Customer Reviews for

The First Man in Rome (Masters of Rome Series #1)

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Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 33 Customer Reviews
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  • Posted January 26, 2009

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    I Also Recommend:

    MASTERS OF ROME a MUST

    The first volume of McCullough's Masters of Rome series completely floored me. The author's ability to get me into the Roman mindset and become emotionally invested in characters who do some REALLY nasty things left me in awe. Do yourself a favor and read all 7 volumes

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 30, 2009

    The beginning of a well researched piece of historical fiction about the end of the Roman republic.

    Writing about historical characters always carries the temptation to project modern attitudes onto them. In this well researched series, the author has resisted that temptation and has presented them as interesting and human.

    While sources are somewhat limited for the beginning of the series as compared to the later periods, the story is written wih a respect for the avaialble information while still making the characters intersting as people. This is not a dry history, but rather an intersting story of chatracters large and small and how their actions built a significant historical change as Rome moved from the Republic to the Empire.

    I have read the series several times and have literally worn out the hard-cover edition of this book.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 28, 2008

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    Historical Fiction at its Best

    Great book! I'm not sure if it's for people who don't know this period of Roman History well (Roman Revolution), perhaps someone can correct me on that. As a Classicist, I am so glad she began this series with Marius. Most skip over him and Sulla completely and start with Caesar. And truly, the fall of the Republic began with Marius and ended with Octavian who began the Empire (hence why this period is called the Roman Revolution). I am definitely reading the rest of the series, there are 7 in all. If you're interested at all in this period in history, read this!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 20, 2007

    Masterful

    I urge everyone to read the Masters of Rome series, starting with The First Man in Rome. As the series progresses (Fortunes Favorites, The Grass Crown, Caesars Women, Caesar, The October Horse) you are caught up in a world that has long since vanished, although today's members of the Senate remain the same. The insight which McCullouch brings to this series is masterful. I have read and reread the series, and each time I am transported back to that age that shaped the modern world.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 10, 2014

    Colleen McCullough's "The First Man in Rome" is a mast

    Colleen McCullough's "The First Man in Rome" is a masterpiece when it comes to historical fiction novels. She's managed to produce
    an excellent plot that features details about the Classical-Era and the Roman domestic life yet still keeps the reader hooked. Several
    main characters are introduced in the story, ranging from Gaius Marius to Sulla. The progression is not super-fast-paced nor is it
    excruciatingly slow. For those interested in history, especially Classical-Era Rome, this is a must-read. For those who are not avid
    readers of historical fiction this is high on the list of good literature, even if you are the kind of person that despises reading about
    history, this book should be at least somewhere on your list. Without a doubt this novel deserves any awards it receives. What’s even
    better is that “The First Man in Rome” is only the beginning of an excellent series of novels, each supposedly better than the last.
    McCullough makes sure that each entry is not only of high quality, but that it leaves you wanting more and more. Most readers of this
    novel would tell you that it is worth the occasional “info-dump” that occurs at points. I would give this entry in McCullough’s series a
    solid 5 out of 5 stars. 

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 4, 2013

    Once I got thru the first few chapters where I didn't like the g

    Once I got thru the first few chapters where I didn't like the grammar and style of language I really started to get into it. It's nice to feel vested in characters of a story for a change even if there are several liberties of history that the author took. I will be getting the rest of the series.

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  • Posted June 27, 2010

    Epic tale of an "Italian hayseed with no Greek"

    This novel, which is based on some historical fact, covers the rise of republican Roman statesmen Gaius Marius and Lucius Cornelius Sulla. This early in the series they are still friends rather than enemies (that happens in the second book in the series, "The Grass Crown"). Marius is born from a non-noble family and cannot hope to get to the upper echelons of the Roman political ladder, despite being able to "buy and sell half the Senate" as he puts it. On the other hand, Sulla has an aristocratic name, but his branch of the Cornelii has run out of money and he's been living in abject poverty his whole life. They're both in the same situation because Marius has money but no name, and Sulla has a name but no money. They are brought together by fortune and by their distaste for the aristocracy that rules Rome.

    The events covered in the book include the famous Jugurthine War and the war with the German tribes invading Italy. You really root for Marius because he is the underdog, ignored by the Roman republican aristocracy but possessing far superior abilities than other Roman generals and statesmen with better names than his. In fact, Marius would be consul (like president of the republic, to misuse a modern term) seven times in his life. McCullough portrays him as a real person, and not a real schmuck like Plutarch paints him. Probably Plutarch (a Greek) looked down his nose at Marius because he spoke poor Greek. McCullough makes him an underdog that her readers will love rather than object to, and Sulla, despite his somewhat evil character and unscrupulousness, is also a good choice of protagonist. The characters seem real, the action is fluid, and the book, despite being over 1000 pages, is no longer than it really needs to be.

    I honestly believe this is one of the greatest epic novels of all time, ranking right up there with the Lord of the Rings, dare I say it.

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  • Posted December 12, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    Magnificient!

    I read the whole series. This was a gift to a very good friend. It takes awhile to get used to all the Roman names and nomenclature but once you get going you can't put it down. I read them as She wrote them and could not wait for each book as it came out. As far as I could tell, the history is accurate ( talked about it with a professor of history from
    Rome). An absolutely wonderful read.

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  • Posted October 20, 2008

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    Hail Mccullough!

    Mccullough has brought ancient Rome to life. Her characters are brilliantly drawn. I was able to picture Marius in his armor, Sulla in his German disguise. The pain of Little Julilla. This is a MUST READ!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 1, 2006

    BOMBASTIC

    when i first read the book i couldnt believe it was written by a neurophysicist and trust me this is more than worth a read .this book is one of those rare books that you buy and then pass on to your kids bacause it opens up for you a world which vanished long time ago and you curse your luck that you were born in this age .

