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Monday, June 4, 2012

The Gods of War: Book IV of the Emperor Series (audiobook) by Conn Iggulden



Published April of 2012 by AudioGo.
Narrated by Paul Blake
Duration: 15 hours, 23 minutes

I did not read or listen to the other three installments of Conn Iggulden's Emperor Series, but I was already familiar with the last few years of Julius Caesar's life so it was not difficult to join in here at the end.

This book starts with Caesar's decision to cross the Rubicon River with his army when he was ordered home from Gaul. This actions begins a civil war, with Caesar leading one faction and Pompey leading the other. From there we get the other highlights - Caesar's triumphal entry into Rome, the defeat of Pompey's army in Greece, the pursuit of Pompey into Egypt, the romance of Caesar and Cleopatra, the return to Rome and Caesar's murder by the Senate.
Gaius Julius Caesar (100-44 B.C.)

It's all standard issue history textbook stuff but Iggulden makes it a story that demands to be listened to. To be sure, he has fiddled with the historical record a bit but his revisions flow very smoothly with the betrayal of the Republic by Pompey and Caesar, Caesar's mastery of the symbolic gestures, the intrigues in the Egyptian court and, most of all, Brutus. Brutus steals the show as the man who betrayed Caesar twice. His brooding, angry nature, his pride and his ego burn in the background of every scene and eventually destroy Caesar.

Iggulden notes at the end of the book that he is considering extending the series to tell the story of the aftermath of Caesar's assassination. I hope he does.

The book was read by Paul Blake. To say that Blake read the book or even narrated it is to understate it. He performed it. You can hear the dangers of night attacks, intrigue and the open battlefield in his voice. He also made Brutus seethe, Cleopatra scheme and made the listener hear the physical weakness that made Pompey such a poor general at the end. Top notch!

I rate this novel 5 stars out of 5.

Reviewed on June 3, 2012.

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