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Caesar's Women (Masters of Rome Series)


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Caesar's Women (Masters of Rome Series)

30 review for Caesar's Women

  1. 5 out of 5

    LeAnn

    In Caesar's Women, McCullough finally hits her storytelling stride. Caesar really comes to life, and what a life that is. McCullough is a sympathetic biographer who persuasively fills in the historical outline for Caesar's political career in the fourth novel in her Masters of Rome series, covering roughly ten years. The novel reflects the important women in his life, his mother Aurelia, his daughter Julia, and his mistress Servilia, with minor roles played by his last two wives Pomponia and Cal In Caesar's Women, McCullough finally hits her storytelling stride. Caesar really comes to life, and what a life that is. McCullough is a sympathetic biographer who persuasively fills in the historical outline for Caesar's political career in the fourth novel in her Masters of Rome series, covering roughly ten years. The novel reflects the important women in his life, his mother Aurelia, his daughter Julia, and his mistress Servilia, with minor roles played by his last two wives Pomponia and Calpurnia. The title also alludes to Caesar's prolific female conquests, which McCullough imagines came about due to a marriage between Caesar's strong sexual appeal to women of all classes and his political need to take his rivals down a notch (as well as to prove that he wasn't gay, which was whispered by his envious rivals to a homophobic Roman society). McCullough admits in her author's note that this novel has the richest historical source material, thereby being much covered by modern writers but also allowing her to detail the patrician Roman woman's life better. It's rather telling that McCullough has convinced this modern woman, who disdains powerful philanderers and suspects sexual psychopathy in individuals who hurt others through repeated casual use, that Caesar not only cared for the women in his life, but that they fully accepted who and what he was. Roman wives of the pre-Christian era expected their husbands to be incontinent; sex was a male bodily hunger that had little to do with marriage. Moreover, marriage was a legal relationship that didn't require fidelity on the man's part. Besides showing Caesar's domestic relationships, which underpin his political life, McCullough weaves a story of his increasingly hostile interactions with the boni, a group of ultra-conservative Senators who oppose anything Caesar does out of personal animosity. Caesar intends to be the First Man in Rome, to enlarge his personal dignitas until it is synonymous with Rome's, but he wants to make Rome greater in doing so. The boni, however, are quite determined to prevent any man from being greater than his peers. They simultaneously acknowledge Caesar's greater ability while insisting that he can't be greater than they are. They fear that he will make himself a king. For modern political junkies, reading the ever-increasing dysfunction of the Roman Republic's last days is quite eye-opening. Roman government grinds to a standstill as powerful Senators maneuver to block one another, or bribe electors and jurists, or interpret law to suit their exigencies, or manipulate legal calendars to take advantage of magistrates' short terms in office. Caesar, while a catalyst for some of the filibustering and gridlock, is also capable of cutting the Gordian knot and ruling with a firm, brilliant hand. Although it takes years, decades even, to bring Caesar to his breaking point, McCullough painstakingly lays the groundwork for his famous ride over the Rubicon and his eventual assassination by his implacable, envious enemies.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Gumble's Yard

    Fourth in the “Masters of Rome” series, this book has two main themes: The first is the rise of Caesar, which McCullough portrays (as the title advertises) from the point of view of the women in his life: particularly his influential and independent mother Aurelia (the one person Sulla regarded as an equal); his torrid affair with the ruthless Servilla (half-sister of Cato and mother of Brutus); his devotion to his daughter Julia, initially betrothed to Brutus but then married to Pompey in a love Fourth in the “Masters of Rome” series, this book has two main themes: The first is the rise of Caesar, which McCullough portrays (as the title advertises) from the point of view of the women in his life: particularly his influential and independent mother Aurelia (the one person Sulla regarded as an equal); his torrid affair with the ruthless Servilla (half-sister of Cato and mother of Brutus); his devotion to his daughter Julia, initially betrothed to Brutus but then married to Pompey in a love and political match, as well as the Vestal Virgins for whom he takes responsibility after being elected Pontifex Maximus. Interestingly Caesar’s two wives during this period are barely mentioned except in terms of the divorce of the first (following Clodius’s gatecrashing of a female religious ceremony at Caesar’s house meaning she was no longer “above suspicion”) and the marriage of the second (purely for expedient political purposes on behalf of the Triumvirate). We also get an excellent perspective on his money issues and his desperate attempts to continually stave off his creditors (and possible Senate disqualification), which he achieves by his religious appointment, his Praetorship in Spain and then at the end of the story by attempting to secure Gaul as a pro-consular Province. The second is the growing battle between the conservative faction in the Senate – personified by the traditionalist, sanctimonious Cato – who aim to maintain the republican status quo, and the three “tall poppies” Pompey (hugely rich, possessed of an enormous army but unable to gain the acceptance and approval of the Roman Patricians), Crassus (the business man and ex-soldier) and Caesar (with Sulla’s drive, Marius’s popularity and with an unimpeachable pedigree – who Cato in particular sees only lacks an army to be an even greater danger than Sulla). There are two key consular years: that of Cicero when faced with what he sees as a huge conspiracy involving Cataline (and later portrays as one of the greatest ever threats to the history of Rome) invokes emergency powers and orders the immediate execution without trial of a number of the key conspirators; that of Caesar which he runs more as a legislating, populist Tribune of the Plebs than a traditional patrician, despite the attempts of the conservative faction to stop him (including the attempts of his fellow Consul and enemy since he first served in the army Bibulus to declare the whole consul year invalid due to inauspicious omens) with the balance being shifted by the agreement reached before the year-end and broked by Caesar for he, Pompey and Crassus to form an expedient Triumvirate. The author’s clear bias towards the Great Men rather than the conservative faction comes out more clearly in this book of the series – with the implicit and sometimes explicit assumption that their conservatism is due to their being weaker than the Great Men. Another excellent book in this series.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Paula Hebert

    I really wish they could have found a better title for this book, it smacks of soft porn and ripped bodices, but that being said, mcculllough is at her usual suberb best, bringing ancient history to life and giving you a feeling of having been there with them. granted. caesar was surrounded by women. his incredible strong mother aurelia, three wives, one died in childbirth leaving him a daughter, one whom he divorced, and then his last. he also was a notorious womanizer, who took great pleasure I really wish they could have found a better title for this book, it smacks of soft porn and ripped bodices, but that being said, mcculllough is at her usual suberb best, bringing ancient history to life and giving you a feeling of having been there with them. granted. caesar was surrounded by women. his incredible strong mother aurelia, three wives, one died in childbirth leaving him a daughter, one whom he divorced, and then his last. he also was a notorious womanizer, who took great pleasure in cockolding his political enemies, and had a particularly nasty mistress. that being said, they had no impact on his life unless they happened to work to his political advantage in some way. he preferred the warfields to rome, and was happiest when he was adding to romes empire or setting sensible systems in place so that empire would run more efficiently. we also learn more about both cicero and cato's lives, which is really interesting, and brought to life with colorful prose. caesar spent his time in rome doing what he had to do to go through the steps necessary to advance in the senate, so that he could then go back into the field. this book leaves us at the end of his consulship, when he is about to leave for the governorship of nearer gaul, that is northern italy, to hopefully make his next fortune. great and accurate historical fiction.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Emily

