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Iggulden (Emporer: The Field of Swords) saves the best for last in the fourth and final novel of his well-received Emperor series, following the life of Julius Caesar. Caesar's story is a familiar one, but Iggulden writes it convincingly as a thriller: the novel begins in 49 B.C., when Caesar and his legions-fresh from their conquests in Gaul and Britain-cross the Rubicon and race toward Rome to confront his enemies. It ends five years later on the Ides of March with his assassination. Along the way, there's a civil war to be fought and won, a romantic encounter with the young Egyptian queen Cleopatra and a triumphant return to Rome where a cowed Senate names him Dictator for Life and Unconquered God. But Caesar's enemies-including his friend Marcus Brutus-plot his assassination for subverting the Republican government. Despite Caesar's larger-than-life historical reputation, Iggulden humanizes his hero and juxtaposes his bloodlust in battle and ruthless ambition in politics with an unexpected tenderness in his personal relations. Taking a rather large dose of literary license, Iggulden strays too far from the historical record, but his expert plotting, supple prose and fast-paced action will keep readers riveted until the end.
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Iggulden concludes his magnificent four-part saga of Julius Caesar with a veritable bang. The many fans of the previous three volumes-- The Gates of Rome (2002), The Death of Kings (2003), and The Field of Swords (2005)--will not be disappointed by the cataclysmic final installment in this riveting epic. After tasting the fruits of victory on battlefields in Gaul and Britain, General Julius Caesar crosses the fabled Rubicon, initiating a civil war among rival Roman legions. Matching wits with cunning Roman dictator and military genius Pompey the Great, Caesar grapples for power both within the confines of the city of Rome and in all the far-flung corners of the empire. Realizing martial success alone is not enough to command the respect and loyalty of the cosmopolitan Romans, he becomes a consummate politician, exploiting his relationships with Marcus Brutus, Mark Antony, Octavian, and, of course, Cleopatra. Brimming with military, political, and romantic intrigue, this action-packed epic provides a breathtaking panorama of one of the most exciting episodes in the ancient world and breathes new life into a legendary historical figure. Margaret Flanagan
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