The First Man in Rome

  • by Colleen McCullough
  • Narrated by David Ogden Stiers
  • 6 hrs and 3 mins
  • Abridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

"The First Man in Rome was not the best man: he was the First among other men who were his equals.... To be the First Man in Rome was something far better than kingship...."
In the first century B.C. at the height of the Roman Republic, two men set their sights on becoming the First Man - the Roman more respected than any other. Marius, a heroic man of strength and means, lacks the noble blood to contend for the First Man, but overcomes his common status when he marries into the patrician house of Caesar. Sulla, a pleasure-seeking aristocrat without money of his own, is transformed by his ambitions into a fierce and daring warrior. Together the two men will shape history as they are thrust into a raging storm - engaging in deadly political contests and waging far-off wars for a state battling to hold on to its enormous power.
Rich with unforgettable characters and unerring historical accuracy, The First Man in Rome is a vivid tale of power, treachery, and a great Republic hurtling toward civil war....


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful


Would you recommend this book to a friend? Why or why not?

The abriged version has ruined this creative work--made it unoriginal and boring in presentation-- like hearing Cliff Notes! I bought and read this book years ago. To read it made me feel as though I were living in Roman times. The characters were so fascinating and alive! What a wonderful study of their culture.

How would you have changed the story to make it more enjoyable?

To make it enjoyable, I would change Audible's story by having the performer read the whole damn book by one of the best authors ever! Will you butcher The Thornbirds like you did this book? The abrigment left out the creativity of the author!

It is like someone decided to abridge one of Shakespere's plays! How stupid!

What three words best describe David Ogden Stiers’s performance?

powerful, flexible, focusing

If this book were a movie would you go see it?

Definitely, I would see the movie. Visual information would enhance what can not be read in abriged audibles.

Any additional comments?

The performer did the best he could with what he had to work!


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- R. L. Roeck "rlroeck"

interesting historical novel

If you are interested in Roman history this is a good book to read. The author tells a vivid story of two men who served in the Senate in ancient Rome. McCullough illustrates in all-encompassing and extensive detail, an image of life of the upper echelons of Roman society that is wholly believable. She not only describes how meaningful a sagum is to a Roman soldier, but also tells of domestic industriousness of Julia, matriarch of the Caesar’s household. A complete historical education of the time period is interwoven by way of anecdotes, digressions, and dialogue such that a fabulously rich and complex historical novel results. The author’s research for the historical novel is amazing; the book is more or less historically accurate.

The book revolves about its eponymous hero, Gaius Marius, Rome’s ablest general and a man destined to be a six times a Consul and his wife Julia, a beautiful aristocrat of the Juli Caesar family. (She is Julius Caesar’s aunt. Julius is a baby at the end of the book.) The other key person is the young Lucius Cornelius Sulla form the core of the story. The author masterfully illustrates through a story centered around the two men, the place of women in ancient Roman civilization, with the women of Julian family figure prominently as well. The author is terrific when writing about women. McCullough losses the story’s momentum when she is describing the politics of the time. The two men served together to win the war against Numidia (Africa) in 107 B.C.E. and held off the Cimbri and Teutonii Germanus tribes invasion between 103-102 B.C.E. Even though one man is a liberal and the other a conservative they are able to put aside their political difference to work together for the betterment of Rome. This is the first book of a series about Rome.

The book was narrated by David Ogden Stiers. This is my second book by McCullough the first one I read by her was “The Thorn Birds”.
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- Jean "I am an avid eclectic reader."

Book Details

  • Release Date: 01-18-2013
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster Audio