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The Ides Of March [Paperback]

Valerio Massimo Manfred

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Book Description

Nov. 8 2013
March, 44 BC. Rome, in all her glory, has expanded her territories beyond the wildest dreams of her citizens, led by Caius Julius Caesar -- Pontifex Maximus, dictator perpetuo, invincible military leader and only fifty-six years old. He is a man in command of his destiny, who wields enormous power throughout the vast empire. However his god-given mission -- to end the blood-splattered fratricidal wars, reconcile implacably hostile factions and preserve Roman civilization and world order -- is teetering dangerously close to collapse...His power is draining away. None of his supporters can stop the inexorably evolving plot against him and prophecy will explode into truth on the Ides of March and the world will change forever. This is political thriller laced through with all the intrigue and action surrounding one of the most crucial turning points in the history of western civilization.

Product Details

  • Paperback: 400 pages
  • Publisher: PAN Macmillan Adult; Unabridged edition (Nov. 8 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0330464558
  • ISBN-13: 978-0330464550
  • Product Dimensions: 13 x 19.7 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 222 g
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #2,133,965 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

"Stand aside Gladiator, the real classics are coming!"
(Independent)

"Manfredi...shows Dan Brown how it should be done"
(Daily Express) --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

About the Author

Valerio Massimo Manfredi is professor of classical archaeology at the Luigi Bocconi University in Milan. Further to academic publications, he has published numerous works of fiction, including the Alexander trilogy, which has been translated into thirty-four languages in fifty-five countries. His novel The Last Legion was released as a major motion picture. He has written and hosted documentaries on the ancient world and has written screenplays for cinema and television.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
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Front Cover | Copyright | Excerpt | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 3.7 out of 5 stars  7 reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars BEWARE OF MARCH 15th! March 9 2014
By jeanne zych - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Mass Market Paperback|Verified Purchase
IN PROCESS OF READING BOOK NOW-GOOD APPROACH FOR A MURDER EVEN THOUGH ONE KNOWS FINAL OUTCOME-A REAL PAGE TURNER IN SPITE OF MANY ROMAN NAMES...
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderfully refreshing. April 23 2013
By ereini0n - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
The year is 44 BC.
The place is Rome. Gaius Julius Caesar, dictator perpetuo, is finalizing his plans of war with Parthia. He eagerly awaits news from one of his most loyal men, Publius Sextus Baculus, a veteran centurion gathering information in the far north.
There are traitorous murmurs in the air. Caesar's chief aide Silius Salvidienus, more affected by those murmurs than his master, also seeks information, assisted by Caesar's physician and Marcus Brutus' house philosopher.

The place is north Italy and Publius Sextus receives crucial information from a paid informer. His task is to make sure this information reaches Rome in time, no knowing for sure how much time there is. He enlists 3 soldiers to help carry the words, each by a different route, 5 vital words that will save Rome - "The Eagle is in danger".

The roads are treacherous and more so are people - orders go out to stop the news reaching the city...

This is a retelling of Sakespeare's "Julius Caesar", made flesh and bone by brilliant writing, adding behind-the-scenes action and characters and sense of time.
I've never read a book quite like this one. Not just the plot but the style, the precision, the minimalism. The sense of urgency is overwhelming, it's present on every page, reinforced by the dates in the beginning of every chapter in the Roman fashion - VI days till the Ides, III days, etc.
And I loved the characters - Caesar, sick of Rome and it's politics, ready for one final military adventure; Marcus Antonius, one whose motives are as ambiguous as he pretends not to be; Cicero, cautious as always; Brutus, determined and scared; and Publius Sextus, wiling to face time itself to do his duty.
4.0 out of 5 stars Caesar's "intelligence agents" in his last days Feb. 25 2013
By Marie A. Parsons - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
The story of Julius Caesar's assassination-who plotted his death, the seer's prophecy, the politics of the time, etc-may be reasonably familiar.

What makes Manfredi's Ides of March stand out is that he introduces Caesar's "intelligence agents." These are trusted legionaries, especially one, who serve Caesar as messengers, investigators, and bodyguards. They have heard rumors of the plot against his life, and now race through Italy in hopes of stopping Caesar's death.

Readers also catch glimpses of Brutus as he is torn between his desire to see Rome remain a Republic, and his hesitation at doing murder.

Cleopatra and Antony are also shown here as already familiar to each other, even while Caesar still lives.

Much of the story is a chase, as agents of the assassins attempt to stop the legionaires. The sense given by the geography and terrain of the rivers, cliffs, villas and tabernas, gives the tale a vaster scope than other stories set only in Rome.

While this is a fascinating story as told from its different point of view, lending a fresh look at familiar events, the character development is lacking. It is as if, since the characters are all so well-known, they are allowed to remain somewhat "stick-figures."
It would have been nice to see if the author could have provided any of these well-known persons with new perspectives.

The book is still recommended.
5 of 8 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Time and Ides wait for no man May 10 2010
By Leonard Fleisig - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
Not even if that man is Julius Caesar.

It seems to me that there are two main hurdles a writer must overcome if one is going to write a piece of fiction on the assassination of Julius Caesar. First, he or she must create a plot that is sufficiently interesting that the reader will stay absorbed in the story even though they know the ending. Second, the characters, both real and fictional, must be drawn well and with historical accuracy.

Valerio Massimo Manfredi's "The Ides of March" succeeds as far as plotting concerns. The story focuses mainly on Caesar's attempts to confirm that there is, in fact, a plot to take his life and creates a parallel story line that tracks the actions of those loyal to Caesar and those of the conspirators. The plot works well and actually maintained my interest all the way through. It was a well-thought out plot and it develops nicely.

Where "The Ides of March" fails, and fails badly in my opinion is in it character development. Although the characters (both real and fictional) seem to be drawn with great accuracy in a historical sense they virtually all come across as wooden. It is no small feat to make Julius Caesar and the likes of Marcus Junius Brutus or Marcus Antonius seem stilted and one-dimensional but, perhaps because something is lost in the translation, they lack the sort of spark that would make you feel vested in the characters.

Recommendation: I'd say this book is worth taking a look at if you have a plane ride or need some light beach reading. The plot is interesting enough to keep you reading through to the end and Manfredi has clearly taken the time to create what appears to be an accurate picture of life in the time of the Caesar. It isn't great literature but you probably won't toss it away before you finish it. Basically, about 3 stars for the plot and 2 stars for the characters.
1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A riveting novel of Roman politics and intrigue, highly recommended Oct. 7 2010
By Midwest Book Review - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
The most powerful man in the world may be powerless to the fates. "The Ides of March" is a novel of famed ruler of the known world, Julius Caesar and the overwhelming challenges that lied before him. The corruption of the court wains his power, and it seems by the day, he grows weaker, unable to stop his ultimate fate as it was prophecy by a soothsayer. "The Ides of March" is a riveting novel of Roman politics and intrigue, highly recommended.
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