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Emperor: The Gods of War Hardcover – Mar 28 2006

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Delacorte Press (March 28 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 9780385337670
  • ISBN-13: 978-0385337670
  • ASIN: 0385337671
  • Product Dimensions: 16.3 x 3.1 x 24.2 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 635 g
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #145,194 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

From Publishers Weekly

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.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

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
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Again, what he makes interesting in this book of the series is his descriptions of the political strategies and battle strategies of the main characters. In this series he does not seem to get as much into the more personal aspects of their lives as he did in his series on the great Khans, but he still manages to keep you looking forward to the next page.
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By John P. Sully on June 9 2015
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Book in great condition - however was not signed as advertised, but not a big concern
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful By MDT on May 9 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Iggulden's writing is very entertaining and his weaving of history and fictionalized filling in the blanks are usually very well done. One problem.... check the historical notes at the back of the books. You'll find that, at times, he completely fabricates events and at other times he even deliberately re-writes history to suit his story line. It is a shame because several of these incidences were completely unnecessary. This makes the book fictional NOT historical.
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4 of 9 people found the following review helpful By James Field on Oct. 15 2008
Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
As historical fiction, this is pure comic book writing. The author has taken liberties with the facts to create a version of history that is one dimensional and trite. The bookish Brutus and unathletic Octavian both end up rippling with manly virility, duking it out in mortal combat. Huh? No one familiar with the real story can really be satisfied seeing things so hashed up. Never mind it is historically inaccurate and that neither of them were there in Egypt (Octavian was still a boy, for Pete's sake) it is not true to either of their characters, what character they have left after the author has reinvented them to fit his genre of writing. Other inaccuracies abound. For example, what's Julia still doing around after she died (her death was a factor in the final break between Caesar and Pompey)? The author glosses over these glaring inaccuracies in his historical note at the end, focusing instead on less glaring "literary licenses," implying thereby that he is actually writing historical fiction. If he is capable of writing an historical note at the end then he knows he is not really writing historical fiction and that there are far worse inaccuracies in his book than the ones he mentions. Despite all this he kept me reading, which means it was an entertaining read. Too bad it ultimately fails to satisfy on other grounds.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 78 reviews
21 of 24 people found the following review helpful
"Highlights from Caesar" not as good as Books 2 and 3 April 27 2006
By Scott Schiefelbein - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
Conn Iggulden admittedly set an ambitious goal for himself in his four volume "Emperor" series, a work of "a-historical historical fiction." Iggulden has acknowledged his numerous departures from the historical record in his books, and he repeatedly recommends Christian Meier's magnificent biography, "Caesar," for those who want a more accurate account.

I do not fault Iggulden one iota for deviating from the historical record -- he's writing fiction. The question becomes, how good is the story he tells? Why should we seek out "Emperor" in the face of so many novels about Julius Caesar?

Fortunately, Iggulden had the confidence to break from tradition and give us his own take on Caesar and his times. For those looking for a more "historical historical fiction," you should check out Colleen McCullough's awesome "Masters of Rome" series that starts with "The First Man in Rome." Hers is much more of a "you are there" walk-through of actual history.

Iggulden takes a hand grenade to the historical record to tell a more focused story of friendship, betrayal, love, war, and conquest. Caesar and his childhood friend, Brutus, rise to prominence together in books 1-3, but in Book 4 the relationship is strained. Brutus, perhaps incorrectly, interprets Caesar's use of Mark Antony and Octavian (one day to be Augustus) as insults -- how can Caesar honor anyone before Brutus, who has been there from the beginning and done more to help Caesar than anyone?

This betrayal leads Brutus to join Pompey's forces in the infamous civil war that ends up at the titanic Battle of Pharsalus. Can Brutus' friendship with Caesar survive this betrayal? Can it be revived? Can Brutus look past Caesar's colossal pride and see his childhood friend?

For anyone who hasn't lived under a rock, you know the answers. (Iggulden may deviate from history a bit here or there, but he doesn't completely rewrite it.)

Iggulden writes with the same economy and clarity that he brought to the first three books. But the sheer scope of Book 4 -- the civil war, the death of Pompey, Caesar's time in Egypt, the betrayal by Brutus, Caesar's triumphant return to Rome and his imperial ammbitions, the jockeying for position by Brutus, Octavian and Mark Antony, the birth of Caesar's son by Cleopatra, and the assassination -- make the 380-odd pages of "Gods of War" seem a bit thin. I felt like I was reading Iggulden's "Highlights from Caesar," and that's not good.

Iggulden has written an entertaining series. But he chose to write about one of the defining periods of Western Civilization -- the fall of the Roman Republic and the rise of the Empire. You cannot give the people who shaped these events short shrift, and Iggulden for the most part does. Brutus and Caesar, naturally, receive some development, but Octavian gets only a few choice bits, and Mark Antony and the others might as well not even be in the book.

