Conn Iggulden : Emperor The Blood of Gods

Who is Conn Iggulden?

conn_pic

Bio from his own web site

I was born in the normal way in 1971, and vaguely remember half-pennies and sixpences. I have written for as long as I can remember: poetry, short stories and novels. It’s what I always wanted to do and read English at London University with writing in mind. I taught English for seven years and was Head of English at St. Gregory’s RC High School in London by the end of that period. I have enormous respect for those who still labour at the chalk-face. In truth, I can’t find it in me to miss the grind of paperwork and initiatives. I do miss the camaraderie of the smokers’ room, as well as the lessons where their faces lit up as they understood what I was wittering on about.

My mother is Irish and from an early age she told me history as an exciting series of stories – with dates. My great-grandfather was a Seannachie, so I suppose story-telling is in the genes somewhere. My father flew in Bomber Command in WWII, then taught maths and science. Perhaps crucially, he also loved poetry and cracking good tales. Though it seems a dated idea now, I began teaching when boys were told only girls were good at English, despite the great names that must spring to mind after that statement. My father loved working with wood and equations, but he also recited ‘Vitai Lampada’ with a gleam in his eye and that matters, frankly.

I’ve always loved historical fiction as a genre and cut my teeth on Hornblower and Tai-Pan, Flashman, Sharpe and Jack Aubrey. I still remember the sheer joy of reading my first Patrick O’Brian book and discovering there were nineteen more in the series. I love just about anything by David Gemmell, or Peter F. Hamilton or Wilbur Smith. I suppose the one thing that links all those is the love of a good tale.

That’s about it for the moment. There is a contact link off the main page if you’d like to write to me, or perhaps leave a comment in the forum. I’ll leave it there for the moment. If you’ve read my books, you know an awful lot about the way I think already. There’s no point overdoing it.

What is not said, is just how much of a genuinely nice guy Conn is, having met him many times over the last 10 years i can say there are very few genuine story tellers in the world, and even less who would spend the time getting to know his readers as much as Conn does.

So if you like his books go visit his website and forum

http://www.conniggulden.com/Forum/phpBB3/

The Blood of Gods

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Emperor-Blood-Gods-5/dp/0007271174/ref=la_B0024JAJII_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1364849256&sr=1-1

Blood of Gods

The fifth instalment of Conn Iggulden’s bestselling EMPEROR series.

Julius Caesar has been assassinated. A nation is in mourning. Revenge will be bloody.

Rome’s great hero Julius Caesar has been brutally murdered by his most trusted allies. While these self-appointed Liberatores seek refuge in the senate, they have underestimated one man: Caesar’s adopted son Octavian, a man whose name will echo through history as Augustus Caesar.

Uniting with his great rival Mark Antony, Octavian will stop at nothing to seek retribution from the traitors and avenge his father’s death. His greatest hatred is reserved for Brutus, Caesar’s childhood friend and greatest ally, now leader of the conspirators.

As the people take to the streets of Rome, the Liberatores must face their fate. Some flee the city; others will not escape mob justice. Not a single one will die a natural death. And the reckoning will come for Brutus on the sweeping battlefield at Philippi.

Review

So after a gap of 8 years since the last book in this series

Emperor
1. The Gates of Rome (2003)
2. The Death of Kings (2004)
3. The Field of Swords (2004)
4. The Gods of War (2005)
5. The Blood of Gods (2013)

How does this new offering stack up? does it have all that the early books did? or has it progressed with the writers skill?

I’m happy to say that the book retains the passion of the early Emperor books, but incorporates all the lessons learned since that time.

As usual with this series you have to accept the authors slight meddling with the timeline for places and character names, this as per previous books is done to make the book a tight, fast paced novel, whilst retaining the integrity of the history (it is fiction after all). All those niggles the purist may have are answered in the author notes at the back of the book.

This book tells how Octavian starts his rise to power, how does a young boy of 17 take over from his adopted father? how does he suddenly take on the devious and wily Liberatores, the men who killed Caesar? And how does he command the respect of the people and legions of Rome?

Conn gives a convincing and powerful portrayal of this young man and his two friends Agrippa and Maecenas, their journey from adolescents enjoying leave in Greece, to absorbing the news of the murder of the greatest man of their age and then the audacity and prowess needed to take on the might of the senate, Cassius, Brutus, Mark Anthony and the systemic corruption and arrogance of the Roman elite.

Conn charts this progress with skill and believability, we know Octavian managed all this, what many know is how, the high level story but we don’t know all the problems he faced along the way. One of the best parts of Conn’s writing and research is how he mixes in all the little facts, the nuggets that are so strange they sound like fiction, and turn out to be true. When you couple that with his natural storytelling skill, you get a stunning novel.
You know the type of bloke, a person who in face to face in conversation can just keep a whole room captivated. He is the type of guy you either hated at school or wanted as your best mate. I think we just need to be thankful he became a writer so we get to enjoy that natural storytelling talent, rather than him being the centre of attention in the pub on a Friday night.

