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Pride of Carthage: A Novel of Hannibal Paperback – 3 Jan 2006

3.9 out of 5 stars 9 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 568 pages
  • Publisher: Anchor Books; Reprint edition (3 Jan. 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0385722494
  • ISBN-13: 978-0385722490
  • Product Dimensions: 13.2 x 2.7 x 20.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 124,124 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product description

Review

"Durham vividly captures the frenzy of ancient warfare. . . . A skillfully structured, gripping novel -"New York Times""Masterly. . . . First-rate historical fiction. Durham has delivered some of the best battle scenes on the page since Michael Shaara's Civil War fiction." -"San Francisco Chronicle""Stunning. . . . A brilliant exploration of the tension between private destiny and historical force." --"The Christian Science Monitor""Fascinating. . . . Nimbly exploits what is known about this distant period. . . . The author has speculated and invented optimally." --"The Washington Post""An extraordinary achievement: Durham puts flesh on the bones of Carthage in a way that no novelist has done since Flaubert wrote "Salammbo.""--Tom Holland, author of "Rubicon: The Last Years of the Roman Republic"""Pride of Carthage "is that rare and wonderful thing: an historical novel that's not only deeply evocative of time and place, character and situation, but is also lyrically written, compellingly composed. I savored each page while ever more breathless as the story unfolded. Durham has broken the mold of historical fiction and created a masterpiece."--Jeffrey Lent, author of "In the Fall "and "Lost Nation""Durham leaps continents and centuries to tell the epic story of Hannibal and his march on Rome in this heady, richly textured novel. . . . The novel's grand sweep is balanced by intimate portraits of Hannibal, his family, his allies and his enemies. . . . Durham weaves abundant psychological, military, and political detail into this vivid account of one of the most romanticized periods of history."--"Publishers Weekly" (starred review)"Durham has reimagined this vanished world in stunningly precise detail, and his lucid explanations of the give-and-take of military decision-making help the reader through some dauntingly complicated material. Nor is this novel merely a pageant: the author vividly portrays both Hannibal's driven resolve and Scipio's ruthless efficiency, as well as the conflicted emotions that rule several powerfully realized secondary figures. . . . One of the best of the current crop of historical novels, and a career-making march forward for Durham."--"Kirkus Reviews"

Durham vividly captures the frenzy of ancient warfare. . . . A skillfully structured, gripping novel New York Times Masterly. . . . First-rate historical fiction. Durham has delivered some of the best battle scenes on the page since Michael Shaara s Civil War fiction. San Francisco Chronicle Stunning. . . . A brilliant exploration of the tension between private destiny and historical force. --The Christian Science Monitor Fascinating. . . . Nimbly exploits what is known about this distant period. . . . The author has speculated and invented optimally. The Washington Post An extraordinary achievement: Durham puts flesh on the bones of Carthage in a way that no novelist has done since Flaubert wrote Salammbo. Tom Holland, author of Rubicon: The Last Years of the Roman Republic Pride of Carthage is that rare and wonderful thing: an historical novel that s not only deeply evocative of time and place, character and situation, but is also lyrically written, compellingly composed. I savored each page while ever more breathless as the story unfolded. Durham has broken the mold of historical fiction and created a masterpiece. Jeffrey Lent, author of In the Fall and Lost Nation Durham leaps continents and centuries to tell the epic story of Hannibal and his march on Rome in this heady, richly textured novel. . . . The novel s grand sweep is balanced by intimate portraits of Hannibal, his family, his allies and his enemies. . . . Durham weaves abundant psychological, military, and political detail into this vivid account of one of the most romanticized periods of history. Publishers Weekly (starred review) Durham has reimagined this vanished world in stunningly precise detail, and his lucid explanations of the give-and-take of military decision-making help the reader through some dauntingly complicated material. Nor is this novel merely a pageant: the author vividly portrays both Hannibal s driven resolve and Scipio s ruthless efficiency, as well as the conflicted emotions that rule several powerfully realized secondary figures. . . . One of the best of the current crop of historical novels, and a career-making march forward for Durham. Kirkus Reviews"

From the Inside Flap

An epic work of literary fiction about the superb military leader of Carthage, Hannibal Barca, and his struggle against the mighty Roman Republic.
With a vast cast of characters and nationalities, twists of fate, and tales of inspired leadership, David Anthony Durham perfectly captures the legendary Hannibal's world in "Pride of Carthage. Beginning in ancient Spain, where Hannibal's father had carved out a Carthaginian empire, the novel traces the origins of the war, the opening moves, and Hannibal's inspired choice to attack Rome via a land route most believed impossible. In graphic, panoramic prose, Durham describes the battles, including the icy slaughter of the Trebia; the mist-shrouded battle along Lake Trasimene; the battle of Cannae, in which Hannibal's outnumbered force surrounded and decimated seventy thousand Romans in a single afternoon; and Zama, the hard slog that proved to be the decisive contest.
Along the way we meet a variety of major historical figures on both sides of the conflict, as well as characters representing the vast array of other ethnicities who played a part in the war: Iberians and Gauls, Numidians and Libyans, Macedonians and Moors. Hannibal's family is brought to life: his wife, mother, sisters, and young son, as is Publius Scipio, the young Roman who was the only match for Hannibal's genius on the field of battle -- and who eventually defeated him.
"Pride of Carthage is a stunning achievement in historical fiction, one that will transport readers to a world of mesmerizing authenticity of character, event, and detail.

