by Allan Massie

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
In this third in a projected quartet of historical novels set in ancient Rome, Massie (Tiberius) attempts to find new drama in the story of Julius Caesar's murder. The novel's narrator, a Roman general languishing in captivity among the Gauls, muses over the events that have brought down his career. He was once, it seems, Caesar's closest confidant-but became one of his chief betrayers. By casting his narrative in the form of a participant's testimonial, Massie opens a window onto the private triumph and tragedy that marked the final months of Caesar's life. Though the novel includes evocative, naturalistic descriptions (the account of the crossing of the Rubicon, for instance), the emphasis here is on character. In a series of rhetorical set pieces, the author represents the table talk of well-known personages. He follows previous novelists of Roman decadence in cataloging the sexual proclivities of the Roman worthies and explicitly echoes Shakespeare in describing the assassination and its aftermath. Ultimately, Massie's engaging work gives added zest to a familiar tale through its unique perspective. (Nov.)
Library Journal
Decimus Junius Brutus, a Roman general and one of Julius Caesar's closest friends, was one of the conspirators who killed Caesar on the Ides of March in 44 B.C. In this fictional memoir written while awaiting his death in Gaul, Brutus (cousin to the better known Marcus Junius Brutus) attempts to justify the murder by recounting Caesar's ever-growing lust for total power and his unbecoming desire to outshine Alexander the Great. Brutus and his friends believe that Caesar's megalomania has led him to betray the Roman Senate and destroy the Republic. Massie, a well-known British historian and novelist (Tiberius, LJ 9/15/93), has produced another solid portrait of ancient Rome. He succeeds in bringing to life the society that spawned, among others, Cleopatra, Cicero, and Mark Antony. Julius Caesar is portrayed in all his guises: libertine, orator, politician, and martyr. A good choice for all historical fiction collections.-Nancy Pearl, Washington Ctr. for the Book, Seattle
Margaret Flanagan
Written in the guise of the memoirs of one of Caesar's most trusted aides and generals, this compelling narrative traces the meteoric rise and swift downfall of Julius Caesar. Awaiting execution for his role in the assassination of Caesar, Decimus Junius Brutus Albinus chronicles the military and political campaigns waged by his former friend and mentor in a hugely successful effort to promote both the glory of Rome and the glory of himself. According to Decimus Brutus, Caesar's overweening ambition and arrogance also contributed to his inevitable destruction. Repulsed by Caesar's increasingly disturbing megalomania and envious of his wealth and stature, a group of his former allies hatched a daring murder plot in the name of the Roman Republic. The third installment in Massie's projected quartet of Roman novels, this fictionalized account of Julius Caesar offers an evocative portrait of ancient Rome as well as a gripping and suspenseful analysis of the most intriguing conspiracy of all time. Superb historical fiction.

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Avalon Publishing Group
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1st Carroll & Graf ed

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