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Hannibal
     

Hannibal

5.0 1
by Ross Leckie
 

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"A lusty, full-throttle portrait of the great Carthaginian general, the scourge of the Romans . . . "--THE NEW YORK TIMES".This is a ripping good read . . . "--PUBLISHERS WEEKLY".Cooly documented horror abounds in this first-person account of a man whose business and very destiny was war".--THE DAILY TELEGRAPH.

Overview

"A lusty, full-throttle portrait of the great Carthaginian general, the scourge of the Romans . . . "--THE NEW YORK TIMES".This is a ripping good read . . . "--PUBLISHERS WEEKLY".Cooly documented horror abounds in this first-person account of a man whose business and very destiny was war".--THE DAILY TELEGRAPH.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
"A battle is like lust. The frenzy passes. Consequence remains." So reflects the 65-year-old Hannibal as he recounts the trials of a battle commander's life in British writer's Leckie's first novel. Readers may already be somewhat acquainted with the warlord's record: how the Carthaginian was born and bred to become the leader of a great army, how he marched toward Rome in the company of thousands of mercenaries and elephants, crossing the Alps in a legendary winter of privation. Less familiar will be the portrait of Hannibal as a lover (of Similce, a Spanish woman whom he marries) or as an introspective man well-versed in the Greek philosophers. Published to fine reviews in England, Leckie's fictional memoir is written in a simple, visceral style that brings a raw immediacy to descriptions of ancient battle. The Oxford-trained author, who drew on many classical sources, is as authoritative about crucifixions and the torture of pregnant women as he is about the details of the great warrior's brilliant military strategies. Leckie seeks not to bury Hannibal in analysis but to portray him. He gives readers a taste of an outsized man whose obsession to conquer Rome made him as bloodthirsty as he was bold. This is a ripping good read whose lesson in ancient history is yet another reward. (Oct.)

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780349108261
Publisher:
Little, Brown & Company
Publication date:
12/01/1996
Pages:
1
Product dimensions:
5.00(w) x 7.75(h) x 0.64(d)

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Hannibal: A Novel 3.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
I bought the book eagerly -- always anxious to read a good historical novel, especially if it seems to deal with characters and personages I've not yet met with between hard covers. Unfortunately, this is another one of those historical works that seems to dribble away its promise. The characters, even Hannibal, lack any spark of life, while the plot is little more than Hannibal growing up, hating Rome, vowing to get even for past defeats and putting together a crack mercenary army -- in what was to become Spain -- only to take this army, with all the attendant hardships this involved, over the Alps. There he commences a career of torturing his enemies on the battlefield for 10 bloody years (which seem to go by rather too quickly to account for all the time and damage done). The historical Hannibal was indeed a single-minded and highly successful foe of Rome but he seems to have achieved very little with his victories except to harden that war-like and resilient nation, giving them the opportunity to learn new strategies and grow into the colossus of the Mediterranean world they were shortly to become. Hannibal neither changed nor redirected any of this, although his war did seem to hasten the end of his own rather unlovely (by modern standards) nation. The novel captures very little of this tension and irony and is best on the battlefield where we lose sight of the people involved for the grandeur of large-scale military movements. I guess there was a paucity of personal information available to the author with this subject but, even so, he ought to have done better since he undertook to call this a novel. One is left with very little feeling for a largely flat and unsympathetic protagonist about whom little has been learned and nothing convincing has been presented to explain the dramatic reversal in his fortunes. Apparently his mostly successful initiative on the Italian peninsula simply petered out as he raced up and down the land soundly trouncing various Roman forces but never convincingly shattering the Roman alliances or capturing and holding significant territory. In the end he is betrayed by impossibly long lines of supplies and dwindling support at home. But the novel seems to telescope and compress the latter events surrounding this collapse so that the reader barely knows it is happening before it's a fait accomplis. William the Conqueror certainly did it better in 1066 against the English. (For a real historical novel, of the first class, I'd recommend the reader try The Golden Warrior by Hope Muntz -- dealing with the epic tug-of-war between Harold and William for the crown of England in the eleventh century. Muntz probably had more material to work with in her endeavor than Leckie had with Hannibal, although Harold, too, is something of an historical enigma. Yet she brings the disparate historical personalities to brilliant life in a terse, poetic prose not easily matched by her authorial competitors. And her battle scenes make the general, Hannibal, seem little more than a piker. I guess it's the luck of the draw for these guys; and who you get to tell your tale.) -- SWM