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Customer Review

13 of 15 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent, entertaining page turner, 2 Sept. 2005
This review is from: The Field of Swords (Emperor Series, Book 3) (Paperback)
Volume three in the series devoted to the life and times of Julius Caesar. Here, we follow his political and military career from Spain to the conquest of Gaul and his abortive expedition into Britannia. Caesar had a well established political presence in Rome by the time he was given the freedom to pacify Gaul. Once engaged on this task, his star rose higher and higher, aided by Caesar's ability to manipulate news and spin a heady story for the people of Rome.
The cast of characters is well established now and Iggulden is able to leap backwards and forwards between the political chicanery and turmoil of Rome and the battlefields of Gaul, the Rhine frontier, and Britannia, sustaining both strands of the story quite effectively. Caesar was a great military leader - and it is clear that he had the personality to inspire his soldiers and drive them on to victory after victory. But Caesar was also a very ambitious man, politically. Indeed, given the bloody nature of Roman politics, ambition was probably a good survival strategy.
Iggulden manages to make the political in-fighting as exciting and well-paced as the military action - at the price of some over-simplification and a bit of judicious manipulation of history. As a piece of fiction, however, it continues to work quite well. In fact, there may be evidence of a bit more maturity and confidence creeping into his style in this volume, particularly given the more complicated nature of the plot he has to tackle this time.
"The Field of Swords" is an excellent page-turner - if you have read the first two volumes and enjoyed them, this one will not disappoint. If you haven't read the first two, I'd encourage you to start with "The Gates of Rome" to see if you like Iggulden's style and themes - you will lose too much of the back-plot and character building if you leap straight in to volume three
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