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on 4 May 2017
This is the first in a series on Roman history. It deals with Gaius Marius' rise to power, and the emerging career of Sulla. It deals with the African campaign against Jugurtha and the fighting against the Germans (although probably not all of them).
I read The October Horse in the past, and must have liked it enough to order the first book in the series, but The First Man in Rome is a definite disappointment. This falls very much into the same trap that gets every one of the Game of Thrones books. Just when something good happens, just when the pace picks up, the narrative kills the drama stone dead. The story in itself is great, but it could so do without the endless descriptions of the various wives before they marry, the political detail could do with being reduced, and the letters, oh god the letters. Too much, really. There are repeated incidents during the many political scenes where one of the characters shouts 'get on with it.' And that's really what I as a reader felt about this book, sadly on too many occasions.
Today's historical fiction authors all face the same two problems, and they're called Conn Iggulden and Bernard Cornwell. If you can't match either of their standards, you're in big trouble (apart from the disastrously boring Rebel, part 1 of Starbuck).
Sadly not a great start to this series, which if memory serves, does get better, although I'm not sure if I want to inflict the others on me just to find out.
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