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Sunday, September 15, 2019

The October horse


 
This is the final volume in the Masters of Rome series and covers the time from Caesar's search for Pompey in Egypt to the battle of Philippi, which marks the end of the “liberators” and the beginning of the final rise of Octavian to Augustus. It is a book as much about Octavian as it is about Caesar..

 The current volume recounts Julius Caesar's final years, focusing on his involvement with Cleopatra, and his final campaign in Spain. As Caesar's fame and power grows, so does the discontent of the Roman elite. Perhaps, if they had the benefit of reading McCullough's works, they could have seen how the pressure of the ever-expanding sphere of Roman influence, and the reforms instigated by Marius, required the focus of a single, brilliant man to steer its vision. However, to the powerful men of the capital city, who have watched the power of the Roman Senate erode from absolute, to merely advisory within a single lifetime, his ascendancy is percieved as a grave threat to their cherished way of life.

 This long time fan of Colleen McCullough grabbed the October Horse book as soon as he saw it on sale at Goodwill. I do love Roman history and read the entire series Masters of Rome.  This one was the clinker for me. Maybe just because I’ve entered my golden years  the endless complexity of the genealogy and names previously mentioned in her series was just  plain too much. The drama was exciting. The characterizations sometimes interesting and sometimes irrelevant. The confrontations seem true but the details went and on and on for 600+ pages. But the fact is while I knew the plots and what it was all about I couldn’t keep track much of the time of who was talking and even sometimes about what. I started skipping parts which I never do and thought the book would never end. Sorry about that fans, of this wonderful writer but she seemed tired and inattentive to making the story flow for me.