Are there issues with the book?

Yes, it’s not long enough this story deserves a whole series all on its own, the story of Octavian is just as epic as Gaius Julius Caesar, in fact possibly more so, Octavian was thrown in at the deep end Caesar had time to build and learn. Octavian was the true father of Imperial Rome and ruled until the age of 75, which in Rome is unprecedented. This series was supposed to end with book 4 and yet we have book 5 and WOW am i glad we do…will Conn cave and do book 6? I doubt it but never say never. I still hold out hope of another Genghis book but don’t ever expect to get one.

After this brilliant book we have a shift in time periods for Conn his next book is set somewhat later than this series, and when i have more i will blog on it, he will be at a new publishers also, so we should see some fantastic new cover styles to compliment the book.

Many thanks to Harper Collins for bringing us such a fine writer and so many brilliant tales.

But for now, Conn signs off with Harper in style, with a truly powerful dramatic tale that fulfilled almost every expectation I had for Octavian’s rise to power.

Very Highly recommended

(Parm)

Conn made my Top 10 books list, see which book and where http://headofzeus.com/article/my-top-10-books-robin-carter

For Conn’s other books see below

Emperor

1. The Gates of Rome (2003)
2. The Death of Kings (2004)
3. The Field of Swords (2004)
4. The Gods of War (2005)
5. The Blood of Gods (2013)
Gates of Rome / Death of Kings (omnibus) (2009)
Emperor: The Gates of Rome / The Death of Kings / The Field of Swords / The Gods of War (omnibus) (2011)
The Gates of RomeThe Death of KingsThe Field of SwordsThe Gods of War
The Blood of GodsEmperor: The Gates of Rome / The Death of Kings / The Field of Swords / The Gods of War
Conqueror
1. Wolf of the Plains (2007)
aka Genghis: Birth of an Empire
2. Lords of the Bow (2008)
aka Genghis: Lords of the Bow
3. Bones of the Hills (2008)
4. Empire of Silver (2010)
aka Khan: Empire of Silver
5. Conqueror (2011)
Conqueror and Lords of the Bow (omnibus) (2009)
The Khan Series (omnibus) (2012)
Conqueror Series 5-Book Bundle (omnibus) (2013)
Wolf of the PlainsLords of the BowBones of the HillsEmpire of Silver
ConquerorThe Khan SeriesConqueror Series 5-Book Bundle
Tollins
1. Tollins: Explosive Tales for Children (2009)
2. Dynamite Tales (2011) (with Lizzy Duncan)
Tollins: Explosive Tales for ChildrenDynamite Tales
Quick Reads 2012
Quantum of Tweed: The Man with the Nissan Micra (2012)
Quantum of Tweed: The Man with the Nissan Micra
Novellas
Blackwater (2006)
Blackwater
Non fiction
The Dangerous Book for Boys (2006) (with Hal Iggulden)
The Dangerous Book for Boys Yearbook (2007) (with Hal Iggulden)
The Pocket Dangerous Book for Boys: Things to Do (2007) (with Hal Iggulden)
The Pocket Dangerous Book for Boys: Things to Know (2008)(with Hal Iggulden)
The Pocket Dangerous Book for Boys: Wonders of the World(2008) (with Hal Iggulden)
The Dangerous Book for Boys Kit: How to Get There (2008)
The Dangerous Book for Boys Kit: Nature Fun (2008)
The Dangerous Book for Boys: 2009 Day-to-Day Calendar(2008)
The Pocket Dangerous Book for Boys: Facts, Figures and Fun(2008)
The Dangerous Book of Heroes (2009) (with David Iggulden)
The Dangerous Book for Boys 2010 Day-to-Day Calendar (2009)(with Hal Iggulden)
The Dangerous Book for BoysThe Dangerous Book for Boys YearbookThe Pocket Dangerous Book for Boys: Things to DoThe Pocket Dangerous Book for Boys: Things to Know
The Pocket Dangerous Book for Boys: Wonders of the WorldThe Dangerous Book for Boys Kit: How to Get ThereThe Dangerous Book for Boys Kit: Nature FunThe Dangerous Book for Boys: 2009 Day-to-Day Calendar
The Pocket Dangerous Book for Boys: Facts, Figures and FunThe Dangerous Book of HeroesThe Dangerous Book for Boys 2010 Day-to-Day Calendar
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1 Comment

Filed under Historical Fiction

One response to “Conn Iggulden : Emperor The Blood of Gods

  1. Pingback: Parmenion Books 2013 in review | parmenionbooks

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