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3082336,210 (3.58)16
Collections:Rob, Rob - read
Tags:fiction, Rome, historical fiction, history, Roman Empire, Nero, Augustus, Domitian, Trajan, Hadrian, Claudius

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Empire by Steven Saylor

  1. 20
    The Forgotten Legion by Ben Kane (readafew)
    readafew: The Forgotten Legion and Empire are both great novels taking place during the Roman Empire.
  2. 20
    I, Claudius by Robert Graves (JGolomb)
    JGolomb: "I, Claudius" is the standard bearer for Imperial Roman fiction. It's more richly detailed and emotional than Saylor, but comparable it's broad historical scope.
  3. 20
    Under the Eagle by Simon Scarrow (JGolomb)
    JGolomb: Fun fictional military adventure and incorporates non-fictional characters and events well.

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Showing 1-5 of 22 (next | show all)
This book is Saylor at his best – interesting characters mingle with historical figures that shine in the light of all the obvious research he has done. Rome’s history comes alive in minute detail and on a grand scale. Apollonius of Tyana is a particularly fascinating philosopher that we meet along the way – something of a cross between a Zen master and some kind of magician. We also meet the emperors and share in the wonder, scandal and violence of their various reigns. Hail, Steven Saylor, those who love Roman history salute you! ( )
  dbsovereign | Jan 26, 2016 |
This is the second of two novels in which Steven Saylor follows the history of Rome through the Pinarius family. In this book, we trace their fortunes from the period of Augustus to the end of Hadrian’s reign. Conveniently, the Pinarii are very ignorant of history, both of Rome and of their own family; this gives other characters the opportunity to deliver numerous “You haven’t heard the story of such and such? Well, let me tell you in extensive, textbooky detail” speeches. This sort of exposition was excusable in Claudius at the beginning of the book, because he was a prodigious scholar and boring people with his stories was part of his identity, but with other characters it became a bit of an info-dump.

That being said, I did learn a fair bit about the history of Rome, and at least this book covered only a short time frame. We follow only four generations of the Pinarii, making this a more manageable multi-generational historical family saga than, say, Edward Rutherfurd’s large-scale epics, which can easily span several centuries. So if you are new to this type of storytelling, Empire might be a good introduction (although watch out for the multiple people called Titus).

I opted for a 3-star rating instead of 3.5 because, while the book moved very quickly at the beginning, it became a slog by the end. ( )
  rabbitprincess | Jul 17, 2014 |
This is the sequel to the author's novel Roma, which covered the 1000 years of Roman history from before the city's founding up to the time of Augustus. Empire covers the 130 or so years from the last days of Augustus to the early years of Antoninus Pius. These years are, of course, the years of Roman history that are by the far the best known, with the (in)famous sucession of Emperors, Tiberius, Caligula, Claudius and Nero, the year of the Four Emperors, the Flavians, the Colosseum, Vesuvius erupting, the cruel tyranny of Domitian, then the calmer period of Trajan and Hadrian. The successive members of the Pinarius family get into all sorts of antics from being senators, augurs and the confidantes of Emperors, to fighting a lion or being burnt as a Christian in the arena. As in the first novel, there is a great deal of exposition of historical events through set piece scenes that can get wearisome after a while (show, don't tell!), even for a reader like me with a considerable interest in Roman history. So, like its predecessor, this is (mostly) a good page turner, but not as good as Saylor's Gordianus series of mysteries, where the characters are far more fully fleshed out and likeable. ( )
  john257hopper | Jan 11, 2014 |
An enjoyable read. Better than the first in the series. The story of the fascinum and the Pinarius family is carried forward through the early empire to the time of Hadrian. Well told, a few twists and turns. The darks side of the emperors is revealed. ( )
  Traveller1 | Mar 30, 2013 |
Empire follows the life of a few generations of the Pinarius family in the early Roman empire. It continues where the author left off in his book Roma. The latter book covered a longer period of time, and left little space for character development. However, this book spends time on individuals, but uses a rather crude device to fill in the gaps of history, especially in the first half of the book.
The characters interact with the Roman Emperors (e.g. Nero, Claudius, Domitian, Hadrian) in various ways, and give a sense of life in these times (assuming the author has accurately captured it). It's a big book, one I picked up and read over many months as time permitted. I enjoyed it, but in the end not really sure what I got out of it other than an addition to my knowledge of history. ( )
  robeik | Dec 4, 2012 |
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History is scarcely capable of preserving the memory of anything except myths. - Gustave Le Bon, "The Crowd"
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0312381018, Hardcover)

“May Steven Saylor’s Roman empire never fall. A modern master of historical fiction, Saylor convincingly transports us into the ancient world...enthralling!” —USA Today on Roma

Continuing the saga begun in his New York Times bestselling novel Roma, Steven Saylor charts the destinies of the aristocratic Pinarius family, from the reign of Augustus to height of Rome’s empire. The Pinarii, generation after generation, are witness to greatest empire in the ancient world and of the emperors that ruled it—from the machinations of Tiberius and the madness of Caligula, to the decadence of Nero and the golden age of Trajan and Hadrian and more.
Empire is filled with the dramatic, defining moments of the age, including the Great Fire, the persecution of the Christians, and the astounding opening games of the Colosseum. But at the novel’s heart are the choices and temptations faced by each generation of the Pinarii.
Steven Saylor once again brings the ancient world to vivid life in a novel that tells the story of a city and a people that has endured in the world’s imagination like no other.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:20:02 -0400)

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Continuing the epic story begun in his "New York Times"-bestselling novel "Roma," Saylor charts the destinies of five more generations of the aristocratic Pinarius family, from the reign of Augustus to the height of Rome's empire.

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