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TOP 100 REVIEWERon 25 September 2011
The topic itself - the beginnings of the Jewish revolt - is somewhat original and interesting. The way the author lays it out is even more so, with Saulos (our St Paul, but here portrayed as the arch-villain, something of an Ancient times anarchist!) stirring up trouble in a rather compulsive way. Manda Scott's research is excellent, whatever you might think about her interpretations about early Christians, with Jesus equated to Judas and portrayed as the chief of a terrorist sect. One point that does come across clearly is that, in the eyes of many Roman officials at least, the Jewish factions were troublemakers breaking the Roman peace or even what we might call "terrorists" today. This was also the point of view of Herod and his successors who were also seen as usurpers (they weren't even of Jewish descent) and collaborators by their suibjects, having accepted Roman rule (although there is probably little they could have to oppose it openly).

The characters are, as usual, interesting and well presented. I do have three (somewhat minor) issues, however.

One is about Pantera siding with Menachem and attacking the fortress of Massada, garrisoned by an eline cohort of Roman legionaries, so that the Jews can get their hands on arms and armour. A Roman, secret agent of the Emperor, seems a bit unlikely to go that far. Is this even plausible?

The other is that they in fact manage to storm the fortress, against all odds, including numbers (about 100 lightly armed sicaires against a cohort of 500 heavily armed and elite legionaries). This does not seem very plausible either and a bit more explanations here might have been necessary as to whether something like this really happening. My last issue is the ease with which Ikshara changes sides. I won't say more because I don't want to spoil the plot for anyone.

Well worth reading and I'll certainly buy the next installment. Four stars for me, given my little issues.
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TOP 100 REVIEWERon 7 February 2013
I'll read just about any book, as long as it is well written. But unfortunately, I just couldn't immerse myself in this book at all. The subject is interesting, the characters are fine, I think the problem for me really was the language - it seemed really overblown, slightly cheesy and over the top. The Roman Empire during the reign of Nero is a fascinating time and place, and Nero himself a complex figure of contradictions. But this novel introduces characters that I just couldn't really empathise with, in situations that seemed really exaggerated, and written about in a way that just really grated on me. I'm sorry that I didn't like the book, and I appreciate that others do. Just not my cup of tea overall.
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on 18 January 2015
A well-researched, thought provoking and intelligent drama that goes way beyond the usual 'all-action' novels that are typical of this popular era. Manda Scott's 'Rome' is fast becoming one of my favourite series. Highly recommended.
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on 8 April 2015
Another excellent read. I read The Art of War first and found that thrilling and fascinating. This is another very good yarn, a page turner and provides a fascinating historical slant with St Paul cast as an evil megalomaniac. As a Christian this was a surprise but certainly provides a different perspective of those times. If you are interested in this time, you must make the effort to go to Massada as it is an extraordinary place and its history comes to life under your feet. Needless to say Jerusalem is also a "must see".
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on 31 July 2016
Manda Scott has grabbed me again with a series to rival the Boudicca novels. The second of the new Rome series has just arrived in my library, and I can't wait to begin reading ...
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on 21 April 2015
It took me some considerable time to settle into this book. To begin with Scott presents a very different idea of what Saul/Paul was like to me. The preamble or scene setting was slower than in book 1 and I found it a little confusing. However as the story unwound the action became more exciting and gripping. Glad I stuck with it!!
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on 6 July 2015
A different angle on the plethora of Rome based historic fiction novels - not so focused on the battles, more about the behind the scenes goings on - interesting characters - an easy but very good read
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on 8 January 2014
Powerful characters, a page turning storyline and some shocking accusations made re St. Paul ( alleged) ..... Definitely required reading for anyone interested in this phase of history, amongst others !!
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on 22 April 2017
superb
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on 22 December 2017
Great tale
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