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Caligula (Roman Trilogy 1) [Kindle Edition]

Douglas Jackson
3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (22 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Gaius Julius Caesar Augustus Germanicus, the third Roman Emperor, is better known by another name: Caligula, a name synonymous with decadence, cruelty and madness. His reign was marked by excess, huge building projects, the largest gladiatorial battles Rome was ever to see - men and animals killed in their hundreds - conspiracies, assassination attempts and sexual scandal.



Rufus as a young slave grows up far from the corruption of the imperial court. His master is a trainer of animals for the gladiatorial arena. Rufus discovers that he has a natural ability with animals, a talent for controlling and schooling them. It is at the arenas that Rufus meets his great friend Cupido, one of Rome's greatest gladiators.



It is his growing reputation as an animal trainer and his friendship with Cupido that attracts the cruel gaze of the Emperor. Caligula wants a keeper for the imperial elephant and Rufus is bought from his master and taken to the imperial palace. Life here is dictated by Caligula's ever shifting moods. Caligula is as generous as he is cruel, he is a megalomaniac who declares himself a living god and simultaneously lives in constant fear of the plots against his life. But his paranoia is not misplaced, intrigue permeates his court, and Rufus and Cupido find themselves unwittingly placed at the centre of a conspiracy to assassinate the Emperor.



Editorial Reviews

Review

"Light and dark in equal measure, colorful, thoughtful and bracing."  —Manda Scott, author, Dreaming the Eagle

About the Author

Douglas Jackson is an assistant editor at The Scotsman.


From the Trade Paperback edition.

Product Details

  • File Size: 485 KB
  • Print Length: 496 pages
  • Publisher: Transworld Digital; Reprint edition (September 4, 2008)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B0031RS3H6
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #293,349 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Gladiators and Emperors 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
5.0 out of 5 stars A great surprise! 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
5.0 out of 5 stars The elephant and the dwarf 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
3.0 out of 5 stars Interesting story, but not about Caligula 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 not 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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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Historical Fiction based on Fact April 23, 2013
By Cindy F
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This is the first of a series about Rome after Julius Caesar. For me, historical novels are best when fact is wrapped around a fictional character who brings the story to life, and this one lives up to my expectations.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars An Absolutely Terribel Book
This book is simply not worth reading. It is hard to imagine that a writer like Douglas Jackson could write such a book. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Judith A. Weller
5.0 out of 5 stars A great book!
A great tale brining to life a time desperation in Rome under a crazed Emperor. Unbelievable cruelty and madness by Caligula
Published 7 months ago by Flowerbud2800
4.0 out of 5 stars entertaining and informative a very good read
I had never read about the the mad God emperor Caligula. Extremely well written
and great way of bringing all sections of Rome to light In an intriguing story. Read more
Published 7 months ago by Cesar A.
3.0 out of 5 stars a quick read but not one of the better ones I have read recently
It was ok but not as good as I expected based on other reviews. The historical perspective was just too farcical. Read more
Published 9 months ago by dentistattorney
4.0 out of 5 stars Exciting as all Jackson books
Pageturner, loved it
Just waiting for his next book so I can enjoy all free moments to sit down and let my mind wonder away to ancient Rome
Published 12 months ago by Surferdude from Norway
4.0 out of 5 stars I liked it!
It took me a few chapters to get into it, but then my attention was captured and I did not want to put it down!
Published 12 months ago by michael
3.0 out of 5 stars Good but not great.
I found this book interesting but lacking in history insight.
alsowas not thrilled with the main person as a animal trainer.
Published 16 months ago by roland st james
3.0 out of 5 stars Good
A good read but not as enjoyable as the Gaius Verrens trilogy but still an enjoyable read, especially as one of his earlier books.
Published 18 months ago by Kiwitiger
3.0 out of 5 stars the elephant trainer and the gladiator
The title of the book is a misnomer as the main character in the book is a slave elephant trainer (Rufus) and his best friend, German gladiator-turned-emperor's bodyguard (Cupido). Read more
Published 19 months ago by ZackB
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book, and speedy delivery
I was delighted to receive Douglas Jackson's book Caligula so quickly, and the book was in great condition and exactly as described, so I was a happy camper.
Published on April 4, 2012 by W. B. Anderson
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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

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