The Emperor Series: The Field of Swords
The Gates of Rome
The Emperor series is Conn Iggulden's set of historical novels chronicling the rise and fall (death) of Julius Caesar over a series of the four books: The Gates of Rome, The Death of Kings, The Field of Swords and The Gods of War.
The Gates of Rome introduces us to two young boys, as close as brothers as they grow up just outside of Rome. Gaius is the son of Julius, a Senator in Rome and Aurelia while Marcus is the adopted, illegitimate son of a prostitute. The Gates of Rome follows them as they grow up, with Gaius taking his father's place as a Senator after his death and Marcus entering military service in the Fourth Macedonian Legion.
Gates of Rome
The Death of Kings
The Death of Kings follows Julius Caesar as he assumes the mantle of leadership and assumes commmand of men in battle.
Having joined the Roman navy, Caesar serves as an officer on The Accipiter. Lured by pirates into an ambush, The Accipter is sunk and Caesar, along with a number of Roman Officers, are captured and held for ransom. Once the ransom is paid, Caesar and the other officers are released along the African coast.
Gathering together an untrained fighting force, Caesar assumes command of the group and leads them against the pirates, capturing their ransom, the Legion funds, as well as the remainder of the treasures on the pirate ship. On their return trip to Rome, they discover a rebellion led by the greek King, Mithridites and engage in a series of guerilla actions to reduce the numerical advantage of, as well as demoralize, the Greek army.
With the defeat of Mithridites and his army, Caesar returns to Rome to find that Brutus has had the Tenth Legion, Marius's old command, re-instated and assumes command, resulting in the first rift in the relationship between Caesar and Brutus, having disastrous results for Caesar later in his life.
The Death of Kings
The Field of Swords
"The Field of Swords" covers the Roman campaign under Julius Caesar in Gaul and, subsequently, Britain.
The Field of Swords
Continuing the four part historical novel of the Life of Julius Caesar, The Field of Swords (Book 3) picks up where The Death of Kings left off.
Julius Caesar has assumed command of Marius's old legion, The Tenth, and is nearing completion of his assignment to Spain. After the death of Cornelia at the hands of assasins, he has lost the ambition and enthusiasm that characterized his early career. He is merely putting in time while fulfilling the requirements of his posting.
This mood changes with the visit of Servilia, who comes to Spain to set up a brothel and to visit her son, Brutus. Keenly attracted to Caesar, Servilia soon arouses his passions and ambitions, resulting in Caesar leaving his spanish posting early and returning to Rome, along with his legion, to campaign as Consul for Rome.
As with many poliitcal campaigns throughout history, Caesar's is filled with intrigue as other Senators conspire against his victory. Eventually, Caesar wins a position as Consul, however, it must be jointly shared with Bibilus. Shortly after the elections, Caesar uncovers damniing information regarding Bibllus, thus removing him as a poilitical force.
In addition, Caesar negotiates a deal between Pompey, Crassus and himself so as to ensure legislation he desires will be passed through the Senate in a minimal amount of time. In return for their support, he grants Pompey an effective position as Dictator after a period of six months and Crassus a five year trade license. Caesar's part of the negotiated agreement is complete freedom to undertake a campaign of conquest in Gaul.
The remainder of the book addresses the difficulties and successes of Caesar's campaign. In the meantime, the crime rate and, as a result civil unrest, in Rome has substantially increased due to the influx, and development, of factions within the Senate. In particular, two rival factions have developed, each represented by what are, essentially, gang leaders. Clodius and Milo, having a bitter rivalry in the Senate, are tearing Rome apart as they take out their anger at events within the Senate on the streets of Rome. When the fighting between the riivals factions (gangs) reaches a climax and breaks out into the streets of Rome, with accompanying destruction of both private and public buildings (with accompanying loss of life), Pompey seizes the opportunity to have the Senate declare him Dictator.
Caesar moves his campaign of conquest from Gaul to Britain only to have the Gauls rise in rebellion once the bulk of the Roman army has departed. Caesar returns to Gaul to suppress the rebellion and regain control of the lands for Gaul.
The relationship between Caesar and Brutus continues to slowly deteriorate as Caesar begins an affair with Servilia (Brutus's mother) and appoints Mark Anthony to a position of power. Many of the people instrumental in the life of Caesar, as documented historically, are introduced and woven into the fabric of the novel, characters such as Octavian, Mark Anthony, Ciro (one of his generals), Pompey, Crassus, Serevilia and many more). The historical basis of fact (allowing some latitude for author's license) is incrementally included in the story as it progresses through the series.
Book 3 concludes with Pompeys demand that Caesar return to Rome, alone. Suspecting the demand as an attempt to remove Caesar, who has become renowned and, therefore, a political threat, Caesar ponders the manner of his return with his trusted advisors.
The Field of Swords
The Gods of War
The Gods of War concludes the four part series of the life and death of Caesar. Caesar pursues Pompey's army to Greece and, although badly outnumbered, wins victory, united the Roman legions under his leadership. He forgives Brutus his treason and pursues Pompey himeslf to Egypt, where he meets Cleopatra and begins to consider himself as a king, signaling the beginning of the end. He returns triumphant to Rome and, shortly afterward, is assassinated at the hands of the Senators (as made famous by Shakespear), as well as Brutus, in the ultimate betrayal.
The Gods of War
Other books by Conn Iggulden - The Great Conqueror Series
The Great Conqueror series by Conn Iggulden follows Ghengis Khan, from his youth when he and his family is banished from the Wolf Clan through his conquest of much of China and the Middle East to his death.
The history and accomplishments of the Mongol Horde, united under Ghengis Khan, is remarkable and was preserved in their history entitled "The Secret History of the Mongols". No original copies remain, apparently, and our only record is through a phonetic Chinese copy, subsequently translated into English by Arthur Waley.
Using this as his foundation, Conn Iggulden weaves The Great Conqueror trilogy into a well written and fascinating fictional "history" of the growth and development of Temujin into Ghengis Khan who, as leader of the Mongol Horde, attacked more than 90 cities in a single year during his campaign against the Chniese.
Have you read any of the books comprising the "Emperor" series? Have you read any of Conn Iggulden's other books, all of which are worthy of reading? What did you think? Leave your opinion.