Caesar

Caesar

Let the Dice Fly

Book - 1997
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Colleen McCullough's track record in publishing reads like Caesar's triumphs in battlewide-ranging in scope, masterful in style, unequaled in achievement. From her almost twelve-million-copy-selling Thorn Birds through her four novels in the Masters of Rome series, McCullough has never faltered.

Here she turns her attentions to Caesar's conquest of Gaul and to his momentous decision at the river Rubicon to claim his place in the government of Rome. At a time that preceded the technology of any firearm, when military acumen, strategy, and leadership were all, it was Caesar's genius that prevailed, over and over. What Caesar accomplished in Gaul is the stuff of historical epic, of military academies, and of this novel. He was utterly awesome. Yet history forgets that Caesar was also a man, not immune to the human condition. He succeeded brilliantly, but he also suffered great personal grief and disappointment. It is the full portrait of Caesar, a man destined to inspire an empire, that Colleen McCullough paints here--faithfully, magnificently, and in radiant light.

"McCullough is on fire.... Caesar is one of her strongest and most fascinating characters."San Francisco Chronicle

Publisher: New York : William Morrow, c1997.
Edition: First edition
ISBN: 9780688093723
0688093728
Branch Call Number: FIC McCul
Characteristics: 664 pages : illustrations, maps.

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r
ryner
Oct 24, 2017

'Caesar,' the fifth book in McCullough's Masters of Rome series (be sure to begin with The First Man in Rome), covers the time period from when Roman general Julius Caesar led the Gallic Wars through the culmination of his Civil War against Pompey's faction. I cannot recommend this series highly enough; they are huge, highly readable even if you have no previous knowledge of ancient Rome, and full of savory detail. Colleen McCullough is genius at bringing to life the figures, culture and everyday goings-on in ancient Rome. My one regret is that I allowed 7 years to pass between reading books four and five, and so had to become newly reacquainted with many of the characters. I shall now wait only two months before commencing the sixth book, 'The October Horse.'

w
whitcombs2do
May 22, 2017

I'm tacking this review onto all of the books in McCullough's Masters of Rome series:

I'm interested, in a layman's way, in the history of Rome, so this entire series (books listed below) was riveting for me.

Masters of Rome series:
1. The First Man in Rome (1990) - The narrative begins in 110 B.C. with the story of Gaius Marius.
2. The Grass Crown (1991)
3. Fortune's Favourites (1993)
4. Caesar's Women (1995)
5. Caesar (1999)
6. The October Horse (2002) - Originally intended to be the final book of the series, the narrative carries us through Julius Caesar's death on the Ides of March in 44 B.C., and ends after The Battle of Philippi in 42 B.C., the final battle in the Wars of the Second Triumvirate between the forces of Mark Antony and Octavian (Caesar's great-nephew, and adopted son) and the forces of the tyrannicides Marcus Junius Brutus and Gaius Cassius Longinus.
7. Antony and Cleopatra (2007) - Somehow McCullough was persuaded to add one more book to the series, tying up loose ends, perhaps? Or maybe it was just hard for her to imagine life without The Masters of Rome? I had secretly hoped she'd carry on further into the reign of Augustus.

Julius Caesar appears in each of the first six books. If you're interested in popularized Roman history, this is a treasure. The writing is good, if not quite up to the standard of Robert Graves two volume set "I, Claudius," and "Claudius the God," or Robert Harris' Cicero trilogy. If you have read and enjoyed any of these, however, you MUST read them all - in chronological order, of course. It is particularly interesting that McCullough seems more or less in the Caesar-worshipping camp. He was a prodigy; he was too good at too many things, which in the end had a lot to do with his downfall. But what a magnificent creature he was!

However, Cicero was Caesar's mortal enemy, and Robert Harris' books tell much of the same story as we find in McCullough - from a diametrically opposed point of view.

Be forewarned, these books are packed with lengthy Roman names, so will in some ways read like Russian novels. Hard to keep track of the cast of characters without a program, which the author naturally provides, along with detailed hand-drawn maps, and her own line-drawing fanciful portraits of the principle characters. Not very good drawings, but somehow rather endearing. She was quite a character herself.

P.S. It gets easier to keep the characters straight on the third and fourth readings. Yes, the books are that good ………

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