harmony
Anyone who likes historical novels will find this offering by Alistair Forrest a literary delight. Not only I defy anyone to separate history from fiction, but the story has such... Read more
Published on 11 Nov 2009 by Konrad
4.0 out of 5 stars Enthralling tale of adventure and survival
A slightly different take on the "classic" historical novel which is very well written and contains some lovely descriptive passages and metaphors. Read more
Published on 25 April 2009 by M. Connelly
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