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review 2018-06-04 12:10
SPQR: A History of Ancient Rome by Mary Beard
SPQR: A History of Ancient Rome - Mary Beard

TITLE:  SPQR: A History of Ancient Rome

 

AUTHOR:  Mary Beard

 

DATE PUBLISEHD:  2016

 

FORMAT:  Paperback

 

ISBN-13:  9781631492228

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Mary Beard has writen an accessible history of the rise of Rome, it's people and it's senate.  The book deals with events that are dated to 753BC, and ends in 212 BCE with Caracalla's decree extending citizenship to all free men living within the Empire.  The book deals with those in power as well as the little people, how Rome expanded its power and maintained it.  Beard deals with archaeological and well as written sources for her information.  While the book was informative, the subject matter tended to be a bit superficial and the writing style too chatty.  This might make a good introductory text if the reader is not interested in biographies of important Roman citizens.

 

 

OTHER BOOKS

 

The Poison King: The Life and Legend of Mithradates, Rome's Deadliest Enemy
by Adrienne Mayor

 

 Carthage Must Be Destroyed: The Rise and Fall of an Ancient Civilization
by Richard Miles

 

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review 2018-05-09 16:06
The Throne of Caesar (Roma Sub Rosa #13) - Steven Saylor
The Throne of Caesar: A Mystery of Ancient Rome - Steven Saylor

I am electing not to mark spoilers in this review. I feel the events of the novel are prominent historical events that the majority of readers should be familiar with. 

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As excited for this book as I was, I was also hesitant to read it. As I understand things, this is the final book in the Gordianus the Finder series (Roma Sub Rosa). I'm just not quite ready to give Gordianus up despite the fact that he seems to have acquired a few more years than most Romans of the age. The author has been releasing prequel novels. However, none of those novels have really been any good. 

 

If you are coming into this book expecting the traditional Gordianus mystery, you are going to potentially be disappointed. There is a mystery in this novel but it doesn't make an appearance until about the last 100-75 pages. The novel revolves around Caesar and his death. There's no mystery there. Everyone knows how Caesar dies. Everyone knows who killed Caesar. Saylor still managed to make me care and maybe even convince me that just maybe this was an alternate history. Maybe Caesar didn't really die. 

 

It is difficult to make the events of the Ides of March take a backseat. Saylor manages to put Caesar's assassination in the way back. Cinna takes a front seat in this story. Cinna's work and his death are the star of this show. If you aren't sure who Cinna (the poet) is and where he stands in Roman history, I would strongly recommend doing a little bit of background research before starting this book. I must confess I had heard the name but wasn't sure exactly who Cinna was. I had to pause my reading to do some of my own research. 

 

While the author has said there are no plans for more Gordianus novels, there was a door left open at the end of the novel for a spin off. I'm not going lie, the idea of a spin-off doesn't thrill me. The prequels were enough of a flop that I'm not sure I'm interested in anything other than Gordianus as "the Finder". 

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text 2018-05-08 15:43
Reading progress update: I've read 250 out of 400 pages.
The Throne of Caesar: A Mystery of Ancient Rome - Steven Saylor

"Aren't you going to bed?"

"I need to find out how Caesar dies."

"What? You know how Caesar dies. You have a t-shirt all about how Caesar dies. You just wore it. You even stabbed Caesar yourself when you played Assassin's Creed."

"I need to see how Caesar dies from Gordianus' point of view. It's different."

"How many different ways can a man be stabbed?"

 

 

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review 2018-04-08 17:27
Excellent storytelling!
The Keeper's Crown - Nathan D. Maki

The story of the biblical, Paul of Tarsus, particularly his final years as a prisoner of Rome waiting to be seen by Nero and the fictional account of the soldier who guarded him, in this case a Roman called Quintus whose family has fallen from favor due to a childhood incident involving a younger Nero and Quintus.

 

 

I totally loved this book! It was very well written and engaging. The author certainly did his homework. It's funny too, because I just watched the movie, "Paul, the Apostle of Christ", so it was easy to picture what was going on.

 


Wonderful story of redemption, courage, and faith in a time when being a Christian was a death sentence. Highly recommended! Keeping this author in my "must read" list.

