Top positive review
3 people found this helpful
Very enjoyable to read and blends fact with fictional flair.
on 14 December 2016
The title refers to the decisive moment in Roman history when Julius Caesar crossed the Rubicon and the fate of the Roman Republic was sealed. The phrase crossing the Rubicon is now part of our everyday language meaning passing a point of no return. That is an apt analogy for this book because it is hard to put down!
As well as being a classically trained scholar, Tom Holland is also an accomplished novelist and this explains why this book is so compelling. He weaves a narrative that reflects his award winning history writing ability with that of a storyteller. He combines the research skills and erudition of a specialist with the dramatic prose of a fine writer to create a dramatic and compelling narrative. In this regard he is perhaps more akin to Antony Beevor than Mary Beard.
I would recommend this book as an entry point for everyone. If you wish to probe further, Holland's extensive bibliography will help you find what you need. It is detailed and useful. He is adept at bringing characters to life which have been studied and wrote about for over 2000 years whether by Herodotus or Shakespeare, or in big screen epics or TV series. These people matter to us and this books brings a fresh lease of life to them. If you enjoy the USA TV show House of Cards then this book is for you as there are numerous similarities - only the names seem to change as plots and conspiracies abound, loyalties change at a moment's notice while the quest for power plays out.
There are plenty of colour and black and white illustrations and the maps are clear if lacking a little detail. Holland keeps us interested from start to finish and is the type of author you then want to read everything else they've written.
A great read and would make a good gift.