The Gates of Rome (Emperor Series, Book 1) – Conn Iggulden

Posted by Bartley:

As the fifth instalment of Conn Iggulden’s EMPEROR series publishes to great success and popular acclaim, this reviewer decided that even though Gates of Rome was published in hardback back in 2003, in true NEL style, it was better late than never to join the series.

Two young companions, Gaius and Marcus, are finding their feet on an agricultural estate outside Rome, the home of the privileged family of the former. As their progress through adolescence continues, with lessons learned from bloodied noses and broken limbs, we are introduced to the adults they will become: Julius Caesar and Marcus Brutus.

This is no quaint tale of rural childhood. This is old fashioned action with a blistering pace, savage detail and some great set pieces: gladiatorial fights to the death; tests of strength and endurance; bawdy sailors jostling for supremacy plus battles for honour, for victory and (cue booming cinematic voice) FOR ROME ITSELF…!

The entire tale is told with great gusto and it’s a thoroughly enjoyable and epic read. What really makes it work is how it brings history to life. We are face to face with the people that shaped epic events. Whatever your knowledge of Caesar, Rome and the rest beforehand, this is a fantastic read that sets you up for book 2 in the series with a great sense of the character of the two main protagonists – and a great supporting cast – and their respective destinies.

So for homo saeculum unetvicesimus (excuse the poor attempt at Googled latin!) how does this tale come across? It’s unreconstructed man; it’s blood and sandals; it’s whoring and warring; and for many I imagine an extremely liberating read. It’s an oasis far removed from touchy-feely nonsense. It’s an uncomplicated (though not dumbed down) adventure where might is right. If you’re the type to wonder what makes a man you’ve probably already had a sword through your guts or a dagger across your throat while you ponder.


Read This Book…
in your mancave as you ponder your next Tough Mudder or listen to it in the gym as you go for one more rep. Grrr!


This book is a … Travels in Time / Grizzly Read


Genre: Historical Fiction
Paperback ISBN: 9780007437122
ebook ISBN: 9780007321759


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