    The title may make this book sound like a romance novel of the Roman Empire, but it's well beyond any such thing (though does include a few rather well scripted sex scenes involving good ol' Caesar). Written with a savant-like skill for detail and period-appropriate descriptions and backed up with impeccable research, "Caesar's Women" is the story fo the rise of Julius Caesar and the women who are a part of his life as his star brightens. Although the book sometimes lacked readability due to its The title may make this book sound like a romance novel of the Roman Empire, but it's well beyond any such thing (though does include a few rather well scripted sex scenes involving good ol' Caesar). Written with a savant-like skill for detail and period-appropriate descriptions and backed up with impeccable research, "Caesar's Women" is the story fo the rise of Julius Caesar and the women who are a part of his life as his star brightens. Although the book sometimes lacked readability due to its dense recounts of Senate verdicts or the sparring of the various Catoes and Luciuses, overall it transported me to a place that fascinates me and gave me a thorough and believable image of a man who does the same. McCullough could do with some more flower in her writing- more adjectives and less antiquated terms- but I'd take her books over pretty, fluffy ones any day.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Deborah Pickstone

    Can you call this series a modern classic? Well, I just did, so there it is. After abandoning it as awful at the time of publication, I remain spellbound at this 4th book of the eventual 7. The style is odd and sometimes clunky - but I don't care! I never thought I could be so hooked on the story of Rome, which was never a favourite historical period of mine. I am also consistently awed by the breadth of CM's mind and obvious brainpower as she hooks it all together. An astonishing achievement. I Can you call this series a modern classic? Well, I just did, so there it is. After abandoning it as awful at the time of publication, I remain spellbound at this 4th book of the eventual 7. The style is odd and sometimes clunky - but I don't care! I never thought I could be so hooked on the story of Rome, which was never a favourite historical period of mine. I am also consistently awed by the breadth of CM's mind and obvious brainpower as she hooks it all together. An astonishing achievement. I keep going off to check facts and dates and haven't caught her in any major dilemma yet.....

  6. 4 out of 5

    GeekChick

    I could barely stomach what little I read of this book. I was very excited, because I found this one right as I was discovering historical fiction for the first time. I was sorely let down. Repeated references to various women as "juicy" was so low-brow, I felt like I was reading a trashy romance novel. I kept the book around, thinking I might pick it back up, but after several years I just got rid of it. Why waste time when there are so many quality tomes out there?

  7. 5 out of 5

    Tudor Ciocarlie

    So much more interesting than the latest European and American elections. You see very clearly in this novel how our justice and political institutions, made by white men for white men in the 18th and 19th centuries, were based on the Greek and Roman justice and political systems, also made by white men for white men.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Ahmad Sharabiani

    Caesar's Women (Masters of Rome #4), Colleen McCullough

  9. 5 out of 5

    Vicki Cline

    My favorite of the Masters of Rome series. I really like the portrayal of domestic life and the politics in Rome. Caesar is portrayed as nearly perfect, and although I admire him a lot, it's a bit hard to believe he was this flawless. The various women of the title are quite interesting. We've met his mother Aurelia in the previous books in the series and get to know her a little better. She appears to be the one person he confides in, not really having any male friends of his own class. We also My favorite of the Masters of Rome series. I really like the portrayal of domestic life and the politics in Rome. Caesar is portrayed as nearly perfect, and although I admire him a lot, it's a bit hard to believe he was this flawless. The various women of the title are quite interesting. We've met his mother Aurelia in the previous books in the series and get to know her a little better. She appears to be the one person he confides in, not really having any male friends of his own class. We also get to watch his daughter Julia grow up and become politically useful to him. Once he's elected Pontifex Maximus, he has the six Vestal Virgins to watch over, and does a really good job of it. Finally, there's his mistress Servilia, Cato the Younger's half-sister, whom he doesn't really love, but can't seem to give up. The book ends with his leaving Rome for his extended campaigns in Gaul.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Inese Okonova

