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26 of 29 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars great second part of "Masters of Rome"
First,if you plan to read "Grass crown" -you should start from the beggining-and that is "First man in Rome"!This book continues where the "First man in Rome" ended.Maybe first 100 pages or so are a little boring and fluid,but don't let that dissapoint you,the rest of the book is excellent.The author, Colleen McCullough,based all of her "roman" books on firm historical...
Published on 16 Dec 2003

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Highly disappointing
Having read the excellent 'First Man in Rome' I was highly excited for the coming clash between Marius and Sulla.

However, the few faults of the first book are exacerbated here and really make for a turgid and painful read.

Firstly, whilst the use of many perspectives was a strength in the first book, here it just takes away from the central...
Published 12 months ago by Jesse


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26 of 29 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars great second part of "Masters of Rome", 16 Dec 2003
By A Customer
This review is from: The Grass Crown (Masters of Rome) (Paperback)
First,if you plan to read "Grass crown" -you should start from the beggining-and that is "First man in Rome"!This book continues where the "First man in Rome" ended.Maybe first 100 pages or so are a little boring and fluid,but don't let that dissapoint you,the rest of the book is excellent.The author, Colleen McCullough,based all of her "roman" books on firm historical facts so anybody who knows anything about Marius and Sulla ,and the civil war in Rome that they started, will know where this book leads...so i don't intend to write any spoilers here.Just read the book,those ~1000 pages are worth of your time!
I would recommend it to all of you who,like me,love reading about ancient Rome,its life,turmoils,ups and downs and great Romans who created world history.But also, i think "Grass crown" is deffinitely must read for everybody who appriciate GOOD book!
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent fictional recreation of ancient Rome, 21 Feb 2007
By 
Roman Clodia (London) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Grass Crown (Masters of Rome) (Paperback)
This is volume 2 of McCullough's massive 6 book series, and follows the decline of Marius into illness and madness, and the ruthless rise of Sulla. The two men, once friends and mentor/apprentice, become enemies, and draw the Roman world into their bloody conflict.

McCullough is excellent at sticking to the sources and yet bringing the characters and events to real life. No-one is a single-dimensional hero or villain, and the moral complexities of the age are delineated marvellously.

This is a little-known period of history, and McCullough is excellent at conveying the unease and political turbulence that was to eventually brind down the Republic.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The most gripping history lesson I ever had, pure brilliance, 18 May 2001
By A Customer
This review is from: The Grass Crown (Paperback)
Following on from The First Man in Rome, this book delves deeper into the character of Cornelius Sulla. Not only do we now see him as a bisexual murderer bent only on personal gain and gratification, but also as a gifted politician and general. The attention to detail is quite exquisite and no amount of praise can be given to persuade anyone with even the slightest amount of interest in the Roman culture to buy both this and The First Man in Rome.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Highly disappointing, 14 Aug 2013
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This review is from: The Grass Crown (Masters of Rome) (Paperback)
Having read the excellent 'First Man in Rome' I was highly excited for the coming clash between Marius and Sulla.

However, the few faults of the first book are exacerbated here and really make for a turgid and painful read.

Firstly, whilst the use of many perspectives was a strength in the first book, here it just takes away from the central narrative to the point where I'm not even sure what the central narrative was. I chose to read this book mainly because I was interested in Sulla and Marius, two men who do not feature greatly in literature. I do not want to read about in such length about people like Drusus, Caepios and Aurelias.

Whilst this somewhat benefited the main story in the first book, here it is just excruciatingly frustrating. The narrative meanders for sometimes 20 pages at a time about inanities when it could be furthering the story. It detracts from the main characters and I found it made the whole book a convoluted and unnecessarily long affair.

Secondly, similiar to the above point, I also found the letters sent by Rutilius Rufus extremely long and boring. As a plot device to tell us what is happening in Rome when the characters are away it is a sound idea, but his prose is incredibly frustrating, I share Marius' consternation in reading his letters. This, to the authors credit is probably what she intended to do, as Rutilius considered himself a man of purple letters, but it is still very boring to read when you want the story to advance, and it constantly bogs down in pointless passages.

Thirdly, whereas I was astounded by her literary skill in the first book, I felt that in this book, she falls prey to all the tired cliches used by numerous sub-standard 'authors' of Roman fiction. One notable example of this is her depiction of Gaius Julius Caesar. When he is first introduced, he is only 22 months old, yet she waxes lyrical already about his precociousness and intelligence to the point where the whole thing becomes farcical.

It is a perfect example of letting hindsight and admiration for a historical figure skewer her writing. Whilst we obviously expect to read about him and his abilities in a admiring way, I do not expect to be reading about a child prodigy, already portrayed as more intelligent than all the other characters in the book at two years old!

