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Scipio Hardcover – Mar 1998


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Product details

  • Hardcover: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Canongate Books Ltd; First Edition edition (Mar. 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0862417252
  • ISBN-13: 978-0862417253
  • Product Dimensions: 23.6 x 16 x 3.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 2,091,552 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

"* 'Masterful...even better than Hannibal.' - Allan Massie * 'Leckie brings the battle-tactics and manoeuvres almost cinematically alive and the sense of blood and sweat, chaos and horror linger powerfully on... utterly gripping.' - Scotsman * 'A fine achievement, a thoughtful and stylish piece of historical fiction.' - Daily Telegraph * 'Brightly evocative... it is an erudite and immensely human story of fate, family and friendship from within a warped civilisation to which, like it or not, we owe much today.' - The List" --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

Book Description

An enthralling novel about one of the finest commanders in military history - the man who defeated Hannibal --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

3.1 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Ally Johnsen on 12 May 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
If you wish for a historic illustration, prepare to be woefully misinformed; if you wish for a thrilling read of action set pieces, prepare to be alternately confused, bored and only occasionally excited; and if you wish for a dissemination of human nature, prepare to be patronised.

I do not know whether I am more enraged or disappointed by this book. Never have I so desired to scrawl my criticisms (both literary and historic) in a book more than when I read this. I know that liberties with historical events are taken for the sake of dramatic licence, but here, it gains no such purpose, and indeed suffers for its alterations. In fact, it amazes me that the one obvious storytelling device is not used for this epic saga, and any scholar should be ashamed not to realise it - Polybius.

Anyway, as a piece of fiction, I would call it mediocre at best since it sways from the pompous to crass far too much and far too easily and is dreadfully paced, with virtually all of the incidents of note occurring within the last fifty pages which seem terribly rushed. Meanwhile, much the first half reads like a poor classics lesson of whose purpose I cannot currently fathom. If it is the story of a well-travelled polyglot, then that would be all well and good, if lacking in meaning and intent, but if it is a dramatised version of the biography of Scipio Africanus, then I denounce it unreservedly. From the start, he is presented as an arrogant individual who looks down upon the ill-educated of the Senate, when in reality his attitude was one of resignation and weariness.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 12 Mar. 2001
Format: Paperback
I decided to read this after reading a translated copy of Livy's ancient "The War With Hannibal", which I thoroughly enjoyed, and because I like historical novels. However, looking forward to all of the events described so wonderfully by Livy, I found myself somewhat disappointed (the battle of Cannae, which is supposed to have haunted Scipio so, is dismissed in a few pages when it could have been so much better). This book has its moments, in which it whisks you along with Scipio at great pace, but sadly it has equally dull moments when you actually feel like skipping the pages. The dual narrative, of Scipio and his scribe Bostar, I also found distracting although the idea is a good one. My advice is, if you are a fan of Hannibal and Scipio, turn to Livy instead, and if you are a fan of historical novels set in the Ancient World, try Steven Pressfield's excellent "Gates of Fire" instead.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 9 Sept. 1999
Format: Paperback
...from this and 'Hannibal', the first book in a planned trilogy by the author. Having read Hannibal and thoroughly enjoyed it I was looking forward to Scipio but could not help feeling somewhat disappointed when I finished it. The narrative is well written and the characters strongly drawn and yet... Perhaps Hannibal held a 'darker' appeal, an early Darth Maul! Certainly I found that I could not empathise so well with Scipio as I could with Hannibal, and there were sections of the book which could have done with deeper analysis, such as Scipios' relations with the Senate. Ancient Rome appears somewhat dull compared with the thriving life of Hannibal and his cohorts in the first book. I also felt that the story telling style, consisting of two central characters who are friends recounting their versions of events was not entirely succesful. Master and servant maybe, lovers perhaps, but still the pacing of the novel was slowed by their alleged different counterpoints that were perhaps too similar.Dare I say that it became a little dull in places?. I do not want death and dismemberment at every page but slicker editing could have created a pacier story. I look forward to the authors planned third book, 'Carthage' however and I certainly found my interest in Roman history rekindled. Now if only he could write a trilogy based on 'The Iliad' or Caesars' conquests...( from an experienced foot soldiers point of view!)
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Feanor on 21 Jun. 2007
Format: Paperback
This book seems to suffer both from some poor proof-reading (awful Latin, misspelled Greek) and, in Bostar, a rather colourless intermediary through whom to get to know Scipio Africanus, conqueror of Carthage.

Leckie's books do display a mastery of the warcraft of the generals concerned (Hannibal and Scipio). His descriptions of the infighting in the Roman Republic is masterly, and deftly demonstrates that neither politics, nor indeed human nature, has changed over the centuries - compare the saga of Blair and Brown! But in this book, he seems to have lost his enthusiasm for the story. It feels as though he had a brief biography of Scipio and he concocted some colourless verbiage to fill it out. It is nowhere as good as 'Hannibal', the first book in this series.
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 25 July 2002
Format: Paperback
This author's Hannibal (the previous book in the series) was not subtle or great literature, but it was compelling, nicely quirky, and never uninteresting.
This book is quite different. There is little characterization to speak of. Certainly Scipio himself never comes alive. Bostar, his scribe/sidekick who alternates narrator duties with Scipio, is a bit more interesting, mostly because the reader got to know him a bit in the previous novel. But overall the book is rather dreary -- a not too accurate history book with some dialogue and other made-up stuff thrown in. Throw in for good measure a bizarre consistent typo in the Greek quotations -- all sigmas at the end of words replaced by zetas (waz there no copy editor on thiz book?) -- and the overall effect is amateur hour.
A real disappointment!
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