    Pēc maniem novērojumiem, vēsturiskie romāni dalās divās daļās: tādi, kuri literatūras labā pielāgo vēsturiskos faktus stāstam vai vispār diezgan brīvi aizpilda baltos plankumus, un tādi, kas literatūru pakārto vēstures izklāstam. Šī romānu sērija viennozīmīgi upurē literatūru uz vēstures altāra :). Autore paveikusi titānisku darbu, sarakstot septiņus pamatīgi biezus romānus, kas aptver ļoti ierobežotu laikaposmu no 2. gs. p.m.ē. pašām beigām līdz 1. gs. p.m.ē. pēdējai trešdaļai. Vēstījums sadalī Pēc maniem novērojumiem, vēsturiskie romāni dalās divās daļās: tādi, kuri literatūras labā pielāgo vēsturiskos faktus stāstam vai vispār diezgan brīvi aizpilda baltos plankumus, un tādi, kas literatūru pakārto vēstures izklāstam. Šī romānu sērija viennozīmīgi upurē literatūru uz vēstures altāra :). Autore paveikusi titānisku darbu, sarakstot septiņus pamatīgi biezus romānus, kas aptver ļoti ierobežotu laikaposmu no 2. gs. p.m.ē. pašām beigām līdz 1. gs. p.m.ē. pēdējai trešdaļai. Vēstījums sadalīts romānos, un katrs it kā jau koncentrējas uz vienu galveno varoni ("Pirmais vīrs Romā" - Gajs Marijs; "Zāles vainags" - Sulla; "Fortūnas izredzētie" Cēzars un/vai Cicerons, "Cēzara sievietes" -atkal jau Cēzars), bet patiesībā visi (dzīvie) varoņi ir klātesoši visos romānos, un vēstījums hronoloģiski izseko galvenajiem notikumiem Romas dzīvē republikas norieta laikā. Viena sižeta līnija stāsta par Romas kariem. Pirmajās grāmatās tie ir kari pret ģermāņiem, Sabiedroto karš pret itāļu ciltīm, kas vēlas kļūt par pilntiesīgiem Romas pilsoņiem, ieskicēta karadarbība Āfrikā (ar numīdiešiem) un austrumos (ar Pontas ķēniņu Mitridatu un viņa znotu - Armēnijas ķēniņu Tigranu). Tāpat aprakstīta Spartaka augšupeja un bojāeja. Šajā sakarā autore arī izvirza hipotēzi par Spartaka izcelsmi, kas gan ir spekulācija, bet godprātīgi pamatota pēcvārdā. "Cēzara sievietēs" jau nedaudz atspoguļoti Cēzara iekarojumi Gallijā un britu salās. Otra pastāvīga sižeta līnija ļoti kolorīti attēlo politiskās cīņas senātā un tautas sapulcē. Jāatzīst, ka šīs nodaļas man šķiet vissaistošākās. Te tiešām pārskatāmi var iepazīties ar Romas politisko pārvaldi un skaļākajām lietām, intrigām, apvērsumu mēģinājumiem, tiesas prāvām, atentātiem utt. Top skaidrs, kas īsti ir pretors, konsuls, edils, prokonsuls, cenzors, tautas tribūns ko viņi katrs dara, kā tiek pārvaldītas provinces - un kā darbojas visa šī antīkās pasaules check and balance sistēma. Trešā sižeta līnija ir sadzīviskā. Te mēs uzzinām gan par mājas sadzīvi, sieviešu ikdienu, laulībām, saimniecību, reliģiju utt. Katras grāmatas beigās ir iespaidīgs un ļoti noderīgs glosārijs, kas tiešām palīdz lasīšanā. "Cēzara sievietes" diemžēl šobrīd ir pēdējā latviski tulkotā grāmata. Atlikušās trīs lasīšu angliski. Piecas zvaigznes nevaru likt, jo, kā jau rakstīju, literārās kvalitātes, ir mazliet apdalītas. Bet mazāk par četrām zvaigznēm šādam darbam arī grūti ielikt. Mazliet vēl pažēlošos par tulkojumu. "Cēzara sievietes" ir tulkojusi cita tulkotāja - Andžela Šuvajeva. Un es nemaz nešaubos, ka viņai ir argumenti par labu viņas izvēlei dažu personvārdu tulkojumam. Bet man kā lasītājai tiešām traucē, ka pirmajos trīs romānos ir Pompejs, bet ceturtajā - Pompējs. Un tā tālāk. Ja nu tā patiešām ir tik principiāla lieta, tad vismaz prasītos priekšvārds ar skaidrojumu, kāpēc tā. Bet tas nu tā - blusas. Pamatā gribēju teikt, ka ir vērts lasīt. :)

  11. 4 out of 5

    Tocotin

    It's my first book by this author. I only knew the "Masters of Rome" series was pretty famous, so I was excited to find this one for only 150¥. I can't say it was such a great read, though. The author had done her research, all the political and religious machinations and liaisons are explained at length, there are maps, plans, even portraits (a lol factor, definitely), there is a lot of detail (actually info overload), but... The characters (especially women) had a very modern feel to me, and a It's my first book by this author. I only knew the "Masters of Rome" series was pretty famous, so I was excited to find this one for only 150¥. I can't say it was such a great read, though. The author had done her research, all the political and religious machinations and liaisons are explained at length, there are maps, plans, even portraits (a lol factor, definitely), there is a lot of detail (actually info overload), but... The characters (especially women) had a very modern feel to me, and all the motivations and inner thoughts were always so clearly described as to leave absolutely no space for any mystery or doubt. It was as if I were watching one of these ridiculous movies which are set in ancient times, but in which all the columns and floors are dazzlingly white, and there is plenty of light everywhere. No suspense, no feeling that these people were living and thinking in a different way. Also, no real character development (maybe except Clodius), and good guys (Caesar & his friends & family) always good and successful, others always bad. Hmm. But the intrigues got and held my attention, so I read to the end, hence 2 stars. The best part was about the Bona Dea scandal, I loved it, so one more star. But I don't think I'd like to read more of this particular author. She has a very simple and at the same time heavy style, and loves info dumps. And everything is about all those rich and influential people, which is boring to me. So I don't know. Maybe if I find another book from this series really cheap?

  12. 5 out of 5

    Daphne

    Caesar's Women is not, as the cover and title might suggest, a romance novel disguised as historical fiction, but an accurate and meticulously researched portrayal of Ancient Rome. Filled with plenty of political upheaval, such as the witnessing of Caesar emasculating his enemies, the Optimates and Cicero being reduced to a whimpering fool. This novelization of history is more factual than most, as it presents historical events in its entirety. Caesar and his political strategies are brutal and Caesar's Women is not, as the cover and title might suggest, a romance novel disguised as historical fiction, but an accurate and meticulously researched portrayal of Ancient Rome. Filled with plenty of political upheaval, such as the witnessing of Caesar emasculating his enemies, the Optimates and Cicero being reduced to a whimpering fool. This novelization of history is more factual than most, as it presents historical events in its entirety. Caesar and his political strategies are brutal and heartless, but that is so often the truth when it comes to all-powerful men. The novel also presents voice to the women behind Caesar. Feminists might find the role women play in the novel misogynistic, as they are often thrust around as political weapons rather than human beings. Again, women being treated as mere objects was often the sad reality of being a woman in Ancient Rome. Women were divorced and re-married for the sake of familial alliances and advancing the family name. I thoroughly enjoyed the book, albeit some parts being a little long-winded and overly detailed. I suppose describing every minute event and political battle that took place in Ancient Rome can have its merits and its pitfalls. However, it remains an interesting piece of historical fiction that I will probably re-read in the near future.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Joanne Nock

    This book became a bit of a chore in the middle, hence why it is getting a lower rating. It's also mis-titled. Caesar's "women" actually only account for about a quarter of the book, the other three quarter's relate to the political rumblings and petty little battles. Interesting little reminders scattered about various places demonstrating just how advanced the Romans actually were. Indoor bathing, cisterns, under-floor heating all mentioned. Conversely it's also apparent that not much advancem This book became a bit of a chore in the middle, hence why it is getting a lower rating. It's also mis-titled. Caesar's "women" actually only account for about a quarter of the book, the other three quarter's relate to the political rumblings and petty little battles. Interesting little reminders scattered about various places demonstrating just how advanced the Romans actually were. Indoor bathing, cisterns, under-floor heating all mentioned. Conversely it's also apparent that not much advancement has been made particularly in council / political dealings, still over-run with petty name calling and game playing even today. With regards to the aforementioned women, interesting speculation. His mother and daughter being the main women in his life and his ongoing affair with Servillia who he craved with passion but regularly admitted that he didn't really like her very much ..... we've all been there !