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Customer Reviews

3.9 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
There's been recent hype over the historical epic films with first Gladiator, then Troy and now Alexander.
This is the story they should have waited for to make into film.
It has the grand battles to compete visually but also a multi-layered narrative that shows us the action from various viewpoints so as to break up the monotony of the many battles that Hannibal brings about in his conquest to defeat Rome.
A vital piece of history - had Hannibal succeeded modern civilisation could have been African rather than white European - David Durham's compelling book takes you into a world rich with different races and peoples.
There is a human element with stories told from characters far removed from the ruling world. A roman foot soldier, a stranded peasant woman. They all combine to bring the past vividly to life.
The story is full of startling set-pieces - not least the army's crossing over the Alps with elephants - and once you finish you wonder how this story would look on screen.
This is literary historical fiction. Not a dry account of facts but an engrossing, powerful slice of drama that teaches as it goes.
It's Durham's 3rd novel, and they keep getting better.
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Format: Hardcover
This is the type of book that you have to settle in with for a while. A quick read it is NOT, but a worthwhile one it definitely is. You have to pay attention and get to know the characters, though. There are a lot of characters beyond Hannibal and his family, but they're not extraneous. They all add to the larger story and by the end almost all of them have had an impact on the main plot motion. They provide some the key moments that I think I'll always remember: when Imco finally comes face to face with Aradna, when Tusselo tosses away his cloak and reveals himself in the Roman Forum, when Masinissa discovers that his love affair is doomed... Great stuff. It's complex, but there really is an order to it all - a structure - that's impressive.

If you're a Pressfield fan you may or may not like this. You may like it because the action is great and the big battle scenes are spectacular. Durham writes them like there meant directly for the big screen. But on the other hand this isn't exactly a pro-war novel. It's kind of anti-war when it comes down to it. It's got depth of characterization and deals a lot with the fatigue and emotional misery of war. Unusually good. Not really the genre novel that the cover would make you think it is.

It's hard to believe this stuff actually happened. These people walked the earth. Our world has been effected by their deeds ever since. You can learn from what's in the pages of this book - although don't go thinking it's trying to be a history book. It's not, but he does get most of the important stuff right. And you can also loose yourself for days in a fantastic story. Either way, that's what I look for in a book. This time the author delivered.
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Format: Paperback
I have not read any of Mr. Durham's previous books, but thank God for new authors, or at least new authors to me.

A new author and my favourite subject matter (ancient history), both in the factual format and also in this particular case, a good novel. I must have died and gone to heaven. This really is an excellent book written by someone who obviously has a 'feel' for the period in which the book takes place. He is able to capture the feel of being in the middle of a battle.

Hannibal is one of those names from the pages of history that is instantly recognisable. Isn't that the fellow who had something to do with elephants? Well yes, he certainly did. Hannibal and his men traversed the Alps on the backs of elephants. In this book that feat and many others are depicted in a brilliantly woven story of warfare, love and hatred and bubbling through it all the intense hatred that Hannibal and his people had for the Republic of Rome.

This was before the time of some of Rome's greatest leaders, Caesar, Augustus or Constantine. It was at a time before the might of the legions had crushed all who stood in their way. Would Rome be able to survive against such a formidable and determined foe . . .
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
It is hard to put my finger on exactly what I do not like about David Durham's book. The story is one which should interest me, the length of the book seems at first to be satisfying and the authors weaves in a number of characters beyond the giants of history such as Hannibal himself and Publius Scipio. But like it I cannot.
Possibly the story is one which I am already familiar with through the excellent works of Ross Leckie, that is, Hannibal, Scipio and Carthage. However, Durham's style and story are completely different in that they seek to combine the sweeping presence of the history of a war which could have changed the face of the Mediterranean if Rome had been defeated, with the personal interaction of the 'great' and the ordinary folk which followed in their wake. All composed it a literary 'style'.
I read this tale from beginning to end. The writing style was satisfactory if heavy and sometimes dull. The story construction was not. If you are looking for a story of the Punic Wars look no further that Ross Leckie. If you are looking for a complex tale of family interactions and ancient history read the Masters of Rome series by Colleen McCullough or better still, the promising House of the Eagle by Duncan Sprott. Give Pride of Carthage by David Anthony Durham a wide berth.
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