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 22, 2005

    Give it a try - you're bound to love it!

    After reading a very poorly done novel about the early yrs of Julius Caesar, I came across this 1st book of the 'Masters of Rome' series here on B& N's site. I love accurate historical novels and decided to give this one a try after reading some of it's great reviews. Boy, did I hit the jackpot! I asked for 'good' & got 'amazingly outstanding' - two thumbs WAY up! McCullough takes you on the journey of the rising Gaius Marius, a wealthy New Man labeled an 'Italian hayseed w/ no Greek', & Lucius Cornelius Sulla, a Roman patrician living on the other end of the spectrum, having nothing but his aristocratic birth, who rises out of the slums of Rome's Subura. Both marry a Julia sister (Caesar's aunts) who are their tickets into the senate. You're taken through Marius' unprecedented 6 consulships w/ Sulla at his side. this story is so well written w/ amazing detail, you're able to feel as though you're right in Rome w/ the characters. Although the story is about Marius & Sulla, I loved the book even more for not focusing just on them but letting you into their lives w/ the places they go, their family's lives & the many members of the senate. McCullough even includes maps & sketches of the characters along w/ a 100+ pg glossery explaining the meanings of Roman words & cities found in the story. Pronunciations of Roman names are also given! The book covers everything from the overthrow of King Jugurtha, Marius' 3 consulships 'in absentia' & his use of the Head Count for his armies, the defeat of the Germans, the continuous back-stabbing & bribery of the senate & finally to Marius' rise, & eventual somewhat fall, from the 'First Man in Rome' title. From you Roman history buffs to the average reader looking for something different but completely enthralling, give it a try, you're bound to love it!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 13, 2005

    Outstanding Epic of Ancient Rome

    Though the book is long, it's no longer than it needs to be (which is a rare find in long books) because every page is packed with action or historical detail. You can tell both the author's passion for the subject as well as her in depth knowledge of it. The characters are well developed and you get the sense that the author almost knows them personally by the way they are brought out in detail, and the Roman Senate is brought to life as it really was quite errily, little different from its counterparts in Washington or Westminster. But most of all, McCullough actually accomplished something rare among historians: she made it absolutely fascinating. The book left me wanting to know more about the Romans, for whom I could have cared less before reading The First Man in Rome. Plus, I love stories where the underdog (like Marius) triumphs over his enemies.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 10, 2004

    Wonderful

    This is the story of Gaius Marius (157-86 BC) a novus homo (new man) from an equestrian family of landowners origin and a military genius and of Lucius Cornelius Sulla (138-78 BC) a peniless roman patrician who became partners in the army and related by marriage with the Julia sisters, Marius as a leader of the invictus roman legions and Sulla as an aprentice and close collaborator. This book covered the conquest of Numidia, the overthrown of King Jughurta, the invasion of Gaul by the german hordes, the defeat of the cimbris and teutons in 102-101 BC, the plans of Gaius Marius to establish veteran colonies outside Italy to expand the roman influence, language and culture in the new conquered territories also gives us an idea of how the romans legislate, fight and intrigue to win influence and power to rule Rome and how the citizenship were divided by classes and nationalities. Once again, Ms. McCullough gives us a wonderful story, an illustrative narrative and a detailed history class.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 23, 2004

    Captivating! Didn't think I'd like it but I did

    A friend suggested I listen to this book (audio version narrated by former M*A*S*H actor), but after reading the dust cover I put it on a back shelf and let it sit for months. I finally just now listened to it on my long commute because I had nothing else in the car, and I was astounded! I couldn't believe how it captured my interest -- I found myself wishing I had a few more miles to go each night!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 9, 2003

    Masters of Rome series

    The First Man in Rome presents an accurate, well researched account of the rise of Gaius Marius (157-86 BCE); the third-person narrative, when combined with such strong attention to detail, captivates the reader to continue. McCullough can 'make up' a dialogue between Gaius Marius and his legionaries or his fellow senators, however, her method of presentation always makes such interactions seem plausible. As a PhD student of Classical History, at the University of Edinburgh, I give 'The First Man in Rome' the full five stars.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 28, 2002

    A historical treasure!

    This series of books has been a pleasure to read. Anyone who enjoys this period of history should definitely give it a try. For those not historically inclined, give this series a chance. McCollough brings this period of time to life and the characters are captivating.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 19, 2002

    Aaahh Rome!

    Ever wished you could travel back in time? Well you will after reading this book! It's difficult to imagine a better portrait of Roman life than this. For anyone who likes history, family lives, tears of joy and sorrow, or just a good straightforward story Ms. McCullough's Roman tale has it all. Full marks!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 2, 2002

    The best piece of historical fiction since "I, Claudius"

    Colleen McCullough is one of those rare writers who is both intellectually stimulating (i.e. not Sidney Sheldon) and lacks preticiousness (i.e. not Jonathan Franzen). This book and its successors should not be missed. These books chronicle the destruction of the Roman Republic through the eyes of Marius to Sulla to Crassus, Pompey and Caesar.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 16, 2001

    Wonderful!!!

    A truley great book. best one I have ever read!!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 11, 2000

    Outstanding Historical Fiction

    The author did an intensive research on Roman lifestyles and political practices to write this book. She writes in the appendix what in her book was fiction and what wasn't. The story is fascinating, you won't stop reading once you start. The book is part of an ongoing series of books on Rome.

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