  14. 4 out of 5

    Abhishek

    Whenever I complete a book from the Masters of Rome series, I never cease to wonder the talent that lay in the hands of Colleen McCullough who could turn more than 2000-year old history into such a fascinating piece of work, as if she stood there, right at the doorsteps of the Roman Forum, soaking in the politics, the gossips, the wars of Ancient Rome. Caesar’s Women brings us to a newer age of Rome, moving away from the previous three books where Gaius Marius and Cornelius Sulla took centre-sta Whenever I complete a book from the Masters of Rome series, I never cease to wonder the talent that lay in the hands of Colleen McCullough who could turn more than 2000-year old history into such a fascinating piece of work, as if she stood there, right at the doorsteps of the Roman Forum, soaking in the politics, the gossips, the wars of Ancient Rome. Caesar’s Women brings us to a newer age of Rome, moving away from the previous three books where Gaius Marius and Cornelius Sulla took centre-stage for most times. It is now Caesar, and Caesar alone who is going to bring to life the stories of Colleen McCullough. It takes a bit of time though to reach to the real Caesar, as if Colleen McCullough wanted to give a flavour of Rome without him too, for once Caesar comes in the frame, it is difficult to look anywhere else. A man driven by his desire to be the best Roman the world has seen, a savvy politician, a sharp tactician, nonetheless burdened by those that feared his growing power. The book takes us through the journey of a mature Caesar who is coming close to his year as consul, as his sharpness of mind starts to make him stand apart from the crowd. A bit of Sulla, a bit of Marius, you will find, but Caesar still has his own personality that would make you dream of having lived in Ancient Rome and walked by his side. Oh, the energy that must have seeped through him! As the title of the book suggests, many female characters do occupy a prominent position in this story. Caesar’s mother has always been a force to be reckoned with, but now we also meet his daughter Julia and the lady Servilia whose path will intersect with Caesar a lot. We get to see the roles these women played in Caesar’s life, the manner in which they influenced his decisions, and how instrumental they were in his rise. Oh, but no book on Rome is complete without the political entanglements, and Caesar’s Women continues to hold colourful and exciting stories on that front too as have the previous three books. New names emerge, old names remain, those with ties to Caesar, those who would do anything to see him fail. And we do read more on young Brutus, the lad who will play a critical role in Caesar’s history. An extraordinary book, though I would rate it slightly below the previous three that I have read. Maybe Colleen McCullough has spoilt us with the grand narratives of Gaius Marius and Cornelius Sulla, that I missed them now. It took time for me to accept Caesar as the centre of the story. As an old man who would look at the stars and dream of the world gone by, I too felt a pang in my heart when those names I had become familiar with in Colleen McCullough’s first three books now were a memory, as a new generation takes over the Roman Forum and fights its own brand of politics. Pompey the Great is no longer the kid of the Butcher, trying hard to make a name for himself and feel accepted, but a veteran and the First Man of Rome. Ahh, how times change! But now that I have soaked in Caesar's world, I am truly excited about reading the next book, for it would be another great adventure that cannot be missed...

  15. 4 out of 5

    GoldGato

    For a while in the 1990s, I was very much into the whole fictional take on ancient Rome and its most famous citizens, such as Sulla, Gaius Marius, and Julius Caesar. It was one thing to read standard biographies of them and quite another to get absorbed in some fictional lifestyles. Thus, it was Colleen McCullough I turned to with her very enjoyable 'Masters Of Rome' series. I wasn't disappointed. This is one of those summer-type books that get included in the walk to the beach. Spread that towel For a while in the 1990s, I was very much into the whole fictional take on ancient Rome and its most famous citizens, such as Sulla, Gaius Marius, and Julius Caesar. It was one thing to read standard biographies of them and quite another to get absorbed in some fictional lifestyles. Thus, it was Colleen McCullough I turned to with her very enjoyable 'Masters Of Rome' series. I wasn't disappointed. This is one of those summer-type books that get included in the walk to the beach. Spread that towel, slather on the sunscreen, put on the sunglasses, and read this book. The goods are here, just as the title states, as it's all about the women in Caesar's life, whether it be his mother or daughter or the Vestal Virgins (what?). Personally, I think one should start at the beginning of the series to get the feel for where McCullough is going with her historical figures, but this one will suffice anyway. Book Season = Summer (toga toga)

  16. 5 out of 5

    Jeff

    It's always a joy to dive into McCullough's Rome. Her meticulous detail, sharp voice for characters, and sheer volume of writing make these novels feel like an extended trip to the ancient world, although this entry is a bit weaker than the earlier ones. In the Foreward she writes that her narrative has reached the period of ancient Rome that is better documented than the ones covered in her previous works. The resulting slight shift away from fiction toward history may explain why this entry is It's always a joy to dive into McCullough's Rome. Her meticulous detail, sharp voice for characters, and sheer volume of writing make these novels feel like an extended trip to the ancient world, although this entry is a bit weaker than the earlier ones. In the Foreward she writes that her narrative has reached the period of ancient Rome that is better documented than the ones covered in her previous works. The resulting slight shift away from fiction toward history may explain why this entry is less compelling; History isn't always dramatic. Throughout the book, the same dynamic repeatedly plays out between Caesar and his political enemies the boni: the boni, out of hatred of Ceasar, attempt some political stratagem which Caesar foils through his exceptional intellect, daring, education, or some other superlative property. Even the boni themselves grow frustrated with their defeats, declaring "We'll never beat him!" The sameness of these encounters don't shed much light on the character of Caesar, who swans through the peak of his political career showing little effort, occasional anger, and no doubt. He's a cipher, even among his family or his peers Pompey and Crassus. As a fan of ancient warfare, I was disappointed by the lack of military action in the book. Pompey's war against the pirates is covered as a remote conflict and Caesar's adventurous legateship in Spain is almost completely skipped. Warfare has always been a minor element of these books but I was disappointed by its absence. In its place though, is a satisfying new element: as indicated by the title this book greatly expands the role of the women of Rome. Caesars mother, wives, and lovers join various other women as characters as large and vital as Caesar's friends and rivals, and McCullough's characterization remains masterful. In particular, the feminine and even feminist ritual of the Bona Dea captures what's so great about these books: exotic but engaging, surprising but convincing.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Swisis

    ‘It wasn’t the gold, it was the lengthening of Rome’s reach. What did they have, that small race from a little city on the Italian salt route? Why was it they who swept all before them? Not like a gigantic wave, more like a millstone grinding patiently, patiently at whatever was thrown down as grist. They never gave up, the Romans.’

