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4.4 out of 5 stars179
4.4 out of 5 stars
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on 11 September 2013
This is the first Fabbri that I read and I did not feel lost having not the read the books in order.
Robert Fabbri is fantastic. He is not the usual Roman themed writer as it is well written. It is not for children. It does not shy away from the gritty, gory or sexy parts of the Roman world. It does talk a lot of the military aspect but also has a lot of content about the social, political parts of the Roman world. As a Roman archaeologist I enjoyed it immensely.
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on 17 February 2013
i really enjoyed this book, really graphic and got to the base of the story you couldnt help but read the book because of the great character plots and the descripsion of the surroundings, i sometimes thought i was actually in rome itself, You also feel a great deal of hate towards Caligula, its true and now reading the book you understand why he was murdered, bloody loved it keep up the good work cant wait for the next one
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on 18 August 2013
I was engrossed while reading this book even though I found parts distasteful I recognised it was in keeping with the kind of actions carried out at the time. The characters are at the heart of the story making you feel you know them even if they are not very nice. I am very much looking forward to reading the next book in the series.
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on 30 January 2013
To be honest Robert Fabbri has been a bit of a hit-and-miss writer until now, but always a solid author of Roman boys-own novels. I was unsure of whether to give him another shot, and I am glad that I did!

Fabbri's Vespasian series is the literary version of car-crash TV. If you know your history [or Robert Graves], then you know what is coming . . . and you still have to look. No modern writer gets to grips with Roman politics like Fabbri does - or Roman culture for that matter. And I was delighted that he avoided romanticizing Roman Judaea in the same way that MC Scott does.

In my review of Vespasian II I criticized some of Fabbri's characterization [or lack of.] Fabbri with this next installment is proving that he is maturing as a writer. Vespasian has developed in to an anti-hero - and I've always thought that the Romans where the perfect candidate for some great anti-heroes, but we seem to be drowning in heroic heroes and villianous bad guys. Fabbri's getting there but still coming up slightly short on convincing me this Vespasian will become the destroyer of Jerusalem and conqueror of Britain. But I am sure that will come in time. Caenis still comes across as a door-mat, but at least she has now developed a third-dimension. But I thought Flavia is a wonderful character, and will prove a formidable woman and mother of the Flavian dynasty.

My only real criticism was Fabbri's handling of Early Christianity. He appears to have relied too heavily on Pauline doctrine, before Pauline doctrine existed. The result is a confusion over Christ's nature [divine vs human] and his resurrection. St Paul's Gospel is a turning point in Christian theology, and Fabbri should have focused more on the Apostlic Gospels [John, Mark and Matthew.] Although I would like to know where Peter is in the story, as he and Paul had a very antagonistic relationship. If you are interested in the subject, then I recommend Charles Freeman's 'A New History of Early Christianity.'

It also seems that Fabbri isn't big on forensics, otherwise he would know there are other signs of drowning than bruising and a bit of water. Maybe most won't notice this, but an avid reader of crime fiction will, and leaves a gaping plot hole you could ride a chariot through.

Four stars.
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on 13 August 2013
At the moment I am into this type of history based novel so I found the book interesting, exciting and difficult to put down. Though not entirely factual, the story line is reasonable in the context of the plot and the characters totally believable. All in all a good read and I intend to read more from this author.
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on 1 October 2013
As ever Robert Fabbri delivers. This book reads as if it was modern day, through the perfect use of Fabbri's interpretation and his ability to take you through a real drama. It has got to the stage, I just need to see his name and I will buy the book. Just started Fallen Eagle, can't wait to get into this story
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on 18 May 2013
Something has gone very badly wrong with Robert Fabbri's hero Vespasian. He has become a snivelling toady, scared of his own shadow. OK, for the sake of historical accuracy Fabbri has had to show that the senators of Rome had to resort to sickening sycophancy to survive the madness of the Emperor Caligula, but I like my heroes to be heroes. Vespassian alone should have been shown in a more noble light if Fabbri expects us to like him and root for him. Making him the same as the other cringing sycophants just makes him appear weak and unlikeable.

To top it all the story doesn't really contain the heroic elemenst necessary to maintain suspense. I was continually waiting for the climax of the story only to find there wasn't one. Caligula's headlong gallop over the bridge he had built across the bay of Naples and its aftermath just didn't provide any moment that allowed the hero to be a hero. The hero has to save the day and Vespassian just didn't have any part to play. To make Vespassian have any role at all Fabbri had to concoct a story about him saving his uncle from drowning - and even then he had help from his brother and the boat's crew.

Will I read the next episode? Probably, but it if Vespassian doesn't become the hero of the hour then it will be the last one I'll be reading.
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on 25 May 2013
The Vespasian series of books which for completeness needs to include 'The Crossroad Brothers'.form a rattling good historical fiction story. I look forward to reading other books from this author . Highly recommend I look forward to reading other books from this author.
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on 8 October 2014
Just a damn good story again. Very crisp writing style, descriptive but not overly so and runs at a pace which means you struggle to put it down.
Well done and I look forward to another Fabbri book.
Francis Mulhern - author, Camillus, dictator of Rome series
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on 28 January 2013
I have read dozens of books on this subject, but this was gruesome. I couldn't put it down, because just when you thought Caligula had done something appalling, he did something even worse. I was exhausted by the end, and so glad the hero survived. Highly recommended.
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