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Caligula Hardcover – Large Print, August 15, 2009

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Editorial Reviews

Review

"Jackson brings a visceral realism to Rome in the days of the mad Caligula" Daily Mail "A young animal trainer for the gladiatorial games is plunged into the paranoid world of Emperor Caligula's court in this gripping Roman thriller" Scotland on Sunday "Light and dark in equal measure, colourful, thoughtful and bracing" -- Manda Scott "Jackson brought Rome alive for me, chilling, deadly and magnetic. A wonder filled novel from a master of his trade" -- Anne Berry, author of The Hungry Ghosts

About the Author

Douglas Jackson was born in Jedburgh in the Scottish borders and now lives in Bridge of Allan. He is an assistant editor at the Scotsman.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 630 pages
  • Publisher: Magna Large Print Books; Large type edition edition (August 15, 2009)
  • ISBN-10: 0750531177
  • ISBN-13: 978-0750531177
  • Product Dimensions: 8.9 x 5.9 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (27 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #5,318,985 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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More About the Author

Douglas Jackson is the author of the successful historical novels Caligula and Claudius and my next book Hero of Rome, the first of a new trilogy, will be published in July 2010. I was born in Jedburgh on the border between England and Scotland in the summer of 1956. It's a place full of history and haunted by the ghosts of Border reivers and the victims of centuries of bloody border warfare. I left school three weeks before my 16th birthday with six O levels and no idea what I was going to do with the rest of my life. Luckily, a friend worked in the local employment office and got me a place on a youth work scheme. It turned out to be restoring a Roman marching camp in the Cheviot Hills and I had a wonderful summer turning turf and dreaming of Romans. Later I joined my local paper and for the next 36 years worked in local and national newspapers in Scotland, including the Daily Record and the Scotsman. I left the Scotsman after nine years as assistant editor in the summer of 2009 to become a full-time writer.

Get in touch or become a fan on my Facebook page www.facebook.com/pages/Doug-Jackson-author/245467143762?ref=nf

Visit my websites at www.douglas-jackson.net and http://authorsplace.co.uk/doug-jackson

Or read my blog about the highs and lows of becoming a published author on http://dougsbookblog.blogspot.com

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

17 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Jeannie Mancini VINE VOICE on December 29, 2009
Format: Paperback
Douglas Jackson's debut novel Caligula arrives strong to the historical fiction genre where the competition among peer authors Bernard Cornwell, Conn Iggulden, John Stack, Steven Pressfield, and Valerio Manfredi is getting very strong. There are many new talented authors writing ancient Rome and Greece novels and Jackson certainly proves he can keep up with the best.

Set in Ancient Rome this is a gritty novel about two slaves under the tyranny of one of Rome's most evil Emperors, Gaius Julius Caesar Augustus Germanicus, otherwise known to us all as Caligula. Born bad, with a blackened heart and soul, Caligula from little boy to man is as mad as a hatter, sadistic, greedy, and cold blooded.

Rufus is a young boy with a love of animals that shows talent as he is bought as a slave and apprentice to an animal trader who travels far and wide to bring the most exotic and wildest of beasts to the arena games of the Circus Maximus. Rufus' way with animals and his ability to tame and earn their trust proves beneficial to his master, allowing the duo to exhibit and delight the blood thirsty fans of Rome, with new and entertaining animal spectacles the crowds have never seen before. Working within the gladiatorial arena, watching and learning with the best fighters, Rufus befriends a young gladiator named Cupido, whose strength and courage catches Caligula's eye and is soon transferred out of the arena to be one of the Emperor's private Praetorian Guards.

Delighting the Emperor with his natural charm with animals, Rufus is also torn from his master as Caligula purchases him to care for his most prized possession, an African elephant named Bersheba.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By R.W. Peake on May 17, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition
I'll admit I didn't know what to expect when, as I was looking for some audiobooks to help me on a semi-regular 5,000 mile round trip from where I live now to my old hometown, I came across this story of Rufus, the slave animal trainer.

