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101 of 107 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars If you want a little escapism in your day!
I have always been a keen reader of historically "based" books and my only slight disappointment is that this book does not so much rely historical fact as "bend" it to fit in with the book's story. But the author - even at his ending historical note - never pretends that this is the "definitive" narrative of one of history's most famous figures .
Never the less,...
Published on 4 Nov 2003 by eztigrrrr

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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Julius Caesar is cheapened
These books are set during one of the most turbulent and exciting parts of human history - the infamous late Republican period in Rome.
Why, why, WHY does Mr Iggulden think that he can write a better version of events by changing several of the most important historical facts? That's the problem, Conn doesn't completely depart from historical accuracy, it's just a...
Published on 25 Nov 2010 by A. J. Thirkell


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101 of 107 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars If you want a little escapism in your day!, 4 Nov 2003
I have always been a keen reader of historically "based" books and my only slight disappointment is that this book does not so much rely historical fact as "bend" it to fit in with the book's story. But the author - even at his ending historical note - never pretends that this is the "definitive" narrative of one of history's most famous figures .
Never the less, this was a very enjoyable adventure which follows the growing up of two young Roman boys living on the outskirts of a turbulent Rome....from their early lives up until they go their separate ways, one into the political intrigue of the Roman Senate and the other to fight in one of Rome's far flung legions. It would be a good read for anyone who has enjoyed Cornwell's novels, and even for those interested in fantasy and / or non fictional works. The mixes humour with tradgedy, affection with war, and there is enough adventure in there to keep the reader flying through the book.
If you are a person who enjoys a little escapism in their novels, and wants a good book with Sharpesque swash and buckle, then buy this book. If you are looking for pure fact then buy something from the non fiction section. I didn't watch Gladiator for it's historical content and I didn't buy this book for that either!!
And by the way, my whole reading experience was slightly tarnished by one Amazon "reviewer" who decided to give away all the details of the two main characters in the book in his review. This definitely takes the "kick" out of the ending. Please try not to do this!! there are readers out there who want to read the book prior to knowing all the plot twists!!!
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Two Little Boys, 20 Sep 2009
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
No, not a Rolf Harris story!

The first book starts with two boys - Julius and Marcus - who grow up together on an estate outside Rome, fighting the local bully, and being trained by the estate manager and former gladiator.

Like Cornwell with his Arthur stories where Lancelot was turned from hero into a cowardly, preening, pompous twit, in this book Marcus (who you later learn is the Brutus from 'Et tu.....?') is changed from the potential coward, preening, pompous twit you might have thought from other stories into a sword swinging hero.

