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Rome Burning (Romanitas Trilogy 2) [Paperback]

Sophia McDougall
4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)

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Book Description

2 Oct 2008 Romanitas Trilogy 2

The present day but a very different one to the world we know...

The Roman Empire stretches across the Atlantic and far into Asia, yet it is an unstable time. Strange fires burn out of control; the Emperor falls suddenly ill, and a massacre in the shadow of the Great Wall of Terranova brings the world to the brink of a global war. At this critical time, three years after a conspiracy against his life forced him into hiding, the young heir to the throne Marcus Novius must take command of the greatest power on Earth. But his ambitious cousin Drusus - spurred on by a riddling Sybilline prophecy - threatens this last chance to avoid a world conflict, and Una, a former slave whose love for Marcus seems out of place at the Roman court, is drawn into the political intrigue and a dangerous enmity.

Though many of Marcus' friends and supporters are scattered, he can rely on the driven, sharp-witted Una, her idealistic brother Sulien, now working to relieve the suffering of slaves, and Varius, wounded and disillusioned by the past but still committed to the vision of a better Rome. But even these three will find their lives at risk and their loyalties tested, as they encounter unforeseen conflicts and the manoeuvrings of shadowy forces. Both within the Empire and far beyond its borders, simmering tensions are starting to reach boiling point...

Product details

  • Paperback: 608 pages
  • Publisher: Orion (2 Oct 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0752893785
  • ISBN-13: 978-0752893785
  • Product Dimensions: 19.3 x 13 x 4.1 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 841,680 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


McDougall's dystopian vision is rendered all too convincingly, with the singularity of empirical power causing world-wide chaos (SOUTH WALES ARGUS)

Book Description

The story goes global with this brilliant follow-up to ROMANITAS...

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Customer Reviews

4.1 out of 5 stars
4.1 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Epic alternate history & great drama 6 April 2011
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Three years after the events of the first book, Marcus is back in Rome and established as the Emperor-in-Waiting. Theoretically, life should be easier for our motley trio of heroes, and on the surface, it is. Sulien and Una are freed. Sulien is a doctor at a free clinic for slaves, a qqixouixotic effort that gets along with Marcus' patronage and the moral blackmail of Rome's industrial leaders. Una serves Marcus' informal advisor and even more informal lover. Her uncanny ability to read minds makes her an invaluable assistant, and, no matter how politically awkward it may be, the two of them are very much in love.

Nothing's ever easy and our heroes are facing problems both old and new. Drusus, for example, is still lurking around the fringes, feverishly plotting to take the throne for himself. Although no longer heir to the throne, Marcus' conniving cousin is convinced that he will be Emperor.

Also, Marcus is finding that his proposed reforms - especially his desired end to slavery - simply aren't happening. The Empire is too bogged down in its economic and cultural quagmire to enact a change of that magnitude. Marcus and Una's old allies, the escaped slaves, have all but given up hope in Marcus. Their loss of faith stings our heroes deeply.

Everything rapidly comes to a head in Rome Burning when Marcus' uncle, the Emperor Faustus, falls ill. Faustus is still the indecisive, muddle-headed Claudian figure he was in Romanitas, but he is, at least a buffer between the barely-adult Marcus and the burdens of state. When events conspire to make Marcus the Regent, he's now dealing with Rome's problems as well as his own.

And Rome's problems are much larger than Marcus' - Rome is burning.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Marcus comes of age 10 Aug 2009
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This,the second of the 'trilogy' starts off,like the first,somewhat slowly but soon builds in excitement. We have a smooth transition from the closing chapters of the first book into this book.The characters develop a lot more here:Marcus 'Emperor regnant' really comes of age here and the growth in his character enables the reader to empathise more with him. Drusus is suitably vile yet you feel sympathy for him too. Una and Sulien form the triptych around Marcus and the love between all three-brotherley for Marcus & Sulien and physically for Marcus & Una is believable. The story is well paced,the characters,while there are many names to remember, all have their rightful palce in the saga.After reading books 1 & 2 I find myself eager for the conclusion although when this book will be published I do not know (the web site gives no clues) Please let it be soon. The cliffhanger ending of this book was cruelty in itself.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
I love the idea of alternative histories, and this book, as with volume one, certainly seeks to develop an intriguing idea.

It is also a rattling good story, that keeps you turning the pages.

I would like to see some more explanation of what this alternative world looks and feels like (eg the descriptions of longdictors, longvision and flying machines do not feel clear enough to me to get a good mental picture of what they actually look or feel like).

