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The Gates of Rome - Conn Iggulden

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Author: Conn Iggulden / Alternative title: Emperor: The Gates of Rome

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      25.11.2013 03:48
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      The Childhood life of Julius Caesar

      When you on a travel journey you have plenty of time to read. Currently I have read a book named the Gates of Rome by Conn Iggulden during my long journey.

      Brief Information about Conn Iggulden and the Gates of Rome:
      Conn Iggulden is a British author who was born in 1971. His works are mainly historical fiction. He has written an emperor series books. The Gates of Rome is the first one out of the series.

      The Gates of Rome was written in 2003. It is Iggulden's début book, which is about the early life of Julius Caesar and his friend Macus Brutus.
      My opinions:

      I like historical books, but the Gates of Rome is the first one I have read in English. At beginning I worried if I can finish it. However it's a really interesting story, which helped me finish the task.
      The story started from a fight of two boys with three boys. It was like an ordinary fight between country boys. However with the writing you can have a very active image of the boys and make a clear picture of the boys characters. The author's writing style made the reading very enjoyable, even for such historical fiction book.

      The book was not seriously focused on the real history as the author mentioned on the end of the book. However through the writing I would like believe the history was really like that.
      The book is mainly about the early life of Julius Caesar. Beside it you can also know some life stories of his childhood friend Macus, his beloved father, his trainer and his uncle, etc. Every others lives are also very interesting.

      In the book you can read some descriptions of wars and politics. However the main themes of the book are about love, loyalty, braveness and friendship.
      Extra information:

      The Gates to Rome is a paperback edition. It has 35 chapters about 600 pages. It also has the first chapter of the author's next book the Death of the Kings and his other books promotion. You can get the book on Amazon website or from your local library.
      Final word:

      The Gates to Rome is an interesting historical book. I like it and would like to read more books written by the author. If you are interested in the Roman history I would recommend the book.

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      09.06.2010 11:01

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      julius cesear and his friend marcus as younge boys getting ready to fight for rome

      I dont read very many books as like many i find it hard to find the time but when i saw how my husband could not put this book down i thought i should give it a go, and am i glad i did. I could not put the book down. This the first in a four book series about the life and times of julius cesear and focusses on his younge life and that of his friend marcus in times when they longed to join the men and go out and fight in wars while all they could do was train for that time. It is also a great insight into rome and its history. Each day i had myself finding time to pick this book up and read it to find out what would happen. Although the books are long and there are 4 of them i recommmend this as something worth dedicating time to, you wont be disappointed.

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      10.04.2010 09:17
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      Worth a read so long as you don't care about the details!

      'The Gates of Rome' is the first of four novels in Conn Iggulden's Emperor series. The story-arc of the four books follows the life of that famous Roman, the one guy that almost everyone can name in full, Gaius Julius Caesar. This first offering deals with Caesar's youth, in which he is referred to as 'Gaius.'

      Gaius lives on a farm on the outskirts of Rome. His familia comprises his father Julius, his best friend Marcus and Tubruk, the estate manager. They are a small group, but they are happy! Life is good, the slaves and farm are well-kept, and the worst life has to offer young Gaius and his friend is fractious childhood enmity with the next door neighbour's son, Suetonius.

      Things change as the boys turn into young men, and Renius and Caberra join the familia. Renius is a rough and coarse ex-gladiator, hired by Julius to provide Gaius and Marcus with practical military education. Both boys dream of military glory, and set to Renius' training with gusto. He is a hard task-master, and soon his methods and penchant for antagonism earn their respect (complete with a healthy dose of hatred and fear).

      As the boys' training comes towards an end, Renius deeming them prepared for entrance to the Roman Army, a slave revolt breaks loose in Rome. The Julius estate is overrun with slaves from other farms, intent on revenge upon Romans - or at the very least, they are intent upon destruction. The whole family takes up station upon the estate walls in an attempt to fend off the attackers. Every able bodied man and woman has a role to play, for they are in it together. Everyone is injured, but most of the family survive. The slaves were not expecting a pitched defence, and move off in search of easier pickings. One death brings change down upon them all.

      I find myself wanting to review Iggulden's offerings in two completely opposing ways. The writing is good, the story is fast-paced and detailed, and the characterisations are deep and believable. However, I am unable to get past the glaring changes from common knowledge of reality. For example, Julius Caesar the Elder did not adopt Marcus Brutus and raise him together with his son. For all that the world knows that Brutus and Caesar were close at the end of the latter's life (Just ask Shakespeare - "Et tu, Brute?"), they were not raised together. Brutus' mother was not a high-class prostitute who left him to continue her...employment. Brutus was the epitome of a respectable Roman Senator, his forebears included Lucius Junius Brutus, founder of the Roman Republic. That was the whole *point* of Brutus' inclusion in the group of assassin conspirators, they needed the respectability that his name afforded them in order to get away with murdering the First Man!