I will also say that, since the focus of my own books are the Legions of Rome, I was a bit skeptical that I would find something to grab onto in the story that is not, at least on its surface, involved with the Legions and warfare.

Thankfully, I was wrong; I found this story captured, and more importantly held my interest through the long, grinding hours of a drive that covers a vast portion of the western U.S. I found that with every scene involving Rufus, Fronto and Cupido (I think I got the spelling right but I did listen to this story so I can't be sure) I became more and more engrossed in the story.

I also thought his characterization, and humanizing, of Caligula was very good, and probably accurate. Looking back through time, we have a tendency to assess figures from history using the prism of a lens ground by the values and conventions of our own period, and to view these characters as flat, one-dimensional people who were cut out of just one color cloth. Mr. Jackson did an excellent job, at least IMO, of providing some layering to Gaius Caligula, where I felt more connected, and sympathetic, towards him than I would have normally.

But I have to say that the secret weapon employed by Mr. Jackson, that grabbed not just my attention but my heart, was Bethsheba, the elephant.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Alistair Forrest on September 2, 2009
Format: Paperback
Jackson has an easy style and some nice touches, like his hero's connection with animals (mainly an elephant) and a spying dwarf for a wife. I almost dropped Jackson a star for the horrid bits, like the ghastly death of the hero's mentor, but gave him the benefit of the doubt as he was after all dealing with the excesses of a cruel emperor. Jackson does his research well and spots opportunities to get behind events and trends in ancient Rome, the depravity of an Emperor and the corruption of officials. I look forward to the continuing story in Claudius in which I gather the hero, Rufus, takes his Elephant on the campaign trail to Britain... interesting. I look forward to it! Libertas
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Musicals Freak on September 15, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
The main character in the novel is a young man of 17 or 18 named Rufus. Rufus is a slave purchased to care for and train the Imperial elephant. Caligula shows up on the ceremonial displays for which the elephant is needed and is rather a tertiary character, which I find to be disappointing. Rufus and his dealings with palace intrigue are plenty interesting, but why isn't this book titled something that gives the buyer a better idea of what it is really about? This is the first of a trilogy. I bought "Claudius," the second one, but if it is like this book, with the main focus on others, I will get a copy of Robert Graves's 1934 "I, Claudius" and call it a day.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Jason Frost VINE VOICE on July 22, 2011
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I had a lot of fun reading this book. I bought this book at face value based only on the title and cover. Well... not really. A friend of mine suggested I read Mr. Jackson because I was looking for another who wrote fictional books on Rome. The initial gut feeling I got when I saw the cover was a good one and you should always go with your gut. Once I read the prologue I knew I had my next book. The main character is a slave named Rufus, and Rufus has a special gift of working with animals. Because of this his life is put on a collision course with the infamous Roman emperor Caligula.

Now despite this book being named `Caligula' it really deals more with Rufus than that depraved cretin. Like I said Rufus has a special gift and he is bought (more like stolen) from his current master to serve the emperor. Caligula has an elephant and has hired Rufus to care for her. Of course this being Rome and Rome being the beautiful ancient enigma she is, nothing is what it seems. Even olives carry the hint of conspiracies. Before Rufus started his corporate job as the Emperors elephant keeper he was a slave and semi-reluctant friend of his master named Fronto.

Fronto recognizes Rufu's gifts and teaches him probably more than a master should teach a slave. Because of this they develop a bond and this bond leads Rufus to meet Cupido. Cupido is a gladiator and one of the best of his time. He's a killer through and through but to call him a reluctant killer wouldn't place you far from the mark. Two slaves with a unique friendship, haunted by their demons, and ruled by a man that is crazier than Slingblade wearing a nut-coat hanging out on the Green Mile.

Both men have to deal with everyday life in Rome as well as the brutal mood swings of Caligula.
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