Also the books are very long - the description of the arms factory explosion, for example, running to several pages, felt overdone to me.

But it's a great story and I look forward to volume 3!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Passable but bit of a let down 30 Oct 2007
By Gareth Wilson - Falcata Times Blog TOP 500 REVIEWER VINE VOICE
The second novel in Sophia's Romanitas trilogy, that travels along at its own pace in a well written descriptive manner that keeps you merrily reading with the images of grand architecture building their way into your imagination. However that said the book really didn't do a lot and whilst the architecture was wonderful, the characters were more 2D than 3D and I really did want to Nero the lot of them, a bit more time spent on them and this would have been cracking but alas I suppose only so much can be done at one time.

Whether the third part will improve we have yet to see. I hope so as I did enjoy the first part with the way that the characters of Una and Sulien were lovingly sculpted, which makes it even harder to figure out why she didn't spend quite so much time with the continued development.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
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Rome, 2760 AUC. Three years ago, the Emperor's younger brother was murdered as part of a scheme to seize control of the Roman Empire. His son, Marcus, went into hiding and survived thanks to the help of two slaves, Sulien and Una, who harbour secrets of their own. When the Emperor suffers a stroke, Marcus has to assume the regency. With tensions rising between Rome and her great eastern rival, Nionia, Marcus embarks on a daring peace mission. But there are those within Rome who still covet the Imperial throne, and will use Marcus's past against him.

Rome Burning is the sequel to Sophia McDougall's debut novel, Romanitas, and the middle book of the Romanitas Trilogy (which concludes with Savage City). The premise of the trilogy is straightforward: the Roman Empire never fell and, by the present day, has gone on to conquer most of the world. However, the Empire is still built on the back of capital punishment, slavery and the occupation of other peoples. The principal characters in the books are Marcus, the imperial heir whose view of life is radically altered after spending time in the first book as a fugitive, and Sulien and Una, the freed slaves who now want Marcus to abolish the institution once and for all. Also, somewhat randomly, Una also happens to have mildly telepathic powers (which definitely seem to have been pared down in this second novel).

Romanitas was a flawed novel. It had a strong premise, but the premise was constantly under-explored throughout the novel. Coupled with somewhat poor characterisation and often stodgy prose, it was a hard book to get through, despite the 'on-the-run' storyline giving rise to some interesting tension. Rome Burning shows massive improvements in some areas but, unfortunately, some significant weaknesses in others.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Great what-if read
Good plots but find it difficult to accept the forgiving treatment of the arch-villian. Nice twist to the plot somewhat unexpected. Now ready to follow next instalment.
Published 21 days ago by Raymond Birch
5.0 out of 5 stars Book
As above.
18 more words required.
14 more words required.
10 more words required.
6 more words required.
finished at last!
Published 7 months ago by Amazon Customer
4.0 out of 5 stars Real great hooks
Enjoyed the flow of this book routing for Marcus and good to see some old faces return. Can't wait to get my teeth into third book of this trilogy.
Published 15 months ago by david lloyd
5.0 out of 5 stars Strongly Suggest You Read This Book!
I love this whole trilogy, the concept is detailed and well thought out, even down to the details in the language. Read more
Published on 17 April 2012 by Aspasia
4.0 out of 5 stars good sequel
I really enjoyed this book.I felt the characters developed well from the first of the trilogy.The story line was exciting and unpreditable, and there was enough tension left... Read more
Published on 1 April 2009 by Simon A. Wright
3.0 out of 5 stars An interesting alternative reality
Rome Burning (Romanitas Trilogy 2) This is an interesting piece of alternative-reality writing which is well researched. Read more
Published on 10 Feb 2009 by A. J. Wheeldon
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Character Development and a Cracking Pace of Story
Sophia McDougall continues to combine great vision with a highbrow style of writing not always associated with this type of novel. Read more
Published on 25 Mar 2008 by E Misra
4.0 out of 5 stars Time to flesh out the details!
I am about 3/4 of the way through this second volume and am thoroughly enjoying it, particularly the expansion to include Sina and Nionia (china and japan) and some serious... Read more
Published on 3 Mar 2008 by John Bell
4.0 out of 5 stars A cracking read - with reservations
I agree with the point that some people made in reviews of the first volume, that the "updating" of Rome to the present day was a little disappointing. Read more
Published on 18 Feb 2008 by Richard Carter
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