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18 of 18 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon 18 April 2008
Jack Ludlow is the pseudonym of David Donachie who has written a number of Nelson's navy type novels. I read one of them a few years ago and felt it was OK but nothing special and read no more of them. I fear the same is the case here. I felt it more of a family saga than anything else. Suddenly, at around page 400, there's some action!! Does remind me of Jeffrey Archer's books - readable but lacking substance. If you want genuine political intrigue in Ancient Rome, try Robert Harris' superb 'Imperium'. If you want the blood and guts of the legions, you can do no better than Simon Scarrow. I'm afraid this one falls way short of both. Not helped, for me, by there being no setting in history. There's virtually no real-life figure in the novel at all. Nearest I can suggest is that because there's a Domitius who's buiding a road in souther France, then that would place it at 118BC but then there's mention of Hannibal as if he were not too long gone. To compound it, he mentions the famous 10th Legion nearly 70 years into the future. Maybe that's what he wants. Certainly no Author's Note at the end explaining anything. However, as I've said, it's readable enough and plenty of loose ends to lead to the next book [already in hardback I think] but some of the storyline is terribly predictable and of the seen-it-all-before type. Some people will enjoy it more than me I'm sure but if you're looking for historical fiction of the Scarrow/Cornwell style, you won't find it here.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
Sorry, it could just be me but I really am struggling to get into this book.

I love historical fiction and have been spoiled I guess by the likes of David Wishart, Stephen Baxter, Ben Kane, Conn Igguldon,and Simon Scarrow (to name but a few). I was looking forward to this trilogy, but really don't know now if I can be bothered with the next two books.

It's not that it's a bad book...rather that I just can't find any interest in, or empathy for, the characters in this bland story that to me just plods along. Actually, it reminds me a bit of Alexander Kent at his worst.

Anyway, this is only MY opinion. Don't let it put you off the book entirely. Maybe I'm just having a bad week.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 11 January 2010
Overall I enjoyed the story, it has lively characters and twists until the very end. However, I though it could have been a bit more illustrative. The Roman era depicted here had many different details from the Imperial one that I think could have made the story richer, had they been laid out for the reader. Plus I noticed quite a few historical inaccuracies.

I never quite felt "submerged" in to the Roman world of the republic.
There were plenty of mentions of the gods saying what role they played, but nothing more about them, which seemed like a wikipedia article to me.
I did not particularly enjoyed the recurrent flashback as the story progressed. I thought those events could have been better explained in a separate chapter or two.
The political plot was all right, the military action was, to put simple, non-existent.

Well, enough of the criticism! I liked it and I most certainly will read the following II in the series. Once I pick up a story I cannot leave it not knowing what happens to the characters! I also loved the way the prophesy kept me guessing all the way through the book.
Loved Aquila, praised Aulus, was fond of Claudia, intrigued by Brennos and despised Lucius at the end.

A must read for Roman fiction devourers!

Valete.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 1 October 2009
Rome was not built in a day and Jack Ludlow would have us believe it in his very slow attempted epic `Republic: The Pillars of Rome'. `Pillars' follows the lifespan of two rich Romans as they rise to power; one in the military, the other in the senate. Both men are destined for great things; however they will go about it differently. For me `Pillars' felt like the world's longest prologue as it was always hinting at things to come and never getting there. The book contained several battles, murder, intrigue and betrayal, yet in every case the issues were skated over quickly in a rush to get to the next plot point. Ludlow would have been far better served slowing the pace down and embellishing the various elements of the book. I dare to say adding additional books to the series may have been a better idea!

Ludlow produces a book that tries to do too much in too little space. I was amazed at how he could write an entire epic battle in 4 pages! There was no sense of drama or suspense as characters were sent in to die. It felt as if all the best moments of the book happened off camera and merely mentioned in terms of how they impacted the two main characters. Being a fan of historical fiction I believe that there are many better equipped books on the Roman period out there to read from the likes of Iggulden and Scarrow. With its slow pace, lack of detail and avoidance of outcomes `Republic: The Pillars of Rome' is one book on the empire to avoid.
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Ludlow has created an amazing historic world, his writing is great, you really get a sense of being in the story, whether it be the rich homes of the nobles or the life of the slaves breaking their backs in the fields. The characters Ludlow has created are strong, I really enjoyed the dialog between the two main protagonists and then difference in their personalities. The only fault I found was I thought the battles scenes were not as good as they could have, that being said it didn't really take anything from the story. If you're a fan of historical fiction they this novel is a must.

Two young noble boys find themselves on a mountainside in search of the Sable a famed Roman oracle. One there they ask for for there future to be told, both boys leave shaken and vow a blood oath always to be there for each other. Thirty years later, one is Romes most powerful general, the other Romes most powerful senator. They both wait with bated breath to see if their prophecy will come true.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on 1 April 2009
I bought the 2nd of the series from a charity shop without realising it was part of a trilogy. So, when I found out, I got the other two from Amazon. I must admit that I nearly didn't continue reading the series as the first book was, I found anyway, somewhat heavy going. But I am very glad that I stuck with it. The book ended up being a very enjoyable read. The main characters are well written, with each of the individuals personalities described in an effortless manner. I am currently two thirds through book 2 and Republic, although not of the same quality as Conn Igguldens Emperor series, is a must for all fans of Roman Fiction.
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on 3 December 2010
Although it took a long time to get here. I got this as a present for my boyfriend and it was in excellent condition and he loves it. Great.
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on 5 January 2015
Ok - not great, but ok.
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0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 6 May 2008
There are some spoliers here, so read with caution.

The book starts with two friends from well-off families seek out a prophesy, which centres around an eagle - one that you will not find in the sky! The book then jumps to the friends in adulthood - one a successful general, the other a successful and corrupt politician. However, they soon fall out due to the general not attending the birth ceremony of the politicians son.

The general cannot attend because his own young wife is giving birth, in secret, to a son conceived while she was a prisoner of the Celts. The child is unwanted and is abandoned in woods to die. The politician has his own secret - his son was deliberately fathered by a slave.

The abandoned child (Aquila) is found and grows up in parallel with the politicians son - one living as a shepherd, the other as a rich mans son.

By the end of the book, however, Aquila's life is in turmoil. His mother dies, his father is away with the Legions, his mentor is shipped of to Sicily, and his girlfriend is given to the politicians son as a political gift.

The plot is set up well for book two.
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