- Hardcover: 576 pages
- Publisher: Constable (30 Sept. 2010)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1845298586
- ISBN-13: 978-1845298586
- Product Dimensions: 16 x 4.8 x 24 cm
- Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars See all reviews (31 customer reviews)
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 645,794 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Empire: An Epic Novel of Ancient Rome (Rome 2) Hardcover – 30 Sep 2010
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Strewn with spectacular scenes..intrigue and cruelty. (Bent)
This is a great book by a great writer. (newbooks)
A wonderful saga that makes terrific use of rich source material. (Daily Telegraph)
The eagerly awaited sequel to the bestselling Roma.See all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
Let me be clear. I have been a longtime fan of Steven Saylor. The first two thirds of his Roma sub Rosa series about Gordianus the Finder are brilliant.
My problem with Saylor really began with Roma, the first in his pompous new series about ancient Rome, and really brings Empire to a halt. What seems to have happened is that Saylor has done huge amounts of research and feels the need to ensure everyone knows it. As a result the book - as far as I had to heart to read it anyway - is a long series of dialogues when a character can't just say what is happening - it has to be then explained in terms of what the history of the person/place/event is, what the colour of their clothes were - what the metaphysical or allegorical omens of the day were. All of which simply seems to say "Aren't I clever with what I know.." But you really just want to shout at the page "Get on with it".
Because Saylor's writing style is so ponderous and exasperating quite what the story is becomes meaningless. To his credit (hence two stars)he's trying to tell the story of ancient Rome from birth to death through one family line. But by now you just don't care. I'm saddened to say I couldn't finish this - and hope the charity shop at least makes some money from my misery.
If you want to read really classy stories about Rome read Robert Harris, or go back to Robert Graves and I Claudius. Give Saylor a very wide miss. Sorry.
But Empire is a different matter. I found I wasn't learning much, because unlike the Gordianus series, or Lindsey Davis' Falco, where it's easy to tell the difference between the historical figures and the lowlifes who provide most of the narrative, here you have to know already that Pinarius senior is a historical figure, but (as far as I know) his descendants aren't. The dialogue is over-didactic and stilted. On the whole, not much fun.
But I stayed with it until page 93, when I found that the ancient family amulet, interpreted by Claudius as a winged phallus, is suddenly reinterpreted by the more radically-minded twin - in 41AD, less than a decade after the crucifixion - as the Christian cross 'on which our saviour, Jesus Christ, was killed' and which is thereby 'a holy symbol'. As any fule kno, the cross did not emerge distinctively as a Christian symbol for another century at least.
Sorry, Steven, I really can't be bothered with The Robe revisited. Save it for the US market.
In the past its always been a bit ploddy and slow, but i always took that as part of the story, its not designed for pace its not swords and sandals type fiction.
But Empire...Gah! its just.... well so dreary it felt like i was being dragged through the plot kicking and screaming "no leave me alone, let me find a decent book" .
There is plenty of the usual research, but as other have noted, instead of letting you discover it i felt like i was being hit around the head with the text book by teacher for not knowing it.
This maybe my last for Saylor, the power has been waining... the empire may be dead Death to the emperor!
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Not his best, starts well but deteriorates into a lot of rambling on about the perverse sexual activities of notable historical Romans. Read morePublished 2 months ago by Kindle Customer
The book is well researched and by using his ongoing family of mere mortals, Saylor manages to portray this ancient civilisation beautifully. A worthy successor to Roma,Published 6 months ago by Viva
It was a well researched account of a family's mixed fortunes through the reigns of various iconic Emperors; but I have to say that I have read much better books by this author.Published 9 months ago by PatriciaAnn
Resorts far too easily too appealing to the readers baser instincts than telling a good and atmospheric story. Read morePublished 20 months ago by Philip Iszatt
I love Steven Saylor's novels. They transport you right to the heart of Rome and and its empire.They help you to imagine the intense machinations of the Imperial court and its... Read morePublished on 26 Aug. 2014 by MartinandKashka
Steven Saylor never fails to achieve a superbly written and readable novelPublished on 3 Aug. 2014 by Terry NOBLE