First Man in Rome, Paperback Book
5 out of 5 (2 ratings)


The first book in the epic Masters of Rome series. Rome. 110BC. A city which is home to Gaius Marius, prosperous but lowborn, a proud and disciplined soldier emboldened by his shrewdness and self-made wealth.

It is also home to Lucius Cornelius Sulla, a handsome young aristocrat corrupted by powerty, a shameless pleasure seeker. Two men of extraordinary vision, men of ruthless ambition, both blessed and cursed by the special favour of Fortune. men fated to lay the foundations of the most awesome empire ever known, and to play out a mighty struggle for power and glory - for Marius and Sulla share a formidable ambition: to become First Man in Rome.


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Plot: Historical novel, so it obviously follows the outline from the Jugurthan war to the end of Marius' sixth consulship. The main plot centers on Marius and Sulla, with plenty of side plots that tie well together.Characters: Excellently drawn, with enough attention even on the minor characters to make their behaviour logical. It's a large cast, and Roman naming conventions don't help much, but it is not difficult to keep them all apart. Style: Dense, even though description is relatively sparse. A lot of background information is given out, usually in epistles that can grow a bit tiring. Plus: Historical accuracy. No blunders there, what is made up or assumed is plausible. Minus: Too many maps and pictures scattered throughout the books. Map of the Roman empire, yes, map of Aurelia's house, no. Summary: A great read, but some background knowledge of the time, original Roman terminology, and locations is certainly helpful. Resorting to the appendix covers those needs, but it interrupts the reading flow.

Review by

I love history, particularly ancient history.<br/><br/>The First Man in Rome is the first book in a fictional series that chronicles the devolution of Rome from republic to empire. It begins with Gaius Marius and the start of his relationship with the Caesar family. <br/><br/>While I found some of the military campaigning to be a bit of a drag (for others there might not be enough of it), I found it very readable and full of well researched details of period life to make me happy. <br/><br/>I wish that the series had begun with Gaius and Tiberius Gracchus (and maybe she'll go back and do that someday). It was a time filled with political turmoil all of which was significant in making Rome what it became. <br/><br/>

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