  18. 4 out of 5

    Ozymandias

    Story: 8 (A reasonably clear account of Caesar’s pre-Gallic career) Characters: 8 (Well-written but not as memorable as Sulla) Accuracy: 10 (Basically perfect) I really hate the name of this novel and the next one. Caesar’s Women and Caesar? How uninspiring. I do wish she’d gone for her proposed title of Let the Dice Fly for the following one. I have no idea why this book is called Caesar’s Women. Women do factor into it, but not more regularly than in previous books. There is some truth to these t Story: 8 (A reasonably clear account of Caesar’s pre-Gallic career) Characters: 8 (Well-written but not as memorable as Sulla) Accuracy: 10 (Basically perfect) I really hate the name of this novel and the next one. Caesar’s Women and Caesar? How uninspiring. I do wish she’d gone for her proposed title of Let the Dice Fly for the following one. I have no idea why this book is called Caesar’s Women. Women do factor into it, but not more regularly than in previous books. There is some truth to these titles in that Caesar is at the forefront in a way that none of the characters in the previous books were. This is Caesar’s story now, and he’s in it to win. His rise up through the political ladder is told clearly and carefully. In many ways this book is the most important of all from a narrative purpose. The alliances formed here and the fallout from these actions will motivate everything that happens in the final books. The stage is being set for Caesar’s civil war. The book’s view of Caesar (and the rest of the First Men to one degree or another) really is that of a Nietzschean übermensch. Caesar (and the rest) is a great man full of great ability and promise. His foes are all mediocrities of one sort or another conspiring to prevent competent men from arising who might threaten their self-image as “great” men. And while this is certainly true to a degree, it ignores the destructive nature inherent to these übermenschen. Can you blame Caesar’s enemies for trying to prevent another Sulla? Another civil war with all the death and destruction that entails? And while it might be argued that this description of them is Caesar’s viewpoint (and I don’t doubt that this was how Caesar saw it) we’re never (at least so far) given any reasons for opposition to Caesar beyond personal animosity or jealousy. The book takes his side absolutely, not necessarily making him pure or anything (I think his basic personality and behavior is spot on) but making all his obstacles devoid of consequence. Maybe that will come back to bite him in future books. This is, after all, early days for him. But the two rival points of view are not really in place: that Rome needs change and this can only be done by placing a competent man in charge vs. that Rome needs to preserve her traditions and freedoms (especially aristocratic ones) against domination by a single faction. Instead it’s personal and petty, and while there was a lot of that and nobody’s motives were pure, it’s frustrating that only one side gets a genuine ideology and actual sympathy. Regarding these übermensch, it seems odd to me that their goals don’t really matter, only their ability to reach them. Sulla’s intentions for Rome were vastly different from Caesar’s, yet both are treated in a generally positive way. Because they achieved something. That matters more than how they achieve it or even what they achieved. And that bothers me, both for the historical implications and the ethical ones. Yes, nobody turns to the Romans for views on proper moral behavior. Slavery, murder, corruption, extortion... these were all acceptable elements of Roman society and are all on display here. But there is a thesis being posed here that I find very troubling. Maybe I’m overthinking it, but I don’t believe that The curious thing here is that while the book takes Caesar’s side like a firm partisan it doesn’t really make him very likeable. Perhaps that’s impossible. A youthful Caesar with actual emotions and stuff can be enjoyed. This Caesar has largely discarded such limitations as reflecting ill on his dignitas. A cold, emotionless Caesar, even one who has emotions but just bottles them up to preserve his public image, can never be personally appealing to moderns so fond of emotional reactions. Or, frankly, to those who had to deal with him not as a successful and generous superior but as an equal. Because Caesar can brook no equal. That’s why it’s a lot easier to sympathize with Pompey’s childishness or Crassus’ genuine concern or Cato’s insane rage and Cicero’s weakness. Speaking of the others, it was very nice to see Pompey actually developing into more of the competent military commander recorded by history. If there was a complaint about him from the last book it was that he was too childish and immature. But here Pompey develops an unexpected (and painful) ability to learn. It really impresses me how well McCullough is able to make these characters grow and develop without ever drawing attention to the changes or feeling unnatural or unearned. It was awe-inspiring to see decayed, decrepit, wicked Sulla appear from the East and still feel like the same person as young and overpowering Sulla. And it’s the same with mature Pompey. He’s still the overemotional man thirsting for praise who we saw as a kid, but he’s learned from his failures (something that seemed impossible) and now takes his campaigns a lot more seriously. And while he will never be a political as well as military genius, he’s sat down and worked out exactly how to go about gaining and keeping political positions too (even though it was really really boring and he hated it and it sucked and was stupid). I’ll be sad to watch his fall in the next book. But who can face Caesar and win? Crassus was the real surprise here. While we saw a bit of him in the last book (the whole Spartacus thing) we never really got to know him outside his peculation and greed. But here he comes across as a loyal friend, loving father and husband, and generally sensible man. And also very close to Caesar. I never really thought of Crassus and Caesar as good friends. Their alliance always seemed more one of convenience, as with Pompey. But it works very well here. Just from a plot perspective, Caesar needs someone who’s close to an equal with whom he can plot and exposit. And as Aurelia is sidelined (a sad but necessary consequence of growing up) and suffers from the misfortune of being a female it needs to be someone outside the family. I was never expecting to actually like Crassus, who usually comes across as one of the bogeymen of the age: a greedy, cruel plutocrat who cared for nothing but wealth and advancing his own position. His fall will likewise be sad to watch. Finally showing up is one of my personal favorite historical figures: Publius Clodius. A wonderfully mischievous man who seems to have gotten up in the morning rubbing his hands with glee at the thought of the trouble he could cause that day. An immensely enjoyable and eccentric demagogue, my only complaint is that we hardly spend enough time on him. Most of his famous acts take place between this book and the next, which is really unfortunate. And then we get the optimates and related allies: Cato, Cicero, Scipio, and Bibulus. As mentioned before, they all come off pretty badly. Cato is nearly perfect as the screeching, angry man of extreme virtue and little give, although his good traits (honesty, integrity, bravery) are generally ignored in favor of his hypocrisies. Cicero is weak, vacillating, easily swayed, and quite full of himself. This isn’t far off, although again it seems to focus more on his negative traits than his positive ones. Bibulus is angry and vengeful, though not for any real reason. He was humiliated by Caesar way back as a contubernis (tent-mate), but while that obviously means he’s not going to get along great with Caesar (not helped by their having to contest every magistracy at the same time) it doesn’t seem to really justify his loathing and scuttling of his own career to take Caesar down. What did he fear? We never really find out. Which sucks, because that was one thing that Scaurus was really clear about. When one man rises too high above the rest Rome cannot cope. And since Scaurus’ time, the constant rise of such men has radicalized the remaining partisans. While he could work with Marius when it suited his cause, these men would rather tear down the state than give in to Caesar. But you’d still think that would make them more not less able to articulate clear motives. Beyond the strictly personal. Oh, and Scipio was also present. That’s probably the most that can be said of him, both in the novel and in real life. The story here is that of Caesar’s rise. And Pompey’s personal growth of course, but mainly Caesar’s ascension through the various magistracies. As such there’s not as many dramatic events going on. Certainly there are very few wars and revolutions. This is a moment of relative peace between the chaos of Sulla’s and Caesar’s civil wars. Caesar’s early career moves (pre-proconsul of Gaul) was fairly standard even if uncommonly perfect. Most of the conflict comes from the opposition, which is fierce and unyielding. His ascension up the ladder of the cursus honorum was standard, but his ambition and behavior during his terms of office were much resented. Which leaves the novel with plenty to dramatize, even as it struggles with the fact that Caesar isn’t the main mover of events.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Manu