      This is only one of many (many) very conspicuous changes from the 'true' story of Caesar's life, so I would warn any Classicists away from Iggulden. To anyone that has read McCullough's 'Masters of Rome' series I would beg you not to read this. It will do nothing but disappoint and irritate you. However, for those who do not expect historical fiction to reflect reality, 'The Gates of Rome' truly is a fantastic read. You will not be able to put it down!

      (And to those that have enjoyed 'The Gates of Rome,' try Colleen McCullough. Her writing is much heavier going, but makes a conscious attempt to remain as 'true' as one can to the facts that we have. You will learn a lot about the Late Republic of Rome whilst enjoying a brilliant read!)

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      22.12.2009 19:54
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      Boys own adventure in ancient rome

      I've been getting into historical fiction of late, which is why I picked up Gates of Rome. It's the first in a set of four books based on the life of Julius Ceasar. The first thing to note here is that this is fiction, a made up tale about historical characters. If you like your history authentic, well, it's a mixed bag. My feeling is that Conn Iggulden has done a lot of research into this, but in the interests of writing a good tale, has gone with a lot of assumptions that historians would probably be horrified by.

      That said, it is fiction, and pretty good fiction. Ceasar is portrayed as a powerful, engaging but ultimately human figure. Iggulden's Rome is rich with detail and highly immersive. The tale is a mix of action and politics, and centres quite a bit on young Ceasar's uncle, Marius, and his rival Sula. These are Ceasar's formative years, and his triumphs lie in the future, though they are interesting none the less, and do a good job of setting up his character for the following volumes.

      In short, a worthy blend of history, politics and violence. Enjoyable if not taken too seriously, and yet accurate enough to learn a few things of Roman life in general, if not specifically about the life of Ceasar. There is also a nice little twist at the end.

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      26.05.2009 18:10
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      A series of four books about Julius Caesar. History, action, romance, tragedy - it has everything!

      I have to admit I'm not much of a reader. I can only read books that grip me from page one and that have a constant pace that keeps me interested. Conn Iggulden's Emperor series does this. I have decided to do a brief summary of the whole series here so it's all in one review.

      Conn Iggulden is an English writer who writes fantastic historical fiction. A former English teacher I find Iggulden's writing to be captivating. It is by no means simplistic but he has an amazing ability to provide intimate detail and get to the point! Then there is his subject matter. For this series he follows the life of Julius Caesar. He not only put an incredible amount of research into his subject to ensure accuracy of facts but he truly brings it to life. There is no way of knowing what went on in Julius Caesar's private thoughts but this series makes it so believable. So real.

      The first book in the series of four is called The Gate of Rome, written in 2003. This book tells of Julius's early life in Ancient Rome and his struggles in entering politics and getting caught in a power struggle between two prominent politicians. Now I know what you're thinking, politics = boring, but this is Ancient Rome we are talking about and there is more than one battle!

      The second book called The Death of Kings now sees a young Julius in the army and captured by pirates. This book sees the beginnings of his rise to power and how he was able to accomplish it. His journey also gives insight into the type of person he might have been and how his experiences may have affected him. This book also includes Spartacus and the slave rebellion.

      The third book - The Field of Swords - is action packed as Caesar stretches the borders of the Roman Empire into Gaul and Britain. By now the main characters of the book are very established and throughout the series personal lives are mingled in with the great adventures.

      Finally The Gods of War completes the series as Julius has removed every obstacle in order to reach his goal of ruling the Roman Empire. We also see the entry of Cleopatra and get a glimpse of Ancient Egypt as it once was. For those of you who aren't familiar with Julius Caesar's life I will not reveal the ending, and urge you to read it for yourself.

      These books contain an immense amount of historical facts that have been used, and sometimes slightly altered, to tell this incredible tale. I remember learning about Romans and Julius Caesar in school but I had no idea of his accomplishments and this series really brings it to life. They are fascinating and exciting books that never give up! You just have to keep reading to find out what happens next. Plus you can get them for a couple of quid second hand of Amazon. Bargain!!

