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on 24 September 2013
I have often thought that modern day USA resembles a little too much for its own good the last days of the Roman Empire, and I'm obviously not the only one. This book takes the resemblance and turns it into an interesting single story of two young men whose parallel lives take the same path despite being a couple of thousand years apart.

Running through the story in both eras is The Meditations which turns up at unexpected moments to offer food for thought, solace, and a link to sanity. In fact, the material on which to meditate in this book is so interesting, I'm going to download it asap.

The story is sometimes a little confusing, but it doesn't take long to understand what the author is trying to achieve. Each chapter follows on from the previous one in the other time period. Mark has an experience in one chapter which is followed by Marcus doing what comes next in his time period. You don't get to reread what Marcus' version of the experience was beyond the initial introductory chapters. It's an interesting way of writing.

The descriptions of Roman life are colourful, as you'd imagine, but as corrupt and debauched as the descriptions of modern day US. I didn't understand who was supposed to be the last Stoic in 21st century US because all the chapters dealing with him directly happened in Rome. Intentionally, perhaps.

Anyway, an unusual read.
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on 22 January 2013
I'm always impressed when a writer successfully brings to life a place and time so different from our own. Wade has a wonderful gift for evoking mood and atmosphere, coupled with an intelligent sense for drama. In The Last Stoic, he skillfully weaves two story lines together, his gentle use of philosophy allowing the reader to learn, but also to reach her own conclusions.

Tellingly, nearly a year after reading it, several scenes are still imprinted on my mind.
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on 30 November 2012
This fine debut novel by Kingstonian Morgan Wade offers both literary innovation and incisive political commentary. Set both in ancient Rome as well as contemporary north America, the novel seamlessly moves at an Irvine-Welsh compelling pace, alternating between two sets of corresponding characters, from the contemporary to the ancient. Wade's inspiration allows him to compellingly depict for us a dystopia that is painfully reminiscent of our everyday worlds: a post George W. Bush, Patriot Act America, and a Security Certificate, no sunset clause Canada, steeped in the discourse of inevitable war. His portrayals of the nightmare of a security state, and the attempt to find one's way in its thrall, invite comparisons to Steven Heighton's depiction of bureaucratic horror on the Chinese-Tibetan frontier in his Every Lost Country. The solace of Marcus Aurelius' Meditations stands as a shadow of rationality against the carnivalesque of the politics of terror. Looking forward to more from this author.
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on 31 August 2013
I never really did manage to get to grips with the links between the two time periods or what the link was between Mark/Marcus and Patrick/Patricus, and I'm not sure the author actually tried to explain them. I lost interest in the disjointed, disconnected plot.
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on 3 December 2012
Morgan Wade's debut novel, "The Last Stoic," is not a typical read for me, but I was quickly drawn in by his innovative form and muscular prose. I love fiction that brings history to life, and also sheds light on our current times and Wade accomplishes both of these. Set in both the ancient Roman Empire and contemporary post-911 America, Wade draws parallels between these two times, using the words of philosopher Marcus Aurelius. Wade's work is well-written, well-researched and makes you think. I would recommend this for a book-club looking to stretch their reading horizons.
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on 3 December 2012
The Last Stoic cuts through time with a narrative that reminds us that we are just new wine in old bottles. The repartee between the present and the past that Morgan creates with this shockingly good first novel is fluid. The connecting thread is an ancient text that holds significance for the two protagonists mirrored in time. We could all use a bit of Marcus Aurelius' meditations. As a result, the story inspires not just a new view on the past but greater insight into the present. My only complaint about the book is that when I was finished I was left hungry for more.
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on 30 November 2012
The Last Stoic is an extremely well-written story. Morgan Wade, the author, switches between Roman and modern times, and he does so very effectively. This very interesting technique adds a great deal to the enjoyment of the story.

I especially liked the Roman sections. From the graphic and detailed opening scene, to the end of the book, I felt like I was right there in the Roman Empire with Marcus.

The Last Stoic is well worth your time.
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on 2 December 2012
Morgan Wade's unique way of weaving 2 stories into one is seamless and never misses a beat. His masterful use of language is rich and colourful so as to evoke both worlds, Ancient Rome and America today, not only spiritually and emotionally but physically as well. The Last Stoic is an intriguing read on so many levels and I can't wait for Morgan's next novel.
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on 5 December 2012
I don't normally enjoy reading books on history but I thoroughly enjoyed this story! It was engaging from the very beginning and the author created a fascinating parallel between the two main characters, who were worlds and years apart and shouldn't have had anything in common at all. I highly recommend The Last Stoic!
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on 22 December 2012
Very interesting book, particularly for anyone interested in both history and the continuity of history and modern life. A good story well told, thanks Morgan Wade!
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