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Emperor: The Field of Swords by Conn…
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Emperor: The Field of Swords (2005)

by Conn Iggulden

Series: Emperor (3)

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750912,532 (3.93)13
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My book review for www.audiojukebox.com

Today is March 15th, or as most of us know, the Ides of March. The three most common facts known about Julius Caesar is that he was one of the greatest rulers of the Roman Empire, he was assassinated on the Ides of March, and he created an amazing salad dressing that he named after himself. Okay, so I made up that last bit about the salad dressing to see if anyone really reads these reviews. But if you are at all curious and want to learn more about the life of Caesar, or even want to hear some thrilling historical fiction, then listen to Conn Iggulden’s Emperor series. There are four books to this amazing series that cover Caesar’s entire life starting as a young boy growing up in Ancient Rome through his rise to power as a military conqueror and dictator and finishing with his decline and assassination. Each book in this series is pretty lengthy – The Field of Swords weighs in at over 17 and a half hours, which might seem a bit of overkill in describing the life of any individual, even a type A overachiever like Julius Caesar. But Conn Iggulden’s books cover so much more than the mere life of one man; they provide a vivid storytelling experience that describes the people, the times and the amazing power of the Roman Empire.

The Field of Swords begins in Spain where Caesar has led his legions on a very successful campaign that has captured the Iberian peninsula for Rome. Although his political enemies, feeling threatened by his status as a conqueror and hero, want him to stay away from the city, Julius decides to return to Rome and run for election as Consol. As with elections today, winning the support and votes of the people costs a small fortune, and the election leaves Caesar victorious, but heavily in debt. What is the best way to get out of debt? Conquer a neighboring territory, of course, and Caesar heads off to run a campaign in Gaul. The story alternates between Caesar’s military campaign in Gaul and Britain and the political intrigue and treachery back in Rome. Both parts are exciting and filled with many major historical players of the time – Pompey, Mark Antony, Crassius, and Brutus, as well as a large cast of colorful and well depicted fictional characters. I loved learning about the military strategy of the highly trained and disciplined Roman legions as well as the complex negotiations in the political arena, making this book not only highly entertaining, but definitely worth the listen for the history lesson.

The audiobook is read by Paul Blake. This is my first experience with him as a narrator and I have to say that my feelings about this performance are mixed. His voices for various characters were satisfactory, but not distinct enough that I could tell one character from the other by simply hearing a piece of dialog. This did not really cause any confusion as far as the plot is concerned, but it made this performance feel not as polished. I also found his narrations of descriptive text passages to be overly emotional and over acted, which for me, detracted from the book. However, either he improved over time or I became accustomed to his style because after 5 or 6 hours into the book, I was hooked and found myself loving the story.

So, whether you want an exciting novel of ancient Rome, or want to learn more about the great man, Julius Caesar, then Friends, Romans, and Countrymen – lend your ears to this audiobook and enjoy a captivating story.
( )
  jmoncton | Jun 3, 2013 |
It seems that every series has that one book - that one book that is both necessary, but also unbelievably slow and ultimately a disappointment in the context of its brethren. Sadly, Iggulden's Rome series did not escape this phenomenon of series, and Field of Swords is the episode that really let me down. Some of this was unavoidable, as clearly Iggulden could not just skip right over important times in Caesar's life just because they weren't as exciting as the events we know him best for. On the other hand, a good deal of this book's downfall was Iggulden's attempt to get into Caesar's head, to get into his emotions. Let's just say psychology is not this author's strong point, and he should stick to the action writing as much as possible.

This episode follows Julius and his friends through their time in Spain, their return to Rome, and (most importantly) the campaign in Gaul and Britain. Unfortunately, it is not as action-packed or entertaining as its predecessors, but it plays an important role setting up the fourth and final installation, and I didn't feel that my time was wasted reading it. ( )
  philosojerk | May 22, 2011 |
Whoops, forgot to mention the third book in the series. I like the notion of how Brutus describes himself, "I am the best of my generation," and Caesars appreciation for it, "He has a talent for death."

I want a talent for death, who wouldn't want one, that would be cool. ( )
  Neilsantos | Oct 8, 2010 |
This book #3 in the 4 book series of Julius Caesar & Brutus by this author. I didn't like this one as much as the first 2. Maybe because this one dealt mostly with Caesar's wars in Gaul & Britain. However, I do intend to read the 4th book. ( )
  TomWheaton | Jul 15, 2010 |
I loved learning more about Caesar's life, and was especially grateful for the notes at the end of each book clarifying where the author deviated from history. This entire series was a great read. ( )
  yrthegood1staken | Sep 22, 2008 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0440240964, Mass Market Paperback)

From the author of the bestselling The Dangerous Book for Boys
 
With his acclaimed Emperor novels, author Conn Iggulden brings a dazzling world to life–the rich, complex world of ancient Rome as seen through the eyes of one extraordinary man: Julius Caesar. Now Iggulden returns to the story of Julius Caesar and a realm that stretches from the sands of North Africa to the coast of Britain. Against this magnificent backdrop, Caesar, his first victories under his belt and a series of key alliances in place, makes his move toward power and glory–and commands his famous legions on one of history’s bloodiest and most daring military campaigns.

It is the heart of the first century B.C. For Julius Caesar, the time has come to enter the treacherous political battleground that has become Rome. Having proved his valor in the slaves’ revolt, Caesar is strengthened by the love and vision of a beautiful older woman, and by the sword of his loyal friend, Marcus Brutus. And when he is appointed to a new position of power, Caesar manages to do what none of the other great figures of his time could: capture the hearts of the Roman people themselves. Crushing a rebellion, bringing order to the teeming city, Caesar then makes the move that will change history. He leaves Rome for the foothills of the Alps. And with an army made in his own image, he begins a daring charge through Gaul, across the English Channel, and to the wilds of tribal Britain.

Here, in a series of cataclysmic clashes, the legend of Julius Caesar will be forged. And while Caesar and Brutus pit their lives–and those of their men–against the armies of the wilderness, their political adversaries in Rome grow at once more fearful and more formidable. So when the fighting at the dominion’s edge is over, the greatest danger to Julius Caesar will await him on the Tiber–with a man who wants Rome himself.

From the clash of armies to the heat of a woman’s seduction, from the thunder of battle to the orgies of pleasure and plunder that follow in a warrior’s wake, Emperor: The Field of Swords captures in riveting detail a world being shaped by a brilliant civilization. And in this extraordinary novel, the fate of Rome is being driven by the ambitions of a single man. A man with an unmatched genius for power.


From the Hardcover edition.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:18:59 -0400)

(see all 5 descriptions)

Following the defeat of the Spartacus rebellion, Julius Caesar and Marcus Brutus, who have been sent to run the Roman colonies in Spain, return to challenge powerful senators to become one of the Consuls of Rome. This is the third volume in the acclaimed 'Emperor' series.… (more)

» see all 6 descriptions

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