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        07.01.2009 12:38
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        A superb piece of fiction, giving insight into the workings of the Roman world

        I had mixed feelings about buying this book. It was initially the two for one deal that won me over. First, I had never heard of Conn Iggulden and I'm usually cautious about reading things by authors I am unfamiliar with. Second, Iggulden had a high work output - The Gates of Rome is itself the first in series - and there is always the fear of quantity over quality. Third, I am again careful about beginning a series of books, as I will usually continue until I've read the lot.

        My first impression, reading the opening chapters, was not particularly favourable. I found the writing style clunky, with jarring timeshifts. I began to think I was reading something akin to Andy McNab with sandals. Rather than making the most of a bad situation and sticking the books on Green Metropolis, I stuck with it, and am SO glad I did.

        With hindsight I think the opening chapters were so jarring because an awful lot of exposition had to take place in as little time as possible. The reader finds themselves immersed in ancient Rome which is physically a very different place to a familiar modern setting. Iggulden does not stop with such superficiality, and we are given insight into everything from family life, religion and politics in meticulous detail. My knowledge of Roman life comes largely from GCSE Latin many moons ago and watching the BBC's superb I Claudius, but Iggulden's story backed up what I knew and taught me a great deal besides.

        The story is focused on the early years of Gaius and Marcus, inseperable friends from different backgrounds but with continuously intertwined destinies. Their growing up is constantly disrupted by the turbulent politics of the Roman world, even though they are distant from the city itself.

        Events finally conspire to bring the two to Rome where they meet Gauis' uncle, Marius, a larger-than-life soldier and consul of Rome. The two friends become enmeshed in the power play between Marius and his rival consul, Sulla. The two consuls hold the senate and the entire Roman world in their grasp but, as Gaius speculates, one city is not big enough for two such personalities.

        The Gates of Rome was a superb read. Once established, the narrative flowed at a swashbuckling pace, with the graphic detail of combat making me wince. As I said, this is not a low IQ guts-fest, and it is the intelligent communication of the relationships between the different characters and their personal motives and fears that gives the book its soul. There is violence and plotting, romance and bitterness, and a wonderful sense of destiny. Not for a long time has a book felt like a documentary where I felt I was witnessing statesmanship and intrigue first-hand.

        At the end of the book, there is a chapter on the accuracies of the fiction, with Iggulden's reasons for changing certain facts for dramatic effect. Again, this demonstrates the careful planning and research undertaken which, in my opinion, paid off. As you learn about Gaius and Marcus, you'll understand the role they play in the shaping of the Roman world, and I can't wait to read the next book.

        ---------- Product Information ----------

        RRP: £6.99 (amazon.co.uk: £4.29)

        Paperback: 640 pages

        Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers Ltd; New edition edition (1 Sep 2003)

        Language English

        ISBN-10: 0007136900

        ISBN-13: 978-0007136902

        Product Dimensions: 17.2 x 11.2 x 4.2 cm

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          01.12.2008 01:07
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          This is a very, very good book.

          This book is brilliant. As are the rest of the Emporer series. Conn Iggulden has written an engrossing tail about one of the most successful and influencial Generals in history. You have to remember that the majority of the book is conjecture, with a huge dosage of artistic license, but if you want a damn good read and have an interest in one of the most glorious, and yet brutal periods in history then there is nothing better.

          It starts by introducing Gaius Julius, and Marcus, his friend. It follows them through their childhood into manhood. Over the years their friendship grows, and the dynamic of their relationship changes from equals to Marcus realising that Gaius will always be his superior.

          They meet Renius, an old gladiator who will be their instructer. As Marcus doesn't have a father, and Gaius' father is always in Rome at the senate, Renius becomes their father figure. When there is a slave rebellion Gaius' villa is attacked, he is wounded, and his father is killed. Gaius moves to Rome with Marcus and Renius were they meet Marius (one of the most amazing Romans in History)

          One of the best things about this book is that most of the characters were real Roman Generals and Senators. Though some aspects have been slightly embelished, a lot of the character traits, according writings, are pretty accurate.

          This series of books really stimulated my interest in Roman History to a point where I have read a number of referenve books and websites.

          Must read!!!

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          24.12.2005 12:45
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          An excellent debut novel from Iggulden and a fantastic start to a series

          Young Gaius Caesar and his best friend Marcus cause absolute mayhem around his father’s estate. For years now they have gotten into all sorts of trouble but now their minds must be focused and it is time for them to be trained in the way of Roman warriors. While the Roman Empire continues to grow the two boys are trained by an ex Gladiator until Gaius’s father is killed during a slave revolt. Gaius is left as the man of the house and heads to Rome to learn politics from his uncle Marius, one of the greatest politicians and Generals in Rome. While the city edges towards Civil War, Gaius learns his trade, but what will become of the young Roman now he is a man, Julius Caesar.