    The fourth in the 'Masters of Rome' series, covering 10 years from 68-58 BC, chronicling the rise of Gaius Julius Caesar, with most of the narrative set in Rome itself. Despite being part of the book's name, the first half of the book does not really focus on Caesar himself. Much of it is spent on building up the rest of the cast who would play an important role in Caesar's life during this period - from his allies like Pompey the Great and Marcus Crassus to enemies like Cato and Bibulus, and ev The fourth in the 'Masters of Rome' series, covering 10 years from 68-58 BC, chronicling the rise of Gaius Julius Caesar, with most of the narrative set in Rome itself. Despite being part of the book's name, the first half of the book does not really focus on Caesar himself. Much of it is spent on building up the rest of the cast who would play an important role in Caesar's life during this period - from his allies like Pompey the Great and Marcus Crassus to enemies like Cato and Bibulus, and even those who, in modern terminology could be called frenemies like Cicero and Clodius. However, the author remains true to the title by delving into the minds and lives of the various women who essay a key role in Caesar's life - his mother Aurelia, his lover Servilia, his daughter Julia and even the non-influencer - his wife Pompeia, whom he later divorces - though to a minimal extent. Cicero, in this book, is shown in poor light, and the author does say in her notes that his peers didn't think too much of him, as per the documentation available from that era. The other important character who makes an extended appearance is Brutus, originally betrothed to Caesar's daughter Julia. It then follows Caesar's political career covering his curule aedileship, his election as Pontifex Maximus, governorship of Further Spain and his first consulship. The book also highlights possibly the only chink in Caesar's otherwise impenetrable armour - an indifference towards money - though he manages to learn his lessons in that respect towards the end of the book. The book not only chronicles how Caesar uses various tools, even marriage (his own as well as his daughter's), to out-manoeuver his enemies and further his rise to prominence, but also manages to give a good idea of how Roman society functioned, in terms of culture, belief systems and hierarchy. It minimally shows Caesar's military genius but quite elaborately showcases his political and legal brilliance, aided in no small measure by his mother Aurelia, and which culminates in the formation of the triumvirate with Marcus Licinius Crassus and Gnaeus Pompeius Magnus. The book sets quite a lively pace though it does require concentration to follow the various alliances that are made and broken at regular intervals. As in the previous books, and probably more so because of the new characters, the large secondary cast is not easy to follow. The final pages of the book point to a change in Caesar after his year as consul and sets the stage for the next book.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Gail

    This is my second favorite so far in the Masters of Rome series. Second to the very first book, "Masters of Rome". Caesar establishes himself as a force to be reckoned with. His uncanny powers of manipulation are used for the advancement of his politics, therfore increasing his dignitas (his ultimate goal). After the death of the only women he truely loved, women become merely tools to be used to his advantage. He uses them for the destruction of other men, for their insights and to make sure he This is my second favorite so far in the Masters of Rome series. Second to the very first book, "Masters of Rome". Caesar establishes himself as a force to be reckoned with. His uncanny powers of manipulation are used for the advancement of his politics, therfore increasing his dignitas (his ultimate goal). After the death of the only women he truely loved, women become merely tools to be used to his advantage. He uses them for the destruction of other men, for their insights and to make sure he is spoken of in a positive way by most people. Apparently, many love conquests by a married man was approved of in Roman times. No wonder, since men were in charge of everything. I enjoy learning about Roman history the way Colleen McCullough tells it. It would have been much easier to learn history in school if it were taught in this manner.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Kurt

    I picked this monstrously thick novel up at my used book store. I am a sucker for history, and this seemed like a unique perspective. It follows the sordid and frequently raucous adventures of historically significant Gaius Julius Caesar. We meet his mother; his not infrequent lovers and mistresses; his wife; and we learn of the incredibly intense politicking that makes a lot of what happens in our politically-divided contemporary society much more understandable, and, sadly, lamentable. This is I picked this monstrously thick novel up at my used book store. I am a sucker for history, and this seemed like a unique perspective. It follows the sordid and frequently raucous adventures of historically significant Gaius Julius Caesar. We meet his mother; his not infrequent lovers and mistresses; his wife; and we learn of the incredibly intense politicking that makes a lot of what happens in our politically-divided contemporary society much more understandable, and, sadly, lamentable. This is a story of blind, driven, and historically-documented ambition. Caesar is a man with one goal in mind, complete power, and his every action is driven toward that end. In-between come the sorted affairs that make the book a pleasure to read, at least for me. Based on many historical truths, I found the book intriguing, albeit a little long in the tooth.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Sumi

    It's a coin toss as to which is my favorite in the Masters of Rome series, Caesar's Women or The First Man in Rome. The women referred to in the title are not just Caesar's wives or lovers. It also refers to his mother, who was one of the most important influences in his life, his daughter, Julia, and even the Vestal Virgins that were in his care as Pontifex Maximus. It's a great look into the lives of the upper class women and a thoroughly interesting read. Unlike the major male players, less is It's a coin toss as to which is my favorite in the Masters of Rome series, Caesar's Women or The First Man in Rome. The women referred to in the title are not just Caesar's wives or lovers. It also refers to his mother, who was one of the most important influences in his life, his daughter, Julia, and even the Vestal Virgins that were in his care as Pontifex Maximus. It's a great look into the lives of the upper class women and a thoroughly interesting read. Unlike the major male players, less is known about the women so McCullough can have a lot more license regarding their personalities. I love this series more for its portrait of everyday life more than the interesting story of how Rome began to move away from its republican beginnings.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Ginny_1807

    Sullo sfondo di una Roma repubblicana affrescata con dovizia di particolari e rigore documentario dalla scrittrice, si staglia in tutto il suo fascino la figura del giovane Cesare agli inizi della carriera politica. Il suo carisma, unito all'ambizione e alla mancanza di scrupoli, ne fanno il centro dell'esistenza delle figure femminili che lo circondano e gli spianano la via verso una inarrestabile ascesa nella vita pubblica. Senza dubbio una lettura interessante per chi ama i romanzi ad ambient Sullo sfondo di una Roma repubblicana affrescata con dovizia di particolari e rigore documentario dalla scrittrice, si staglia in tutto il suo fascino la figura del giovane Cesare agli inizi della carriera politica. Il suo carisma, unito all'ambizione e alla mancanza di scrupoli, ne fanno il centro dell'esistenza delle figure femminili che lo circondano e gli spianano la via verso una inarrestabile ascesa nella vita pubblica. Senza dubbio una lettura interessante per chi ama i romanzi ad ambientazione storica, ma a mio avviso la ridondanza di informazioni su personaggi ed eventi dell'epoca rallenta lo scorrere della vicenda principale e intiepidisce l'attenzione del lettore.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Solaris

    Not the kindest of people to read on....the powerful men of ancient Rome and a historically conscientious take on their personal lives. But a great read. Very academic, very dense, very enjoyable!

