The second volume in the acclaimed Emperor series, in which Conn Iggulden brilliantly interweaves history and adventure to recreate the astonishing life of Julius Caesar – an epic tale of ambition and rivalry, bravery and betrayal, from an outstanding new voice in historical fiction.
The young Caesar must overcome enemies on land and at sea to become a battle-hardened leader – in the spectacular new novel from the bestselling author of The Gates of Rome.
Forced to flee Rome, Julius Caesar is serving on board a war galley in the dangerous waters of the Mediterranean and rapidly gaining a fearsome reputation. But no sooner has he had a memorable victory than his ship is captured by pirates and he is held to ransom.
Abandoned on the north African coast after hard months of captivity, he begins to gather a group of recruits that he will eventually forge into a unit powerful enough to gain vengeance on his captors and to suppress a new uprising in Greece.
Returning to Rome as a hero – and as an increasingly dangerous problem for his enemies – Caesar is reunited with his boyhood companion Brutus. But soon the friends are called upon to fight as they have never fought before, when a new crisis threatens to overwhelm the city – in the form of a rebellious gladiator named Spartacus…
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The first book in Conn Iggulden's highly impressive Emperor series, The Gates of Rome, immediately marked the author out as one of the most accomplished practitioners of the sweeping historical novel at work today. The second book, The Death of Kings, creates another massive panoply of the Ancient World with the young Caesar serving onboard a war galley in the dangerous tempest-tossed waters of the Mediterranean. Achieving a striking victory with his already fully formed intellect and forceful personality, things suddenly turn disastrous for him when he is captured by pirates and imprisoned on the North Coast of Africa. But Caesar knows he is not fated to end his prospects here, and uses his charisma and leadership abilities to forge a lean and lethal squadron of warriors who break out of captivity and find themselves involved in a bloody uprising in Greece. And, inevitably, Caeser is soon back on his way to Rome for another encounter that will have tremendous consequences both for him and his fellow Romans.
Iggulden's skills are many and varied: he is well aware that narratives such as this must have an irresistible forward impetus, and that's maintained with an inexorable control here. And he knows that the reader must constantly have the details of these fabulous ancient times conjured afresh throughout the book--but never at the expense of the trajectory of the story. The author's key achievement, though, is in his laser-sharp characterisation of Caesar and those he encounters--and this is where the real splendour of The Death of Kings lies: Caesar is very much a man of his time, but the conjuring trick of allowing the modern reader to enter his psychology is always handled with quiet assurance.
It's only matter of time before Hollywood gets its hand on this property, with its copious action, mighty sea battles and vivid backdrops--but this is the way to enjoy it, leaping with vigour from the printed page. --Barry ForshawReview:
'Iggulden is in a class of his own when it comes to epic, historical fiction.' (Daily Mirror)
'A brilliant story – I wish I’d written it. A novel of vivid characters, stunning action and unrelenting pace. It really is a terrific read.' (Bernard Cornwell)
'A rich and compelling novel that draws the reader into an extraordinary time and the life of an extraordinary man.' (David Gemmell)
'The descriptions of combat in the circus, slaves in revolt, skirmishes in Greece, amputations and street fighting are all convincing.' (TLS)
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