All in all, I enjoyed books 2 and 3 of this series much more than books 1 and 4. Book 1 was marred by a "hidden identity" gimmick that really didn't quite work, and the magical-mystical elements brought by the healer Cabrera really didn't fit into Iggulden's story. These flaws vanished in Books 2 and 3, and Iggulden rewrote history in a rollicking fashion - his description of the battles to defeat Mithridates and to beat Spartacus were much better than his handling of Pharsalus, which felt cursory. While Iggulden's battle scenes in Alexandria are fun in "Gods of War" are fun, they do not carry the rest of the book.

All in all, a slightly disappointing conclusion to a good series that didn't really strive for greatness-- unlike McCullough's titanic series. I suspect I will be much more upset when I finish Bernard Cornwell's Richard Sharpe series than I was when "Gods of War" reached its conclusion. Perhaps if Iggulden chooses a smaller project next time, I'll enjoy the books more -- it's clear he is a writer of talent and vision.
13 of 18 people found the following review helpful
The end of something good... April 9 2006
By Jason Frost - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I can't tell you how I've waited for each and every 'Emperor' book by Conn. This one was no different! 'The Gods of War' is one of the best books I've read this year! Tying up the loose end of Brutus, Ceaser, the wars, and the chilling ending was just pure enjoyment.

I keep seeing people who don't like this series because it's not accurate... geez!! GET A HISTORY BOOK MORON! If you want a wonderful story about Rome, her citizens, her Generals, her joy and pain, then pick up this book/series!
a thrilling end to an epic saga Aug. 11 2012
By Lucinda - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
An electrifying and spectacular conclusion to a universally loved, epic series that leaves you emotionally drained as Julius Caesar's end comes to pass. This mammoth tale transports you back in time to when Rome was all powerful and dominating across the globe, taking the lead in social change and command changing the course of civilization for the future. Here in an Empire that is lead by a single man of great aspirations one is not prepared for the changes that occur, in regards to the leadership of Rome and control of such a gigantic empire that stands in such high supremacy throughout the land. The tension and friction between Pompey and the mighty Caesar builds up to such a crescendo, that erupts throughout the lives of those that surround them effecting social status and the future for the great cities. Conn Iggulden has to be one of the most accomplished and recognizable writers of historical fiction, who brings the life and times of those whom he is describing accurately and realistically to life in such vivid color as to transport the reader into his creation. Surpassing all expectations I was blown away again by his creativity, imagination and brilliant writing that made this book not just a good read but a truly great one that is highly memorable. One feels as if you get to know those great figures within our history on a personal and intimate level, understanding how they thought, felt and why they acted as they did.

You are able to clearly picture the surroundings that touch upon all senses, as you delve into civilian culture of the time and how great battles were made and fought. This series is so striking with its eye-catching, bold covers of bright colors being blood red, emerald and mauve they cannot fail to stand-out on the bookshelf as something distinctive and a bit special. Conn Iggulden writes in such a way as to leave a big gap between himself and other writers, who look to him as inspiration and insight, where the combination of skill and creative flair go hand in hand producing something spectacular. You can see instantly as you read how much dedication, time and effort and research has gone into forming a story that is both fascinating and enjoyable to read, hence it feels as if one has merged both fiction and non-fiction together. The importance of leadership, control and power is highlighted throughout as you study the very foundations of this city that leads the way to our present time. Social hierarchy and connections with other individuals also plays a huge role in the lives of Caesar's loyal servants, when deciding the fate of Brutus for example or Mark Antony. Reading this book is like opening a window onto the past and seeing a changing world that is brutal, bloody and magnificent through the eyes of one of the most outstanding and remarkable rulers that ever lived. Julius Caesar was known for his determination and strength, his willpower and resolve to protect his beloved home and his people whilst encouraging change that revolutionizes the entire world.

Here is an author who is as passionate about his enjoyment of the written word as he is about his history and those individuals whom we can never forget, that shaped our lives and our existence with their ideas and visionary philosophies. Completely compelling, this forceful read will move you emotionally to the core touching your very heart and soul with such a powerful force that will be forever etched within ones memory as something most poignant. This series is one that will be read again and again, as it is by far something of such enormity as to not be left on the bookshelf. If you are looking to find out about this iconic figure and time in history from a most original angle, then Conn Iggulden is an author who can present it to you in a way that you won't forget.
The audio version is a real treat. June 3 2012
By DWD's Reviews - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
Published April of 2012 by AudioGo.
Narrated by Paul Blake
Duration: 15 hours, 23 minutes

I did not read or listen to the other three installments of Conn Iggulden's Emperor Series, but I was already familiar with the last few years of Julius Caesar's life so it was not difficult to join in here at the end.

This book starts with Caesar's decision to cross the Rubicon River with his army when he was ordered home from Gaul. This actions begins a civil war, with Caesar leading one faction and Pompey leading the other. From there we get the other highlights - Caesar's triumphal entry into Rome, the defeat of Pompey's army in Greece, the pursuit of Pompey into Egypt, the romance of Caesar and Cleopatra, the return to Rome and Caesar's murder by the Senate.