Yes, this book and the others twist the truth. For starters, the age gap between Julius and Brutus was far bigger in real life, but this is fiction based on fact. And it works well. A great start to what is a tremendous quartet.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Masterpiece in the sub-genre of high energy historical novel, 28 July 2009
Iggulden - extraordinary name - has found the perfect balance between steroidal action romp and historical integrity. There's no ambition to pen a psychological profile of Caesar or overwhelm the reader with a knowledge of period sword-making. This is about telling a story and turning pages. It is just class plotting and pacing with some period texture. He knows what he does well.
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32 of 37 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Historic Novel Well Worth the Read., 21 Mar 2005
By 
DDS - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
The Gates of Rome is the first novel in the Emperor series written by the ex-English teacher Conn Iggulden. Unfortunately my first impression was unfavourable, a comparison with the 'blockbuster' movie Gladiator. The cover features a gladiator's helmet and quotes The Times, 'If you liked Gladiator, you'll love Emperor'. However The Gates of Rome is no mere Hollywood distraction like the previously mentioned Gladiator, the recent Troy, and the soon to be released Alexander. Instead it is a true historical epic with fewer gladiators than the cover would have you believe (however for those who look for such things, the occasional gladiator does appear). It is an instant classic with all the depth and passion that you would associate with one.
Emperor: The Gates of Rome is the story of two young boys, Gaius and Marcus, who are destined to become two of the greatest Romans, who are still, even today, house-hold names. Cleverly and well written, the story hides the identities of the two boys until well into the book. The reader is continually drawn into the story with Conn Iggulden's descriptive style evoking the ancient Roman world incredibly well. We are taken from the rural farm of Gaius and Marcus's youth into the opulent Rome with all the excitements of gladiatorial games, political manoeuvrings of the senate and the deadliness of war. We follow the boys on the early steps of their careers, Gaius as a senator and Marcus as a legionary, both hoping to one day to make their impact on the Rome they love so much.
The Gates of Rome is incredibly well written, although this is sometimes achieved at the cost of historical accuracy. However, this is excusable, as all the changes made improve the plot and the passage of the story. In fact, the whole story is so well written that the 600 and so pages are consumed far too quickly, leaving you with only a single consolation; that there are two more books already published and hopefully more on the way.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Julius Caesar is cheapened, 25 Nov 2010
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These books are set during one of the most turbulent and exciting parts of human history - the infamous late Republican period in Rome.
Why, why, WHY does Mr Iggulden think that he can write a better version of events by changing several of the most important historical facts? That's the problem, Conn doesn't completely depart from historical accuracy, it's just a few infuriatingly glaring liberties that make you go "What??" every now and then while reading the series.
It's all designed to portray Julius Caesar as a superman who did everything pretty much single-handedly. Caesar was indeed a great man, but Conn massively cheapens his character by fatuously attributing to him all the ridiculous achievements described in this series.
In between the "What??" moments there is genuinely exciting prose. I read the whole series only moderately painfully, but sheer disbelief at what I was being asked to accept at times meant I nearly put it down. I put a 'Historical Fantasy' tag on the series for the incredible amount of suspending of disbelief you need to do in order to get through it.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Conn Iggulden: The Gates Of Rome, 4 April 2003
By 
Paul Chapman (Co. Antrim United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
Excellent. A gripping read. I really can't wait for more. Are these just the old cliches? I don't think so. For me, Conn Iggulden has managed to put me right into the sandals of a Roman during their epic reign so many years ago.
The book has a quality look about it from the magnificent Roman landscape background and faceless helmet cover. It drew me to it and told me it was going to be a thrilling read.
And that it is. Following the paths of two young friends, Gaius and Marcus, living under the roof of Julius Ceasers house we see their paths wind into young adulthood. Gaius to follow his father, Julius, into the Senate and Marcus into the Legions of the Roman warriors. Along this path they must first establish themselves as soldiers under the leadership of the ruthless but caring Renius and then to Rome itself where they can witness gladiatorial combat and be invloved in political intrigue and Roman nobilitas. The finale of the book is a battle to secure Rome from its own doom.
The book is perfectly writen. You fall for the characters, each with his or her little gems. I particularily liked the mysterious healer, Cabera and Renius, the soldier task master who cares for his protege Marcus - a worthy adversary and self-adopted son to the powerful father figure.
The landscapes of Roman countryside and the great city itself are built wonderfully in your head pulling you into her smells, noise and corruption.
The battle scenes are discriptive in every detail, from the code of dress worn by the Roman soldiers to the equipment used and the fighting technics employed.
According to the covers this is the first in a series of "Emperor" novels and I truly cannot wait until the second installment arrives. Conn Iggulden is surely a new name to look out for in historical novels and a worthy addition to the genre in the footsteps of the master himself - Bernard Cornwell. If you like Cornwell you will love Iggulden.
Take my advise. Buy it, read it and love it like I did.
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35 of 42 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars best historical novel I've read in ages!, 4 Nov 2003
The Gates of Rome is a fantastic read which centres around the young lives of two of Romes most famous historical figures, which cleverly the identities of which the author manages to conceal until well into the book. It vividly recreates and brings to life a world which has long since been lost, from Igguldens descriptions of battles, family life, political life and even architecture, of which nothing more remains today except ruins.
As I am a historian, (though specialising in medieval history, I am not an expert in ancient Rome,) the added strength of this book is that it is set in an era which is seldom portrayed either in literature or art, except in the history books of university libraries. The scene is set during the times of struggle between the two great consuls of Rome, Marius and Sulla not long before the demise of the great Roman Republic and the return to kingship and the era of the emperors. This stage in Rome's history is fascinating.
Due to the events taking place around 2 millenia ago, many fine details and facts cannot be established especially about the early lives of the characters in this book but Mr Iggulden makes no claim that his work is in any way historically accurate, but nevertheless his version of events is believable and completely absorbing.
I loved this book and cannot wait to see what the author has in store for us in his next novel in January!
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15 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This is Fiction not Fact, 6 Aug 2009
By 
What you need to understand is this series of books are a fictitious story loosely based on facts. As with TV histories for films and dramas facts are adapted to make the story more gripping and readable. If you want a book that is purely facts then don't buy this, buy a textbook written by a historian. These books are excellent if you bear in mind they are not out to get the facts clear and right; instead they are out to produce a good story that is based on the life of one of the most famous Roman Emperors, Gaius Julius Caesar.

The story is good, it is interesting and would satisfy any reader who loves a good story. This book has good descriptions of the people and places of Rome, which help to create a clear picture in your mind of what is going on and what life was like during those times.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Utterly unputdownable!!!, 5 July 2005
The Emperor series was recommended to me, and thanks goodness - I am totally hooked!!! Compassionate fictional depiction of Caesar's childhood, coupled with a desire for acceptance and greatness and gripping battle scenes makes this book utterly unputdownable. So much so that I have bought the entire series and am rapidly advancing through the Death of Kings. Each book is more gripping than the last. I and many others I know are eagerly awaiting the fourth book in the series. Fantastic fiction which gives you a real life insight into Roman life and times - read it!!!
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Quite the worst book set in Rome I've ever come accross, 18 April 2007
There really is very little that's good about this series. Perhaps if it was called, say, "Drussus the Roman", and Drussus had a magic battle-axe, it might have been fun and sat well in the heroic fantasy shelves.

But the comedy of Caesar riding around on David Gemmell's "swayback" horses is just daft. And I like David Gemmell.

It's been mentioned in other comments that people complaining about the lack of historical accuracy is terribly pedantic and boring: the sort of stuff that shouldn't get in the way of a good story from people who'd be much happier with Mommsen.

Not true. Iggulden's series is about as close to the facts as a story about the Second World War which featured Peter Pan growing up to be Prime Minister and saving Neverland from the evil Klingons.

The fairy-dust stuff just makes the story unbelievable. And not in a good way.

If you're looking for a good novel about Caesar, read Colleen McCullough's Masters of Rome series. It is so much better on every possible level than this rubbish.
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