 

5 stars and a favorite

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text 2017-12-30 00:43
My Top 10 Reads of 2017!
Theophilus: A Tale of Ancient Rome - Lewis Ben Smith
Feast of Sorrow: A Novel of Ancient Rome - Crystal King
Regarding Tiberius: An Epic Tragedy of Mass Murder, Sworn Vengeance, Forbidden Love, Greek Ambition, Persian Honor, & Roman Might in the Ancient Near East - Helena Mithridates Kleopatra,Bartholomew Boge,Raelenne Boge,Rosani Akhtar-Moore
Infinite - Jeremy Robinson
Bread of Angels - Tessa Afshar
Eternal Darkness - Tom Deady,Pete Kahle,Richard Chizmar
The Last Child - John Hart
Counted With the Stars (Out From Egypt) - Connilyn Cossette
Puzzle Master - J.T. McKenna
Mysterious Kemet - Book I: Intrigue and Drama in Ancient Egypt - S.R. Anand

These are my top 10 reads of the year and as always, most of them are historical fiction, but I loved them all and would recommend them to anyone!

 

Theophilus by Lewis Ben Smith is the person to whom the Gospel of Luke and The Book of Acts is addressed to in the Bible and not much is known about him. The author, however, did a magnificent job in taking this character and building this story around him that coincides with the biblical narrative.

 

A Feast of Sorrow by Crystal King: This book mainly centers on the life of Marcus Gavius Apicius whose recipes were written down, but according to the author's notes, no cookbook survived but some of his recipes did survive in the writings of other historical figures. Apicius was a very wealthy Roman citizen whose passion for cooking and good food sees him spend a great deal of money to buy a slave named Thrasius to be his cook. His dream is to be the gastronomic advisor to Caesar himself. 

 

Regarding Tiberius by Helena Mithrtdates Kleopatra is the novelization of a series of ancient scrolls recently discovered in the ruins of famed Roman commander Scipio Africanus' seaside villa (near Naples, Italy). Written in the First Century by a young woman of Persian and Ethiopian ancestry, Helena Mithridates Kleopatra, they comprise an account of how her life and destiny were forever altered by her chance meeting with Tiberius, the son of a prominent Roman senator.

 

Infinte by Jeremy Robinson- Earth is no longer habitable and a crew of 50 scientists and engineers aboard a spacecraft head to a new planet that will hopefully be hospitable. After ten years in a failed cryogenic bed--body asleep, mind awake--William Chanokh's torture comes to an end as the fog clears, the hatch opens, and his friend and fellow hacker, Tom, greets him...by stabbing a screwdriver into his heart.

This is one of my favorite authors, and this book was awesome!

 

Bread of Angels by Tessa Afshar- quickly becoming a favorite author. This one takes the character of Lydia from the Book of Acts in the Bible and tells her story while staying true to the biblical account.

 

Eternal Darkness by Tom Deady- I just discovered this author this year when I read his book, Haven. I enjoyed it so much that I got this one, which is a coming of age story about vampires, and enjoyed it even more. He will also be writing a sequel to it. Lots of fun.

 

The Last Child by Jon Hart- I loved this coming of age, mystery!
Don't get me wrong though...this book is dark, but the characterization is excellent, especially of the main character, Johnny. This kid carries a heavy burden, with his twin sister having disappeared a year before, his father leaving, and his mother- who is a ghost of her former self. A sequel is supposed to be out next year, and I am looking forward to it!

 

Counted with the Stars by Connilyn Cossette - Set during the time of the Great Exodus of the Hebrews from Egypt and follows a slave girl, Kiya, who escapes the bonds of slavery and joins the Hebrews as they flee.

The whole 3 book series was excellent!

 

Puzzle Master by T.J. McKenna: It' s the year 2022 and all religion has been banned and every sort of vice is condoned. Enter a history professor, Cephas, who not only loves puzzles, but is known as the Cult Hunter...famous for breaking the codes that leads the government to track down "hidden Christians". Now in order to stop them once and for all, Cephas is given the chance to go back in time to prove, once and for all, that Jesus was not the Messiah and did not come back from the dead.

 

Mysterious Kemet by S.R. Anand- is a collection of 5 novelettes set during the times of Imhotep, Nefertiti, Hatshepsut, Intef the Third, and Ankhtifi. Tempered in the fire of greed, revenge, lust, and ambition, this collection tells the following five riveting tales from Ancient Egypt.

I think this is the first time I had a collection as one of my top 10, but I really enjoyed this one!

 

My honorable mention is one that I have read before, and re-read this year, but I can't say enough about this series. The Voice in the Wind series by Francine Rivers will always be in the top 10 books of all time for me. I always come away a changed person from reading it. It is Christian fiction and many people would find it "preachy", but it comes with my highest recommendation!

 

  

 

So that's it! Hope everyone has a fantastic New Year full of new discoveries in books and authors!

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