All in all, the book is painfully slow to move, OVERLY descriptive, features too many characters points of view, and commits the unforgivable crime of keeping banal characters in purely because she wants to use them in the sequels. This is akin to ruining the proper conclusion of a film, just because you want to make it clear that you are making a sequel.

I feel let down because I was so very excited to read about the falling out between Marius and Sulla,and the titanic clash that followed, but felt robbed of this experience.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing, 28 Sep 2008
By 
M. Khan (London, England) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Grass Crown (Masters of Rome) (Paperback)
This book genuinely is a must read for all those interested in Ancient Rome, or just books generally based on events in Ancient history. this of course is the second book in the masters of rome series, and in terms of page turners this is a lot better than its predecessor. for those intrigued in both a page turner and something based on historical fact then the masters of rome series, and this book in particular are the best ive read so far. however if a reader is more interested in a page turner, and something to move more fluidly, the emperor series, based on the same period is perhaps a better choice.
however this book, gives the reader a wonderful insight into the political forum of Rome, taking time to detail not only events in Rome, but the reasoning behind why certain actions were taken. the author makes sure that the reader truly understands the characters, their motives and ultimately their actions. readers can truly understand why Sulla, Marius and Drusus make the decisions they do and follow the paths they do, allowing the reader to understand the nuances of Rome at the time.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars As gripping as pure fiction, but surprisingly it is history!, 15 July 1999
By A Customer
This review is from: The Grass Crown (Paperback)
As in her first book "The First Man in Rome" this second novel of the series from C. McCullough covers a time you probably have not heard much about when you were taught history or Latin in school. So you will hold most of what is told here to be just a fictitious story. Of course you recognise some of the more illustrious names, but it is all too weird, too bloody, too chaotic to really have happened. But amazingly, when you start to do some research yourself, it all turns out to be as the scholarly, mostly unreadable books about the subject describe it. I have indeed not found one (!) description in "The Grass Crown" that would be in contradiction to antic sources or learned guesses (McCullough identifies her own guesses at the end).I have even rebought that old Sallust "Bellum Iugurthinum" I burned after my graduation. Having read a lot of books about that time now, I still would give this to my children to teach them about the time, of course only when they are old enough to stomach the sex and violence so openly described in this absolutely stunning book. Just one thing: The utter admiration shown of G. Iulius Caesar by McCullough may be a bit too much if measured against the real historic person, but that seems forgivable...
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars My personal favourite of her Roman series, 11 Oct 2000
By A Customer
This review is from: The Grass Crown (Paperback)
I adore her characterisation of Sulla. Whilst it still reads as very informative and text bookish the characterisation of Sulla, which is far more accurate than one might ever have dreamed, so far as the primary sources would indicate, is strong and compelling. For all his vices - and they are considerable - I can't help but admire him enormously. A brilliant read but not for the fainthearted.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars gripping, 28 Mar 2009
By 
R. Moore "Ros Moore" (Wellingborough England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Grass Crown (Masters of Rome) (Paperback)
I have the whole series of the "Masters of Rome", I read them again and again from start to finish of the series. ALL are brilliantly written, later books have a short synopsis of the previous volume. They also have..at the end a brilliant glossary of the Latin terms, very helpful I found.
So please start at the first book "The First Man in Rome" and continue in the order of writing, then like me you will treasure them and read every couple of years through the whole lot again !
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I Bring You Julius Caesar!, 8 Aug 2007
By 
Mr. William Oxley "oxenblocks" (England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Grass Crown (Masters of Rome) (Paperback)
This is the second book in the Masters of Rome series of six. The first book being The First Man in Rome. And if you enjoyed the first book, then you will love this one.

Back again are Marius and Sulla. Marius has had great success in the past, but now step forward Sulla. And Julius Caesar? He is born at the start of the book and is but a young man at the end. His time is yet to come.

Again the story is great and really brings the smell of Rome into your nose, the whisper of political intrigue into your ears, and the real action comes to life before your eyes.

Read it now. But first order the third book, Fortunes Favorites, to arrive in time for when you finish this one.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A vast, panoramic window pulling you through to ancient Rome, 6 Jun 2014
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This review is from: The Grass Crown (Masters of Rome) (Paperback)
When I close my eyes after reading even a few pages from these books, I am there, with Marius, listening in to the conversations, the intrigue, the tumultuous events that unfold. Make no mistake, these books are epic in size and achievement. I am regretful that CM is one of the first female authors I've read - not through any misguided or derogatory view on female authors, only that I always felt that it would be impossible to connect with them as a man. How wrong and naive that sentiment was. Dive into these novels and you will be transported. The level of detail, the research, the sense of foreboding, of impending doom or climactic satisfaction for these rich and multi-faceted characters is laced throughout the narrative and I am just glad that there are as many in the series as there are. Go on. Dive in. Join them.
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The Grass Crown (Masters of Rome) by Colleen McCullough Doctor of Neurophysiology (Paperback - 7 Aug 2003)
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