Thursday, July 04, 2013

"The Blood of the Gods" - a review..

Just finished it..  despite huge amounts of busy'ness in Steve the Wargamers everyday existence....!  

Work, imminent grandfather-hood (I'm too young! ), sailing, in fact the demands of the boat [clicky] in general, are all making huge in roads into my available time, and as a result for the moment the wargaming seems to be on a back burner - it is still on a burner though, just not being actively cooked....  I don't think wargamers ever truly switch off..  if we're not actually gaming, we read history, we look at our surroundings for useful bits that can be re-used on the gaming table, or in a model, or in scratch built scenery (found some nice gravel down the marina this morning!)...

We also read, and as a wargamer my tastes tend towards the militaristic, not solely, but a definite leaning... which brings me (finally!) to "The Blood of the Gods"  a very pleasant surprise while doing the weekly shop in Tesco* the other week.....

This is the fifth book in his Emperor series which deals with the life (and death) of Julius Caesar - a bit of a surprise as I thought the series had ended with the last book which dealt with Caesar's assassination at the hands of Brutus and the other conspirators.. the ides of March and all that....

This book, while it deals mostly with the coming to power of Caesar's adopted son Octavian, is more to do with the bringing to a close of Julius's life - Iggulden is tidying the shop, and tying up loose ends.. 

So at the beginning of the story, Octavian is nothing more than officer in the Legions (albeit with plenty of influence) and on leave. Within weeks of hearing of his great uncles death he has won over the mutinying Legions in Brindisium, and has marched on Rome there he comes up against Mark Anthony who is consul, and in an uneasy alliance with the senate who have passed an amnesty on the assassins of his childhood friend Caesar....

He is delared as Julius's heir in his will, and becomes the primary beneficiary of Julius's wealth and more importantly his political contacts and confidants. He begins to cement his position, and with his power on the increase, Mark Anthony cuts his  losses and takes the remaining legions still loyal to him north after one of the more prominent assassins, followed by Octavian.

Despite losing the ensuing battle, he and the winning Octavian decide to form an alliance based on their mutual wish to bring the remaining assassins, and especially Brutus, to justice.

To do that Octavian must first defeat the Roman fleet - which has been put under the control of the son of Pompey, a rabid anti-Caeser'ite - in order to transport his Legions to be able to take on Brutus.

Fantastic descriptions of sea battles follow, also of the improvements to the new galleys Octavian orders that allow him to finally win, and transport his Legions for the final battle at Phillipi.

Bloody excellent - a real 8 out of 10'er...

* Other supermarkets are available....

7 comments:

  1. I read it a couple of weeks ago and as you say, it's just tidying the story off. You may like to know that he is starting a new series (I think in October) about the Wars of the Roses. Details on Amazon

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    1. Hi Joppy - thanks for the comment, and yes, spotted the news about the new Wars of the Roses series....something to look forward to!

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  2. I've never read this series from Iggulden (read the Lords of the Bow series and throughly enjoyed it) so now, thanks to your review, I may have too.

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    1. Grimsby - think you're in for a treat as they are easily equal to the Lords of the Bow series (which I also read)... he's definitely champions league* in the historical fiction stakes...

      * Only O'Brien and Mallinson are Premier League.. :o)

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    2. Grimsby - well worth it... and the Wars of the Roses series will be right up your street!

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  3. Read the first two and stopped. Will have to pick them up again but probably will have to start from scratch again. There are now too many Roman themed novel series for me to keep up with!

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    1. Legatus.. you're right - far too much Roman fiction about, but Iggulden is definitely Champions League standard (only O'Brien and Mallinson are in my Premier League.... so far!)

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