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4.6 out of 5 stars
4.6 out of 5 stars
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 4 June 2013
So after a gap of 8 years since the last book in this series
1. The Gates of Rome (2003)
2. The Death of Kings (2004)
3. The Field of Swords (2004)
4. The Gods of War (2005)
5. The Blood of Gods (2013)
How does this new offering stack up? does it have all that the early books did? or has it progressed with the writers skill?
I'm happy to say that the book retains the passion of the early Emperor books, but incorporates all the lessons learned since that time.
As usual with this series you have to accept the authors slight meddling with the timeline for places and character names, this as per previous books is done to make the book a tight, fast paced novel, whilst retaining the integrity of the history (it is fiction after all). All those niggles the purist may have are answered in the author notes at the back of the book.
This book tells how Octavian starts his rise to power, how does a young boy of 17 take over from his adopted father? how does he suddenly take on the devious and wily Liberatores, the men who killed Caesar? And how does he command the respect of the people and legions of Rome?
Conn gives a convincing and powerful portrayal of this young man and his two friends Agrippa and Maecenas, their journey from adolescents enjoying leave in Greece, to absorbing the news of the murder of the greatest man of their age and then the audacity and prowess needed to take on the might of the senate, Cassius, Brutus, Mark Anthony and the systemic corruption and arrogance of the Roman elite.
Conn charts this progress with skill and believability, we know Octavian managed all this, what many know is how, the high level story but we don't know all the problems he faced along the way. One of the best parts of Conn's writing and research is how he mixes in all the little facts, the nuggets that are so strange they sound like fiction, and turn out to be true. When you couple that with his natural storytelling skill, you get a stunning novel.
You know the type of bloke, a person who in face to face in conversation can just keep a whole room captivated. He is the type of guy you either hated at school or wanted as your best mate. I think we just need to be thankful he became a writer so we get to enjoy that natural storytelling talent, rather than him being the centre of attention in the pub on a Friday night.
Are there issues with the book?
Yes, it's not long enough this story deserves a whole series all on its own, the story of Octavian is just as epic as Gaius Julius Caesar, in fact possibly more so, Octavian was thrown in at the deep end Caesar had time to build and learn. Octavian was the true father of Imperial Rome and ruled until the age of 75, which in Rome is unprecedented. This series was supposed to end with book 4 and yet we have book 5 and WOW am i glad we do...will Conn cave and do book 6? I doubt it but never say never. I still hold out hope of another Genghis book but don't ever expect to get one.
After this brilliant book we have a shift in time periods for Conn his next book is set somewhat later than this series, and when i have more i will blog on it, he will be at a new publishers also, so we should see some fantastic new cover styles to compliment the book.
Many thanks to Harper Collins for bringing us such a fine writer and so many brilliant tales.

But for now, Conn signs off with Harper in style, with a truly powerful dramatic tale that fulfilled almost every expectation I had for Octavian's rise to power.

Very Highly recommended

Conn made my Top 10 books list, see which book and where
For Conn's other books see below
1. The Gates of Rome (2003)
2. The Death of Kings (2004)
3. The Field of Swords (2004)
4. The Gods of War (2005)
5. The Blood of Gods (2013)
Gates of Rome / Death of Kings (omnibus) (2009)
Emperor: The Gates of Rome / The Death of Kings / The Field of Swords / The Gods of War (omnibus) (2011)

1. Wolf of the Plains (2007)
aka Genghis: Birth of an Empire
2. Lords of the Bow (2008)
aka Genghis: Lords of the Bow
3. Bones of the Hills (2008)
4. Empire of Silver (2010)
aka Khan: Empire of Silver
5. Conqueror (2011)
Conqueror and Lords of the Bow (omnibus) (2009)
The Khan Series (omnibus) (2012)
Conqueror Series 5-Book Bundle (omnibus) (2013)

1. Tollins: Explosive Tales for Children (2009)
2. Dynamite Tales (2011) (with Lizzy Duncan)

Quick Reads 2012
Quantum of Tweed: The Man with the Nissan Micra (2012)

Blackwater (2006)

