Emperor of Rome (Vespasian) Hardcover – 3 Jan. 2019
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Stuffed with political deviousness and vivid depictions of war and torture, Fabbri's eighth book of the series is shockingly good., Sunday Sport
Robert Fabbri has a winner on his hands., The BookPlank
A stonking read., Classic FM
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Quite a bit of the book is 'tell' rather than 'show' and I for one would have liked to have seen more of Vespasian when he became Emperor and performed good works instead of ordering terrible punishments dealt out to people who did not fit into their past emperors' lives. We are only told of those at the end ofthe book and we are not sure which son will succeed him unless we look it up. I would have liked it to be Titus who was always a boy fashioned in his father's image, but secretly he too was living a young man's virulent and violent life when he reached his own position of power. Titus was the one who quelled the Jewish rebellions and laid seige to Masada.
As for Domitian, who was not a soldier by nature but more powerful by his own machinations, is it likely that he was the one who was going to wrest the throne from his elder brother when the time arrived . He was the one who annoyed Vespasian so much, and Vespasian was very much against the idea that he should inherit the power of the crown instead of Titus, after his father died. The relationships were much the same in this novel as Vespasian's own relationship with his brother Sabinus.
The devious machinations of Roman power and politics are very evident in this book and some of the plots are difficult to follow as they deal with the then known world's provinces, as the tribesmen and their rulers, puppets or enemies either fight for or against the Roman legions. However, I welcomed the author's notes at the end and I thank Robert Fabbri for them and congratulate him on a very good series which I have enjoyed. Also I think I should start reading Gibbon to discover how much of all this is true and who succeeded who in the Roman Empire. That is when I find the time. I now look forward to reading the Alexandrian series.
Robert Fabbri weaves the historical sources with his fictional world to create an extraordinarily vivid ancient world, where the concerns of people then are the same today, until one is given a stark and brutal reminder of the cruel nature of the time. For those who are yet to discover this series, there are great adventures ahead in the Roman world of the first century.
A wonderfully satisfying conclusion to a great series of historical fiction. I am curious - but certainly not apprehensive - as to where the author goes next... he’s set himself a hard act to follow.
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