Roma: The Novel of Ancient Rome (Unabridged)
by Steven Saylor
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Weaving history, legend, and new archaeological discoveries into a spellbinding narrative, critically acclaimed novelist Steven Saylor gives new life to the drama of the city's first 1,000 years - from the founding of the city by the ill-fated twins Romulus and Remus, through Rome's astonishing ascent to become the capital of the most powerful empire in history. Roma recounts the tragedy of the hero-traitor Coriolanus, the capture of the city by the Gauls, the invasion of Hannibal, the bitter political struggles of the patricians and plebeians, and the ultimate death of Rome's Republic with the triumph, and assassination, of Julius Caesar. Witnessing this history, and sometimes playing key roles, are the descendents of two of Rome's first families: the Potitius and Pinarius clans. One is the confidant of Romulus. One is born a slave and tempts a Vestal virgin to break her vows. One becomes a mass murderer. And one becomes the heir of Julius Caesar. Linking the generations is a mysterious talisman as ancient as the city itself. Epic in every sense of the word, Roma is a panoramic historical saga and Saylor's finest achievement to date.
I found this book to most excellent. Historically accurate to a T, this book inthralls you. I does remind me a bit of HBOs series 'Rome' but a historically accurate portrail. I would reccomend this book to anyone that loves historical fiction.
It’s very good
This book is a nice blend of historical fact, legend, and novelization. Saylor knows his stuff and never romanticizes the ancient world or lets his story become the literary equivalent of a loincloth flick. “Roma” is what I would call a fairly serious historical novel, as opposed to costume drama, taking into account that not all of it is hard historical fact. But his handling of the legendary is very well done and comes off as plausible incorporation of the mythic into the real.
The story is low key in that it focuses on the known political and cultural norms of ancient Rome and raises a lot of intriguing ideas about how people experience their past and the present. I fear I’m making the book sound a bit dull but it isn’t, it’s an engaging story that reminds me of James Micheners books, which I think are some of the greatest historical novels ever written. “Roma” is a good story, well informed and thought provoking.
I like the narrator, John Lee, too. He has a casually macho style that suits ancient Rome well in all it’s harshly paternalistic and militaristic glory.
Anyway, I’d highly recommend “Roma”.