Non fiction
The Dangerous Book for Boys (2006) (with Hal Iggulden)
The Dangerous Book for Boys Yearbook (2007) (with Hal Iggulden)
The Pocket Dangerous Book for Boys: Things to Do (2007) (with Hal Iggulden)
The Pocket Dangerous Book for Boys: Things to Know (2008)(with Hal Iggulden)
The Pocket Dangerous Book for Boys: Wonders of the World(2008) (with Hal Iggulden)
The Dangerous Book for Boys Kit: How to Get There (2008)
The Dangerous Book for Boys Kit: Nature Fun (2008)
The Dangerous Book for Boys: 2009 Day-to-Day Calendar(2008)
The Pocket Dangerous Book for Boys: Facts, Figures and Fun(2008)
The Dangerous Book of Heroes (2009) (with David Iggulden)
The Dangerous Book for Boys 2010 Day-to-Day Calendar (2009)(with Hal Iggulden)
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on 27 June 2013
Conn's books up to now have been among my favourites of all time, with the Emperor series particularly high on my list, so I must admit to being quite excited when I got this. I was crushingly disappointed. Even being a history buff, I didn't mind that throughout the Emperor series, history had been changed here and there to fit in with the story as the books were such an enjoyable read, and the introduction of fictional characters and the omission of quite important characters in the real story bothered me not at all, such was my enjoyment. So what happened here?

Brutus hardly knows Octavian in the new book which is surprising considering how much time they spent together in the last 4. what happened to Domitian, Ciro and the rest of the crew, surely just a paragraph to either kill them off or retire them would have been tidier. It seems with the introduction of some of the real historical characters and trying to be a little (not much) closer to actual history, this book lost its soul along the way. For those readers without a passing knowledge of the period but who have enjoyed the 4 previous books, there would have been a lot of "where the hell did he come from? " going on.

This would have been far better billed as a stand alone book, not as No5 of the series, with a footnote distancing this book from the rest. Then I would have been able to fully enjoy it, as it actually (once I got my head around it) is really quite good.

So in conclusion, don't read this expecting it to be No5, it isn't, but saying that I hope Conn now tidies it all up and does the final book and documents the fall of Antony and expands the story of Agrippa who was quite an extraordinary man.
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on 20 September 2014
This is the final book in the series, and had much to live up to. It had a lot of loose ends to tie up, but in the end, perhaps the author was not sure what the purpose of the book was. Like the earlier volumes, it is well written, and proceeds at an enjoyable pace. However, given that the series covers the life of Caeser, how do you produce a book after the death of the main character? Yes, the author wanted to show what happened to Caeser's friends and enemies after his assassination, but other than that, the book serves no real purpose. This means that you actually care very little about the story, as it seems, to some extent, fairly meaningless.
Having said all that, I still enjoyed reading it, but just had less involvement. It seemed an anticlimax after the main events in the earlier volumes.
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TOP 50 REVIEWERon 6 December 2014
The story continues now that Julius Caesar has been assasinated and now it is Octavian's chance to seek power having been named as Caesar's adopted son and heir...

This is a great novel - written with style and great apolmb by Conn Iggulden. There are some really great historical fiction writers but none are better than Iggulden. You quickly become immersed in his world - his characters are always believable.

An excellent novel!
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 23 May 2013
The story of the aftermath of the assassination of Julius Caesar in the Theatre of Pompey in 44BC is a familiar one, possibly the most famous of all Roman tales thanks to Shakespeare and Hollywood. For Conn Iggulden, though, it represents the inevitable and natural culmination of his superb series Emperor, which has brought alive the rise to power of the god Julius. Now, in The Blood of Gods, he depicts Caesar's fellow Romans slipping in his blood, scrambling for position, giving way under the indomitable obsession for revenge wielded by his adopted son Octavian, the new Julius Caesar - Rome's first emperor in everything but name. The story might be familiar but Conn Iggulden brings a context to it, to Octavian's dramatic rise to power, as well as a poignancy thanks to all that we have learned over previous books about Caesar's deep friendship with Brutus, the final assassin. We can't forget Mark Antony here either. Iggulden replaces the famous speech of Shakespeare's Antony with a piece of gutwrenching theatre performed over the corpse of his friend. The die is cast and we're on the road to Philippi before you know it.