It's all standard issue history textbook stuff but Iggulden makes it a story that demands to be listened to. To be sure, he has fiddled with the historical record a bit but his revisions flow very smoothly with the betrayal of the Republic by Pompey and Caesar, Caesar's mastery of the symbolic gestures, the intrigues in the Egyptian court and, most of all, Brutus. Brutus steals the show as the man who betrayed Caesar twice. His brooding, angry nature, his pride and his ego burn in the background of every scene and eventually destroy Caesar.

Iggulden notes at the end of the book that he is considering extending the series to tell the story of the aftermath of Caesar's assassination. I hope he does.

The book was read by Paul Blake. To say that Blake read the book or even narrated it is to understate it. He performed it. You can hear the dangers of night attacks, intrigue and the open battlefield in his voice. He also made Brutus seethe, Cleopatra scheme and made the listener hear the physical weakness that made Pompey such a poor general at the end. Top notch!
10 of 15 people found the following review helpful
A better finale March 1 2006
By ilmk - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
Iggulden completes his series and this time there's not too much complaint about historical inaccuracy (though perhaps about historical characterisation). To get it all going, Julius leaps over the Rubicon, captures Corfinium without bloodshed, and traipses into Rome with consummate ease. It was going to be interesting to see how he forced the character of Brutus back onto his true historical destiny and Iggulden manages it in a single episode of childish pique as our silvered-armoured sidekick goes from outstanding general and best friend to outstanding general and worst enemy in the space of a single night simply because he feels Julius favours Mark Anthony over him. Julius, himself, doesn't seem too bothered as he laps up the adoration of the Roman crowd and spends most of his time trying to father a child before getting cuckolded and storming off to Pharsalus to hunt down his previous friend who has chucked his lot in with the aging and increasingly befuddled Pompey (who spends much of the first half grumbling about intestinal issues and managing to let Caesar out manoeuvre him) and the self-exiled Senate, caustically represented by Cicero.

In the meantime Brutus has a new aristocratic friend, Seneca and we move past page 200 into the battle for Roman supremacy at Pharsalus which takes the next hundred pages or so and ends Part One. It is during this battle that Iggulden shows why the glaring inconsistencies in plot and characterisation that so define all these novels can be swept aside through sheer brilliance of action. The battle for Pharsalus and control of Rome is executed with pathos, crisp dialogue and gladiator-esque vibrancy. Brutus' fight to a standstill, Octavius' handling of the intended decimation of the Third, Pompey's agonised futile stand and Julius' military brilliance are all painted in an exhilarating manner until the final ignominious end on the shores of Alexandria. The only item that grates slightly is Brutus' volte-face and his near-cowardice when faced with faced with dishonourable death or naked legionary hatred as Julius exercises a clemency that leaves a festering wound on his soul.

Iggulden sweeps us on to the penultimate action of Julius' life as he has a dishevelled Cleopatra tumbling from her infamous carpet in a manner less reminiscent of Elizabeth Taylor and more of Asterix and Cleopatra before falling for her wiles, capturing Ptolemy, razing the Alexandria library to the ground in a rooftop escape and finally securing the throne for his new love and begetting a male heir.

We move swiftly to Julius' denouement back in Rome where Iggulden has Servilia as the architect of his downfall. Focusing on the two main events, his thrice refusal of a crown and his murder, Iggulden cannot resist the impulse to use the infamous Shakespeare quote which never happened historically. At least he didn't go so far as so say, `Et tu, Brute?' choosing to give a direct English translation of Julius' last words and leaving the conspirators with far more glory than any other author as they enter the Roman forum with the saving blood of the republic on their hands rather than the results of a heinous crime. Still, he does hint he might subject the story of Mark Anthony, Octavian and Cleopatra to the historical mangle in future years.

The character of Brutus is the only minor historical complaint. Brutus is historically is recognised as the epitome of republicanism, second only to Cato. History tells us that his participation in the murder of Caesar is an unwilling act of a man for whom Rome and republic is everything whereas Iggulden has him behaving like the historical Mark Anthony - wild, impetuous, a charismatic leader of men - which results in the problem that his actions in the novels come across as whimsical and petulant most of the time. He is constantly bleating and bemoaning the fact that he isn't number one, something that is outlined starkly in his feverish diatribe to Julius mid-novel.

In stark contrast, having got past the farcical upbringing of Octavian in the previous novels, we see a character that perfectly explains his future destiny as Augustus and matches his historical personage perfectly.

The quartet of novels are extremely well written stories, Iggulden demonstrating a remarkable capacity to capture his reader's attention and imagination, his ability ensuring he has produced a story that, as the quote on the front jacket claims "the great events and breathtaking brutality of the times are brought lavishly to life." It is this great capacity to tell a story that rescues a historically awful series punctuated with inane characterisation at times. So, buy it, because it is compelling, but there are other series out there that tell the story of the fall of the Roman Republic in a more historically satisfying way (Colleen McCullough's Masters of Rome series being the best).

It'll be interesting to see what Iggulden comes up with next.