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on 4 September 2013
This instalment in the author's tale of the life of Vespasian is a bit of a mixture. As some other reviewers have pointed out, it does get very explicit at times: I was not offended by the detail, but felt unsure as to whether it was actually necessary. Yes, I can understand that the author had to impress on us that Caligula was so much more morally bankrupt than the rest of Rome, but I think it could have been done in a more subtle way.
Unlike some other reviewers, I think his treatment of early Christianity, and Paul in particular, made an interesting sub-plot. They would indeed have been seen by the authorities as a group of trouble makers - one amongst many - and dealt with accordingly.
Overall, an interesting read, and a good addition to the series. It did seem at times as though the author was filling time until he could get back to Vespasian's military career, which I suspect will follow in the next volume.
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on 26 June 2017
Love this series.

Well researched and excellent story-telling. A clever blend of fact and 'what might have happened' keeps the action rolling strong; a gret way to learn a little ancient history in a very non-dusty way.
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on 9 January 2017
Vespasian wends his way though the politics of ancient Rome, stumbling into one quest after another from Rome to Egypt and back again. A tale of adventure in an age of insane emperors,where one false move could end in death by imperial whim. A little heavy on Caligula's debauchery, but a good read.
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on 7 March 2017
hideous times written well
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on 11 July 2017
I love this series great price thanks
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on 27 April 2017
Typical blood and thunder from an excellent author
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on 12 May 2017
A very good read 👌
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 4 January 2013
You know that you're about to embark on a new year full of fine books when it kicks off with the publication of a novel by Robert Fabbri, one of the best writers of historical fiction about today. Vespasian, the 1st-century AD general who against all odds survived a succession of Rome's most nutty emperors to don the purple himself, is a worthy subject for a series of novels and Robert Fabbri has done him justice. In the third novel, False God of Rome, everything takes on a whole new edge. Caligula is now emperor and it is no spoiler to say that here is a madman of Olympian proportions. There is a chance that, like me, you may want to read some of Fabbri's portrayal of these mad years with your eyes shut (or at least with an empty stomach). Fortunately, Vespasian marches through the insanity but even he cannot be unaffected by these dark days.

Robert Fabbri has a remarkable knack of bringing the ancient Roman world to life. Quite apart from his dexterity in recreating the lost cities of Rome and Egypt, he captures brilliantly, and horrifically, the most awful terror that Caligulan Rome must have held for its ruling classes. In the second book of the series, Rome's Executioner (Vespasian), Tiberius is presented as I've never seen him before in fiction and its power gave me nightmares. Through the preceding two novels we have watched Caligula grow up as Vespasian's friend. We have the power of hindsight denied to Vespasian but during this third novel Vespasian finally confronts the reality. We have also enjoyed Vespasian's relationship with the matriarch of Rome, Antonia, but all that means nothing when her grandson Caligula assumes power. This is the value of a series following the life of one man. We have begun to know the men and women around them and what becomes of them is all the more poignant and horrifying for it. What this reign of terror does to Vespasian is a strong theme - there have to be ugly compromises.

The lightness here comes from the relationship between Vespasian and Caenis, the slave of Antonia. The darkness, though, comes in the unmistakeable form of Caligula. False God of Rome is not my favourite of the series - that would be the marvellous Rome's Executioner - but that is mostly because of Caligula himself. A truly odious individual, his perversion is brought home to me here more immediately than Suetonius ever managed.

Wonderfully written, with the pace of a runaway train (and with a fantastic opening), False God of Rome is a fine addition to the series. I'll just be relieved when Vespasian emerges on the other side. Mind you, you know what that means? Not just Claudius but Nero! I am grateful for the review copy.
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on 18 May 2013
Something has gone very badly wrong with Robert Fabbri's hero Vespasian. He has become a snivelling toady, scared of his own shadow. OK, for the sake of historical accuracy Fabbri has had to show that the senators of Rome had to resort to sickening sycophancy to survive the madness of the Emperor Caligula, but I like my heroes to be heroes. Vespassian alone should have been shown in a more noble light if Fabbri expects us to like him and root for him. Making him the same as the other cringing sycophants just makes him appear weak and unlikeable.

To top it all the story doesn't really contain the heroic elemenst necessary to maintain suspense. I was continually waiting for the climax of the story only to find there wasn't one. Caligula's headlong gallop over the bridge he had built across the bay of Naples and its aftermath just didn't provide any moment that allowed the hero to be a hero. The hero has to save the day and Vespassian just didn't have any part to play. To make Vespassian have any role at all Fabbri had to concoct a story about him saving his uncle from drowning - and even then he had help from his brother and the boat's crew.

Will I read the next episode? Probably, but it if Vespassian doesn't become the hero of the hour then it will be the last one I'll be reading.
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on 5 May 2015
Sadly never put the book down and finished it over the weekend, where is the next episode?
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