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Caesar: A Novel (Masters of Rome Series)

1 rating: 3.0
A book by Colleen Mccullough

Does a new listener stand a chance of following this? Caesar rather severely abridges the fifth title in McCullough's acclaimed "Masters of Rome" series, reducing a 600-page book to novella length while maintaining the book's cast of thousands. Michael … see full wiki

Tags: Books, Cafe Libri
Author: Colleen Mccullough
Publisher: Avon A
1 review about Caesar: A Novel (Masters of Rome Series)

A Fine Historical Novel, Yet a Bit Cool to the Touch

  • Oct 30, 2000
This one's a well-executed historical excursion into Roman times, the era of Caesar and his enemies to be precise, when the Roman Republic teetered on the brink of its own demise. Caesar comes brilliantly to life in this chronicle of his later career: his prosecution of the Gallic Wars leading up to his sweeping successes on the field of battle in the wake of civil conflict. All the personalities of the fascinating Romans of the day are sketched sharply here as counterpoint to the ever-brilliant Caesar as these busy, carping politicians and patricians maneuver around and outside Caesar's carefully honed sphere of influence to unseat and defeat him. And yet they never stand a chance as we know from the outset. The novel is a little cool and abstract in some parts and some of the personalities seem oddly distant. Caesar, too, seems almost too perfect, little better than a finely carved marble bust. And yet we do get to view how the man might have thought and operated from inside his own head, a fascinating view to be sure. The most interesting character in this tale though was, I think, Gnaeus Pompeius Magnus (Pompey) who is tiresomely pompous and all too human and never a match for Caesar, though he never sees that with sufficient clarity himself, until the end. Indeed, none of them seem a match for the Great Man, making one wonder whether Caesar really was so substantial a fellow or if he was just matched up against a bunch of dolts. Well, perhaps facing a man with such formidable skills inevitably makes dolts of all the rest of us. I had to wonder, though, how Rome managed to do anything significant with such incompetent leadership -- until Caesar came along that is. But in the end it was the very human Pompey who moved me as he rowed off into Egypt and history, a defeated general dreaming only of getting out of the way of the more than natural force his hubris had helped unleash.-- SWM The King of Vinland's Saga

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