          This is the first part of a series of books being written by former English Tutor Conn Iggulden. Although the series does not focus on actual events as such he has used true events as a basis. From there he has expanded each story enough to make an incredibly interesting and enthralling novel. It’s important to remember that it is only loosely based on true events while you are reading it. If you are looking for true accounts of Caesar’s life then I’d say hit the history books but this makes fantastic Historical Fiction.

          Until I discovered the joys of fantasy writing recently I’d never really taken much of a risk away from War and espionage stories. My discovery, first of David Gemmell and now Conn Iggulden has seen my range of books increase dramatically. Although I was used to sticking to set topics Iggulden has really sparked my interest in the Historical fiction genre. He has written one of the most compelling novels I’ve read in quite a while in The Gates of Rome.

          From the start Iggulden’s tale of a young Roman coming of age and stepping up to his responsibilities is very addictive. The majority of the story focuses on the training of the young Roman’s and Iggulden gives an amazingly detailed account of how he perceives life would have been like back then. Whether these accounts are anyway close to the mark doesn’t really matter, Iggulden’s take on events in Roman times makes for addictive reading. The couple of chapters that focus on their visit to the Gladiators arena in particularly are amazingly detailed and really make a detailed mental picture.

          He writes with quite a regimented chapter set up as each chapter is roughly 15-20 pages long. This keeps the story quite punchy and I found it made Iggulden’s debut novel incredibly compelling as I strived to know what would happen next. I’ve always thought that the less detail used the more addictive the story then becomes but Iggulden has managed to use incredibly graphic descriptions of death and fights and at the same time managed to keep the story flowing along nicely.

          There will be criticism for the way the book ends. It is obvious from the ending that Iggulden is making a series of books that connect together but this means that it wont be a series of books that can be read separately. I feel this means that no matter which book is the current one to get into the series you would have to return to the first book to really understand the history of the plot and who certain characters are.

          It’s in the characters that I really felt Iggulden hooks the reader. The main characters Gaius and Marcus are on a voyage of discovery during the book and as the story expands and their relationship matures it becomes clear the two will do anything for each other. His development of the two is key to the story and everyone else is only a minor character in comparison. I found there to be some fascinating characters within the story with the likes of Gaius’s uncle Marius, one of the top generals in Rome is quite a complex and interesting character.

          I felt his use of the period and the fact that all of the major houses had Slaves was used in a very intricate way. With most of the slaves you can see the clear divide between them and the heads of their house but you can see through his descriptions that certain slaves got better treatment than others. Again whether this is factually correct or not it adds another dimension to an excellent story and an impressive debut from Iggulden.

          There has been a lot of praise for the Emperor series and based on this first instalment it is easy to see why. It is an incredibly compelling read and I certainly found it incredibly hard to put down once I had started. I don’t have any sort of reference point to really compare him in terms of historical fiction but he certainly brought the story to life. The front of the book proclaims “if you liked Gladiator you’ll love Emperor” and I have to say I’m inclined to agree. It is quite a detailed story and although at times written in the simplest forms the story is incredibly addictive and compelling. It’s a book I wouldn’t hesitate recommending to anyone.

          Amazon: £5.59
          Amazon Marketplace: £1.94

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            02.11.2003 20:46
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            I read this book within 3 days, because it was so difficult to put down. I have read a lot of reviews that really make this book out to be untrue to history, and a complete figment of the author's imagination, as if this was a bad thing. I totally agree that it is a complete work of fiction, based very, very losely on several figures of the Roman period. But the author even states, at the end, that this is meant to be a work of fiction, and it is a very good one at that. If I wanted true, historical facts, then I would pick up a non-fiction book all about Julius Ceasar. I found the book to be a light read, not full of heavy, overly complicated words. The author didn't try to show that he had swallowed a dictionary, but instead created a world that you felt a part of. I didn't spend hours trying to figure out what words meant and I didn't feel that i needed a degree in Roman history to enjoy the book. This is a very interesting book, that did actually make me want to go and read more about Roman history, and I certainly will be getting the next installment which is out in January 2004. The only bad thing I can say about the book is that it stops very suddenly, which is quite a dissapointing ending, but knowing that there is a second one on the way, you can see why. I definately reccommend this book to anyone, of all reading tastes.

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          • Product Details

            Book Series: Emperor