The familiarity of the novel's story is offset by Conn Iggulden's perceptive insight into the characters of Caesar's friends and enemies. This is especially true of Octavian, his brave and loyal friends Maecenas and Agrippa and Mark Antony. Both Octavian and Mark Antony, ingeniously, are very likeable. You could almost feel pity for Brutus and Cassius but in The Blood of Gods the time for sympathy for Brutus' ideals is past. In this book, the focus is very much on the complex character of Octavian instead.

There are some fantastic set pieces and the horrifying battle sequences complement well the political machinations of Rome just as the combat exists side by side with great oratory. The manipulation of Rome's masses is as important as prowess on the battlefield.

It's been over five years since the publication of the last Emperor novel, The Gods of War (Emperor Series, Book 4). Now the story ends at last, just a few months short of Iggulden's move to Penguin for the launch of his new Wars of the Roses series. There is indeed closure here. The Blood of Gods is an enormously confident and accomplished novel that achieves the near impossible task of placing you, the reader, in the very heart of this most fascinating time in Roman history as a witness to the actions of its greatest men. I'm very grateful for the review copy.
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VINE VOICEon 1 December 2013
I don't read this sort of book as a history primer - I don't expect it to be spot-on in facts and timing.

What I do look for is an entertaining read, plus a feel for the times the book is staged in, plus, a feel for the general flow of the historical events. This book provides that in spades.

While I have read the rest of this series, I've never really thought about the events following Caesar's death, until Graves' "I, Claudius" kicks in. This book is a very good book indeed and bridges that span well.

Quite an eye-opener describing a load of historical characters I know the names of, but have not been able to link, even if loosely, before.

Well recommended. I couldn't put it down.
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VINE VOICEon 18 August 2014
I have either read or listened to a number Conn Iggulden's historical fiction books and CD audio books. They have all been, for me, very well done and highly entertaining. Dare I say that his books set a high standard across the board for `historical fiction'. Mr Iggulden's first presentation was a book called `The Gates of Rome'; this was to be first of a series of five books of what is now known as Emperor Series.

The series is based around the life of Julius Caesar, from juvenile to his eventual betrayal and death (The Gods of War). The author's ability to cleverly entwine fact and fiction, in seamless fashion is truly flawless in my opinion, and this really makes his books work. This range of books has proved so popular that a film company has optioned the rights.

In this concluding book in the series Conn Iggulden gives a superb account of the aftermath of Caesar's assassination and the resolute mission of his adopted son Octavian to hunt down his killers. This is familiar history - but Iggulden has breathed new life here especially thanks to his recreation of Octavian, his friends and Mark Antony. Agrippa is my particular favourite here. A superb novel where the narration is top notch and crisp in its delivery as we see a nation that is in turmoil looking for revenge, which will be paid in blood on the battlefield at Philippi - who will be the victor and control Rome Mark Antony, or the untested Octavian?
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on 25 May 2015
I have to agree with some of the other people who have reviewed this book, Conn has missed out a lot of the leading characters from the previous four books. It was as if he wanted to reboot the series with this book and I think if he had called it a different name a lot of series plot holes would have been avoided.
However as a stand alone book it is fantastic. A flowing and a gripping read with great detail surrounding the chaos after Caesar's assassination, I would love for him to continue detailing Octavian's assent to becoming the leader of Rome as he has set a brilliant foundation with this book.
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on 29 March 2014
The author set a very high standard in the previous books of this series and has maintained it in this epic tale of the Roman Empire..
A great read and I was sorry when I reached the end.
Still, the good news is that Conn Iggulden is still producing historical books and long may he do so!
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on 15 January 2014
If Conn Iggulden wrote a shopping list I bet I would read it from begining o end. Problemwith his books is they are so good, you want them to go on for longer bt at the same time, you cannot put them down. He captures the characters, the mood, the atmosphere and the period and conveys it all to the reader. Excellent book.
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