  25. 5 out of 5

    Ron

    Well-developed fictional series.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Fernando Delfim

    “Comandarei um exército romano e conquistarei o mundo, pois acredito em Roma, acredito nos nossos deuses. E acredito em mim mesmo. Eu sou a alma de um exército romano. Nada me pode deter, vergar, desviar, esmagar.” “- A literatura – teimou Bruto – tornou-se demasiado vasta. Nenhum homem poderá abarca-la sem recorrer a sumários.” “- Eu não faço perguntas a ninguém, a não ser a ti. Dessa forma, nunca oiço mentiras.” “Não deixava de ser curioso que as criaturas detestáveis acabassem sempre por juntar- “Comandarei um exército romano e conquistarei o mundo, pois acredito em Roma, acredito nos nossos deuses. E acredito em mim mesmo. Eu sou a alma de um exército romano. Nada me pode deter, vergar, desviar, esmagar.” “- A literatura – teimou Bruto – tornou-se demasiado vasta. Nenhum homem poderá abarca-la sem recorrer a sumários.” “- Eu não faço perguntas a ninguém, a não ser a ti. Dessa forma, nunca oiço mentiras.” “Não deixava de ser curioso que as criaturas detestáveis acabassem sempre por juntar-se, inclusivamente no casamento.” “a presença da mãe, da esposa e da filha faziam da sua própria casa [de Júlio César] um local esmagadoramente feminino e, por isso mesmo, insuportável.” “- Cachorrinhos feios dão bons maridos” “raparigas espertas e desenvoltas são excelentes, mas as brilhantes e intelectuais são um problema, para os outros e para elas mesmas.” “Quando duas pessoas gostam uma da outra, ficam incapazes de agir como devem. Evitam dizer verdades desagradáveis para o outro. Receiam que essas verdades magoem o outro. O amor e o ódio, pelo contrário, permitem-nos dizer essas verdades desagradáveis. […] O amor e o ódio são cruéis. Só o gostar é amável” “- Pompeia Sila tem a cabeça tão vazia que até podíamos usá-la como caixa de dados – ripostou César, irado – Além disso, é uma mulher dispendiosa, preguiçosa e um monumento de estupidez. - A esposa ideal – contrapôs Aurélia.” “Descobrira o segredo da demagogia: dizer às pessoas aquilo que elas mais querem ouvir, e nunca lhes dizer aquilo que elas não querem ouvir.” “um homem perde muito do seu poder e influência quando são os seus próprios amigos e adeptos que o censuram.” “em Roma, a miséria era definida como a incapacidade de um homem de ter um escravo.” “Os Semitas são quase todos circuncidados. Uma prática muito peculiar. Eu cá [Cneu Pompeu Magno] por mim sinto-me muito ligado ao meu prepúcio: tanto literalmente como metaforicamente.” “O tédio. Precisamente o sentimento a que nenhum casamento conseguia sobreviver.” “Se apresentares as duas propostas de lei ao mesmo tempo, desviarás as atenções daquela que realmente queres ver aprovada.” “Os homens estão sempre à espera de que venha alguém dizer-lhes como se devem posicionar perante os deusas. E eu limitei-me a cumprir esse papel, antes que os meus opositores se lembrassem desse aspecto do problema.” “Roma não tem problemas com os seus proletarii. Basta que tenham a barriga cheia e jogos para se divertirem. Isso chega-lhes para se sentirem bem.” “[…] também os criados exerciam algum poder; e só um amo muito inflexível conseguia manter-se impermeável às pressões dos criados.” “- Não há nada como os casamentos para fazer as mulheres felizes” “Um homem, qualquer homem, sofrerá mais se for condenado ao exílio! […] A morte em vida é infinitamente pior do que a verdadeira morte.” “- Esta manhã, quando falei, cometi um erro terrível – prosseguiu César […] Decidi seguir uma linha inteligente […] a minha argumentação devia ter sido mais simples. Eu devia ter falado como se estivesse a explicar as coisas às crianças, devia ter enunciado, tão lentamente quanto possível, verdades que são evidentes. Mas considerei que os meus ouvintes eram homens crescidos, instruídos, com alguma inteligência, e por isso escolhi a ironia.” “Marco António tinha o hábito de aparecer vestido unicamente com uma túnica, um traje que lhe permitia exibir os notáveis bíceps e os maciços músculos das pernas, a largueza dos ombros, a lisura da barriga, o peito saliente, os antebraços fortes como madeira de carvalho; por outro lado, usava a túnica muito justa, de tal como que a forma do seu sexo se tornava claramente visível, não sendo difícil concluir que se tratava de um apêndice avantajado. As mulheres suspiravam e ficavam afogueadas; os homens engoliam em seco e morriam de inveja. O rosto era muito feio, com um grande nariz adunco, separado de um queixo enorme e agressivo por uma boca pequena, mas com lábios grossos; os olhos estavam demasiado próximos e as faces eram carnudas. […] Em suma, Marco António não precisava de ser um grande orador ou um advogado brilhante; bastava-lhe continuar a ser o que era, um monstro que infundia respeito.” “A mulher de César, tal como toda a família de César, tem que estar acima de qualquer suspeita.” “Mas o problema do crescimento é que, quando uma pessoa cresce, deixa tudo o mais para trás […] E por isso poucas pessoas crescem.” “o triunfo é o auge da glória de um homem!” “Aquilo que se ganha com as conquistas, defende-se com o comércio.” “A brevidade pode ser o fundamento do humor, mas as leis que são breves, quando deveriam ser longas, são normalmente más leis.” “não havia como os criados mais velhos de uma casa para se saber quais eram as decisões mais acertadas!” “os filhos são um investimento que só rende o máximo quando podem dar aos pais aquilo que, de outro modo, nunca poderiam ter.” “[…] eu [Júlio César] não quero governar todo o mundo, apenas o seu lado financeiro. Os números são entidades tão concretas e exactas que os homens costumam fugir deles a sete pás – a menos que possuam um talento genuíno para lidar com eles.”

