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PART OF THE ACCLAIMED MASTERS OF ROME SERIES
Colleen McCullough was born in Australia. A neurophysicist, she established the department of neurophysiology at the Royal North Shore Hospital in Sydney, then worked as a researcher and teacher at Yale Medical School for ten years. She is the author of the record-breaking international bestseller The Thorn Birds as well as eleven other novels, and lives on Norfolk Island in the Pacific with her husband.
Does a new listener stand a chance of following this? Caesar rather severely abridges the fifth title in McCullough's acclaimed "Masters of Rome" series, reducing a 600-page book to novella length while maintaining the book's cast of thousands. Michael York delivers an enthusiastic, even manic reading, but his habit of differentiating Roman characters by giving them Cockney or Scot accents is just too much. Moreover, the production lacks the book's maps, glossary, and chart of Roman government. What is left shows Julius Caesar coping with his mother's death, proposing alliances, plotting his future, conquering Gaul, and turning his attention at last to Rome itself. If you own the rest of this series and it circulates, by all means add this. Otherwise, listeners may find it bewildering.‘John Hiett, Iowa City P.L.
The fifth book (after Caesar's Women) in McCullough's popular Masters of Rome series depicts Julius Caesar's conquest of Gaul, his momentous decision to cross the Rubicon and his eventual defeat of rival Pompey at Pharsalus. Around these military events, McCullough constructs various synchronous plot lines, including the political machinations of the Roman senate, the complex entanglements (romantic and otherwise) of key Roman families and life in the Egyptian court of Queen Cleopatra. It is always Julius Caesar, however, who is the focus of attention, and although McCullough makes much of the great man's dignitas, she also lets readers into his most private tribulations. His overwhelming grief when his daughter Julia dies is just one of several instances in which he exhibits unexpected vulnerability. As usual, McCullough applies her historical research judiciously and skillfully, integrating details that drive her story forward. She deftly handles a large cast of characters and brings welcome humanity to such historical icons as the conniving Brutus, indecisive Pompey and young, charismatic Mark Antony. McCullough's legion of readers now dwarfs Caesar's own considerable army. This novel will increase the ranks. Glossary, maps and illustrations. BOMC, QPB alternates; audio rights to Simon & Schuster. (Dec.)
"Incomparable . . . Engrossing . . . Breathtakingly detailed . . . McCullough has triumphed again" * Chicago Tribune * "Hail, Colleen McCullough! She once again gives Caesar his due . . . Caesar reveals Julius Caesar and the author at the height of their powers . . . With all its Machiavellian machinations and its eye for entertaining history, McCullough latest novel merits the allegiance of her legions of fans" * Columbus Dispatch * "A thoroughly Romanized epic novel . . . Her version of history marches through the tumultuous years from 54 to 48 B.C. withoutmissing any of the significant military and political landscape . . . McCullough also fleshes out the marbled-over characters of Pompey, Cato, Cicero, Brutus, Mark Anthony and others as they try to deal with the near-infallible Caesar. And Caesar himself . . . [is] brilliant, ambitious, ruthless and fascinating" * The New York Times Book Review *