Roma : Rome

  • by Steven Saylor
  • Narrated by John Lee
  • Series: Rome
  • 22 hrs and 8 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

Weaving history, legend, and new archaeological discoveries into a spellbinding narrative, critically acclaimed novelist Steven Saylor gives new life to the drama of the city's first 1,000 years - from the founding of the city by the ill-fated twins Romulus and Remus, through Rome's astonishing ascent to become the capital of the most powerful empire in history.Roma recounts the tragedy of the hero-traitor Coriolanus, the capture of the city by the Gauls, the invasion of Hannibal, the bitter political struggles of the patricians and plebeians, and the ultimate death of Rome's Republic with the triumph, and assassination, of Julius Caesar.
Witnessing this history, and sometimes playing key roles, are the descendents of two of Rome's first families: the Potitius and Pinarius clans. One is the confidant of Romulus. One is born a slave and tempts a Vestal virgin to break her vows. One becomes a mass murderer. And one becomes the heir of Julius Caesar. Linking the generations is a mysterious talisman as ancient as the city itself.
Epic in every sense of the word, Roma is a panoramic historical saga and Saylor's finest achievement to date.


What the Critics Say

"Solidly anchored in fact and vividly imagined." (Publishers Weekly)


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Plebian at best

Was this book worth 2 credits to me? No,I was disappointed.

My primary reason for listening was to combine a deeper understanding of early roman history with a good, immersive (20 hours)listen. While the author conscientiously (& at times too methodically) catalogs the development of roman institutions and customs over a millennia and is decent at retelling legends, I found he came up short in too many areas.

First, for the most part, his Roma develops in a vacuum. Little is said of the Etruscans or relations with other states, or how the city state grew. This is not an academic history, but everything has context. Many of the characters are prominent citizens who would be directly involved in great events. These characters are essentially not allowed beyond the city gates -- even in their heads. Foggy, disjointed history.

All things military are marginalized. Forget about battles or campaigns. The Gauls and Hannibal put in very brief appearances. More importantly, Rome was a martial society. Training started at an early age. There was no standing army so all able bodied citizens had to serve in the legions, effecting every family. Wars were frequent, yet very little is said of the development of the army and it's role in society. I'm not looking for a sword and sandals blood fest, but this "Roma" is significantly out of balance with history.

Finally, I found many of the characters disappointingly flat. Sulla is a nasty cardboard caricature. Caesar's brilliance is not shown when he speaks. Ditto Scipio. (The author tries to convey talent or charisma through a cataloging of a character's achievements or by mining clever lines from Suetonius. His own dialog can't reach such heights.)

The book has some moments, but the author got locked into an regular pace, like he had his outline and was word processing away.I found myself looking at my IPod regularly, hoping I was about to reach the end. Stick with Colleen Mcculloug
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- Trustme "notapundit"

Excellent Feel for Ancient Rome

Saylor is well known and loved for his exceptional ancient Roman murder mysteries. This is not one of them. Most of the less than loving reviews here seem to relate to this main point. Neither is this an exhaustive description of 1000 years of pre-empire Roman history.

Instead, Saylor has focused on showing the reader what it would have felt like to live as a Roman during the period extending from Rome's founding through the beginning of the empire. He certainly does hits some of the major historical events, but doesn't focus on pouring facts down your throat. Instead, he concentrates on giving the reader an impression of how a Roman would have lived, how he or she would have seen the world around them, and reacted to things around them, and what kind of sense they would have made of the world.

All-in-all, Saylor has done a truly fantastic job. The story drags a bit at times, but what thousand year long story wouldn't? The narrator is fantastic, and the material is wonderful. If you enjoy stories of Ancient Rome, listen to this one.
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- S. Caruso "Steve"

Book Details

  • Release Date: 03-20-2007
  • Publisher: Books on Tape