  27. 4 out of 5

    Nikhil

    "Caesar is no Marius, take my word for it, Caesar is another Sulla, and that is far, far worse." "Not even a mind as huge as Cicero's could outthink a mind like Caesar's. Why was it that these incredibly old families could still throw up a Sulla or a Caesar?" Caesar's wife, like Caesar's family, must be above suspicion" Having been fascinated by Julius Caesar for a better part of my life, these words brought a smile. For they were so true and fitting to his personality. A lot of people here are n "Caesar is no Marius, take my word for it, Caesar is another Sulla, and that is far, far worse." "Not even a mind as huge as Cicero's could outthink a mind like Caesar's. Why was it that these incredibly old families could still throw up a Sulla or a Caesar?" Caesar's wife, like Caesar's family, must be above suspicion" Having been fascinated by Julius Caesar for a better part of my life, these words brought a smile. For they were so true and fitting to his personality. A lot of people here are not satisfied with the title of this book. But I find it fitting. Caesar was always surrounded by women, they would readily give up their lives and their husbands' for Caesar, such was his charisma. However, it was not just that. Caesar was a product of his mother's staunch, a bit stoic life she led. Aurelia, besides being his mother, was Caesar's strength. The nobility, the dignitas the proverbial Roman-ness came from Aurelia who herself was so. And how can we forget his scandalous and immortal affair with Servilia! Caesar was always surrounded by powerful and beautiful women. Most importantly, this book has set the course for Caesar and what he is to become -- the greatest Roman of all. Had the republic not hated him for his virtue, he would never have surpassed Lucius Cornellius Sulla and Gaius Marius and wouldn't that have been a blessing?! I particularly loved how McCullough did not digress too much with Caesar. That is the most common mistake with historians and historical fiction writers. With personality as charismatic and as big as Caesar, historical fiction writers often lose the touch for Caesar was beyond anyone's wildest imagination and the writers can only try to grasp him in their words. McCullough remained grounded to her research and made careful assumptions from the historical texts. Caesar was the most hated man among the senate, so much so that the boni wanted to kill him. (Did I reveal it too soon!). It was easy to be diverted after reading Cicero and Cato's version of history. This book is an interesting read for someone who really wants to understand how and why the boni -- the faction-- went against the likes of Gnaeus Pompeius Magnus and Gaius Julius Caesar. Why the formation of triumvirate? But for most importantly, it describes the time and struggle, the strife that turned Caesar into a cold and brutal military general.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Elena

    3.75 stars. In this fourth book of the Masters of Rome series, Gaius Julius Caesar finally takes center stage. This novel follows the beginnings of his political career, and focuses especially on his battles in the Roman Forum. Also, as the title suggests, Colleen McCullough explores his relationships with the most important women of his life. So far the first two books remain my favourite of this series. This is probably because, as much as I love Caesar as a historical figure, I am not yet compl 3.75 stars. In this fourth book of the Masters of Rome series, Gaius Julius Caesar finally takes center stage. This novel follows the beginnings of his political career, and focuses especially on his battles in the Roman Forum. Also, as the title suggests, Colleen McCullough explores his relationships with the most important women of his life. So far the first two books remain my favourite of this series. This is probably because, as much as I love Caesar as a historical figure, I am not yet completely sold on his characterization by McCullough. Don't get me wrong, he is fascinating; but, while I think she did a splendid job with Sulla, Caesar still feels a little too perfect for me. However, I do appreciate that she began to explore his darker side, and I hope to see more of it in the next novels. What I really enjoyed were his relationships with other characters in the book: his mother Aurelia (definitely one of my favourite of the series), Pompeius and Crassus. His conversations with Crassus, especially, were among my favourite parts of the book. Most of the action takes place in the Roman Forum, and these scenes were interesting to read too. Some parts felt a little dense and repetitive, but for the most part I was highly entertained by the ferocious oral battles. I loved reading about the different political factions and political strategies. The Catilina conspiracy was probably my favourite part. I think I will pick up the next book soon. I am very excited to see how McCullough tackles Caesar's most famous acts!

  29. 5 out of 5

    Sean

    In the 4th book in her "Masters of Rome" series, McCullough continues the story of Julius Caesar and the people and events in his life. We begin with Caesar's return to Rome after his proconsulship in Spain and his election as Pontifex Maximus. The core plot point of the book is the ongoing conflict between Caesar and the "boni" faction in the Senate (e.g. Bibulus, Cato). We see the formation of the first triumvirate, as Caesar partners with Crassus and Pompey for their mutual benefit. "Caesar's In the 4th book in her "Masters of Rome" series, McCullough continues the story of Julius Caesar and the people and events in his life. We begin with Caesar's return to Rome after his proconsulship in Spain and his election as Pontifex Maximus. The core plot point of the book is the ongoing conflict between Caesar and the "boni" faction in the Senate (e.g. Bibulus, Cato). We see the formation of the first triumvirate, as Caesar partners with Crassus and Pompey for their mutual benefit. "Caesar's Women", suitably titled, also tells us much about the women in Caesar's life--his mother Aurelia, as she moves in with Caesar to oversee the Vestal Virgins, Caesar's daughter Julia and her ultimate marriage to Pompey, and Servilia, mother to Brutus and Caesar's mistress. The entire book takes place in Rome and McCullough gives us lots of information about these women and the events in Rome that they are a part of. McCullough's novels in this series are masterful. They are incredibly researched--McCullough reportedly spending 13 years researching the period before starting the first novel. But they are also incredibly readable, given the depth of the characters that she creates. She does a good job of staying faithful to the historical records that we have, while fleshing out the various personae, bringing them to life. Her books are an enjoyable read even for readers not already fans of Ancient Roman history.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Nishant Bhagat

    Honestly speaking am exhausted reading this series already. With over 5000+ pages over 4 books it takes your toll. Not that everything is racy and engrossing. The author goes into too many historical details of how the Senate worked and it's tactical issues. This is where you feel the pace of this book drags on. The author seems clearly smitten with Julius Caesar. He is clearly the hero in the book who can do no wrong. All his manipulations are subtly put aside. Time for a break from the series f Honestly speaking am exhausted reading this series already. With over 5000+ pages over 4 books it takes your toll. Not that everything is racy and engrossing. The author goes into too many historical details of how the Senate worked and it's tactical issues. This is where you feel the pace of this book drags on. The author seems clearly smitten with Julius Caesar. He is clearly the hero in the book who can do no wrong. All his manipulations are subtly put aside. Time for a break from the series for sure. But all in all a thoroughly well researched book, surely not a classic. Go for it only if you are academically inclined towards reading a historical fiction about the times of Caesar.

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