11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
Brilliant read - (and some answers to a few criticisms),
This review is from: Hannibal: Pride Of Carthage (Paperback)
This book is a fantastic read for anyone; whether with prior knowledge of the second punic war or not. The characters are brilliantly portrayed with an engaging plot line sensitive to the original works of the ancient authors themselves. The battle scenes are described in much detail. Due to the descriptions of the battles and the odd sex scene, be wary of what age person you buy this book for.
Although some events may have been slightly changed and peoples personal motives are given when no historian can ever truly know the intentions of someone living 2,000+ years ago. This is where the fiction part comes in. To get the reader to know the people involved in events the author has to make decisions as to which motive serves the book best and I felt Mr. Durham did that exceptionally well. What impressed me most, however, was the sense that the author was on one side or the other. The objectivity of the book is a breath of fresh air in historical fiction, with neither side being portrayed as a "baddy" or "goody".
I am not a huge fan of interference of fictional charcters into main plot lines so was glad when the fictional charcters of Imco and Aradna did not alter events by their own actions. i found the story between the two of them very moving and felt it was a worthwhile addition to the book.
I cannot praise the fluency of the author enough. Although a mammoth length, at no point does it get over bearing. Concidering even Livy (one of the main sources) was pretty much writing historcal fiction when he wrote his works on the war, i felt as though Mr. Durham handled his sources very delicately and did them great justice in a great novel.
I feel that one of the neagative reviews seems to not ultimately be about the book at all but about some of the views of Mr. Durham. The genocide of the third punic war is irrelovant to the book. I felt no political hidden agenda of the author in the slightest and was very impressed with the historical accuracy of the book. Also although predominantly a mercanary army, Hannibals crack troops were his Carthaginians which had also fought in spain with him.
I felt that the battles included were of importance to the story of the book. The title is Hannibal, therefore most of the action should be directly related to the title character. The battles of Scipio Africanus in Spain are of importance as they chart the rise of the man who would eventually defeat Hannibal. Whereas Syracuse, although a brilliant piece of commandership from Marcllus, does not directly effect Hannibal apart from the loss of a major city on Sicily.
I am glad the author stopped the book where he did. Although I love the conversation recorded in the Periochae of Livy between Scipio and Hannibal ... the likelihood of it actually taking place are so remote and would take away from the book.
This is a fantastic book, and would thoroughly recommend it. Don't be put off by the odd negative review; whether Hannibal was black or not is of very little consequence ... the story is very well told and was engaging from start to finish. Superb.