Book Review: Cleopatra’s Shadows by Emily Holleman

Being born into a royal dynastic family in ancient time was more of a curse than a blessing. None of the sons or daughters of Ptolemy XII Auletes (the Piper) would live to see old age. The Ptolemaic Dynasty, in fact, rivals the Julio-Claudian Dynasty and the Angevin Dynasty in its degree of familial dysfunction. […]

The Secret History: A Novel of Empress Theodora, by Stephanie Thornton

Stephanie Thornton’s novel of Empress Theodora brought to mind the story of Eva Peron. The similarities are striking. Eva Peron, as you may recall was an Argentinian woman born into poverty who became an actress and married Juan Peron, the most powerful politician in Argentina. She was adulated by the masses and despised by those […]

Book Review: Mediterranean Anarchy, Interstate Warfare, and the Rise of Rome by Arthur M. Eckstein

This book is for serious students of ancient Rome and its place in antiquity, for those who desire a deeper understanding of the cultural, social, economic and political dynamics of the ancient Mediterranean world that Rome came to dominate, and an insight into how and why Rome came to rule over this entire region. The […]

Book Review: Devotio, The House of Mus, by William Kelso

There are few historical fiction works that deal with the Roman Early Middle Republic before the Punic wars. Yet this period of Rome’s history is intriguing, as the author of this work put it “The early and mid-Roman Republic has always fascinated me for it was a time when Rome could very well have been […]

Book Review: Bandits of Rome by Alex Gough

Bandits of Rome is a sequel to Alex Gough’s novel Watchmen of Rome. Both novels deal with the seamy side of Rome during the reign of the Emperor Tiberius. Gough’s flawed hero is a man named Carbo, a veteran of twenty years in the legions and one of the few survivors of the devastating battle […]

Book Review: The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller

The Song of Achilles is the story of the Greek hero of the Trojan War told from the point of view of his lover Patroclus. It was an unlikely friendship. Patroclus, whose name means Honor the Father, was the son of a king of a small Greek kingdom, and a great disappointment to his father. […]

Book Review: 300, The Empire, by Theo Papas

In 300. The Empire, Theo Papas tells the story of how the Greeks of the 5th century B.C. united to fight off the encroachment of the massive and powerful Persian Empire, ruled by King Xerxes. King Xerxes’ father, Darius I, was defeated at the battle of Marathon in 490 B.C. by the Athenians under General […]

Book Review: Palatine by L.J. Trafford

The Roman writer Juvenal wrote that the Roman Empire provided its citizens with bread and circuses. In A.D. 67 the most entertaining circus in town, although most citizens were not privy to it, was the imperial court of Emperor Nero Claudius Caesar Augustus Germanicus, commonly known as Nero. In her book Palatine, L.J. Trafford brings […]

Book Review: Taken At the Flood; The Roman Conquest of Greece, by Robin Waterfield

Ph In my research about the third Punic war, the one in which Rome destroyed Carthage, I ran across an intriguing quote by the Greek historian Polybius. “The ruin of Carthage is indeed considered to have been the greatest of calamities, but when we come to think of it the fate of Greece was no […]

Book Review: Falls the Shadow by Sharon Kay Penman

Every time I read one of Sharon Kay Penman’s novels I’m awed by her writing. I’d give my soul if I could write historical fiction the way she does. Falls the Shadow is the second book of her Welsh Princes Trilogy and continues the story where Here Be Dragons leaves off. Llewellyn Ap Iorwerth dies […]