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Rome: The Art of War
on 31 January 2014
I looked forward to reading this, the story of the year 69 AD in the annals of Rome, a year when four emperors lived and died, and Vespasian clawed his way to ultimate power. Political chicanery, military might, treason, ambition and greed all gathered and doing their worst in and around the city of Rome.
The premise is great; the way in which the story is woven, as a series of narratives by key players in the story of 69 AD is very inventive, and very worthwhile as a plot device. However, I found myself unconvinced by the novel as a whole. I think it is the characters that I could not bring myself to ‘believe’. I found the historic characters rather roughly drawn, and the fictional characters drawn as larger than life; bigger, brasher, brainer, brawnier, more bitter – ‘too much’ of everything to be realistic.
I’m sorry I didn’t like this book; I really wanted to. But in the end, the characters in a character-driven novel just didn’t do it for me.