Emperor: The Field of Swords by Conn Iggulden

The third book in the Emperor Series by Conn Iggulden, The Field of Swords, continues the excellence of the first two books (The Gates of Rome and The Death of Kings). The books are based on the life and times of Julius Caesar. Iggulden’s style is strong and engaging.

Here is a brief summary of the book from Publisher’s Weekly:

…After four prosperous years with the Tenth Legion in Spain, Julius has discovered gold and decides to return to Rome with his loyal general, Brutus. There, rich with Spanish loot, Julius enters into an alliance with Pompey, a popular and autocratic military leader, and his older, wealthy co-consul, Crassus. Sponsored by this pair of influential and unscrupulous politicians, Julius is elected consul and assumes charge of an expedition to Gaul with full powers to take spoils and rule his conquests in the name of Rome. His eventual victory over Vercingetorix is only postponed by a daring side campaign in Britain. The novel ends as Julius receives word that Pompey plans to have him slain, and Julius, Brutus and Mark Antony prepare to march on Rome, leaving avid readers athirst to read the final volume. …

Iggulden does an excellent job giving the reader a feel for what it was like to live in the Roman Empire at the time of Julius Caesar. He captures the political intrigue and sheer uncertainty of the times as various political groups vie for power. For example, the constant shifting political alliances between Caesar, Pompey, and Crassus before they make their informal triumvirate.

I think Iggulden portrays the twists and turns in Caesar’s relationships with his friend Brutus. At times, Brutus is willing to die protecting Caesar and at other times they clash swords trying to kill each other. It provides an interesting interpretation of the downward spiral in their relationship that eventually led to Brutus’s betrayal of Caesar.

If you want a great story about the life of Caesar, read this book.

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