Top critical review
17 people found this helpful
on 17 November 2006
...It seems to be too long for me!
'The Field of Swords' continues on from where 'The Death of Kings' left off - Caesar has helped to end the Spartacus rebellion, but his wife has been murdered, and due to his political influence, has been dispatched to Spain with his Tenth Legion by the Consuls Crassus and Pompey to keep him out of the way.
With the Consular elections approaching in Rome, Caesar sees his chance to end his isolation in Spain, returns to Rome, and is elected Consul. When he effectively renders the other Consul useless, he becomes the most powerful man in Rome, and strikes a deal with Crassus and Pompey, the previous Consuls. Pompey is named proxy-Consul in Caesar's name, and in the meantime, Caesar gets an open Senatorial mandate to go wherever he wants, doing whatever he pleases. So he goes to Gaul, and sets about Romanising it.
Okay, now we're halfway through. You see what I mean? This book should have been split in two! The first half is gripping with Iggulden's blistering narrative pace keeping you turning the pages. However, once Caesar arrives in Gaul (with the newest addition to his cronies, Mark Anthony), the pace quickly slackens. There are some tremendous battles with the various Gaulish tribes, but because Caesar spent nearly 10 years in Gaul, the book seems to slow down, and then jump five years in one go. This breaking up of Iggulden's natural pace shows, as his ability to keep you turning the pages is reduced, and as a writer, that's his biggest advantage.
Vercingetorix's rebellion at the end adds some life back into the book, but it does seem a tad too late. Unfortunately, it seems to be weaker than the previous two volumes, but it does link onto the final chapter, 'The Gods of War'. And as Cabera says on his dying breath to Caesar...
'Beware the Ides of March...'
I have a feeling that the best is yet to come.