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Conspiracies of Rome (Aelric) Paperback – May 1, 2011


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Product Details

  • Series: Aelric (Book 1)
  • Paperback: 358 pages
  • Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton (May 1, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0340951133
  • ISBN-13: 978-0340951132
  • Product Dimensions: 7.9 x 5.1 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.5 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,211,239 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"It's simply the best historical novel I've ever read, perhaps short of C.S. Forester. It's a very great deal better than any of the ancient Roman detective novels I've seen."  —L. Neil Smith, author, Forge of the Elders


"I can't resist recommending this first volume of a promised trilogy. . . . well-informed, atmospheric and beautifully written."  —Literary Review

About the Author

Richard Blake is a lecturer, historian, broadcaster, and writer.

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Rob Northrup on April 7, 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Part thriller, part mystery, part history lesson.

I love historical fiction and this is the best I have ever read. As a big fan of Ken Follett's best work like Pillars of the Earth I am always looking for more great books like it...

Conspiracies of Rome perfectly captures a time and a place that we don't hear much about- 7th Century Rome. At this point, Rome is all ready in full decline after the fall. The people here are grappling with the fact that they have been on top for a thousand years and now they are no longer king of the hill. And all that entails.

There are interesting parallels to the present world situation and it brings up many important things to ponder.

For a book that is this good, I am surprised at the lack of reviews here. Just get this book, you will be rewarded...
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Ventura Angelo on December 6, 2010
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Rome in its darkest age is poignantly depicted in this exquisite historical thriller, featuring the barbarous Aelric traveling with Father Maximin to Rome in a literary quest to salvage cultural treasure from oblivion, books to copy and send to an England whose contact with Rome, no more caput mundi but still harbouring a powerful Catholic Church has recently been renewed. As with the Republivcan Rome by Steven Saylor, you feel its spirit in the writing of the Author, more learned than ut seems. Aelric will find himself in a web of conspiracy, where no-one could be trusted to be what he-she claims to be. a gripping, wholly satisfying read!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Matt Hinds on April 23, 2012
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You are there in Rome in the early 600's. Stop in for dinner at the genteel poverty of inbred Senator so and so, the stinky sewer outside is blocked up from decades of neglect, the bread is stamped with the logo of Pope Boniface, the founder of this feast. Rome's few thousand residents mostly depend on this bread dole. Across town the Panthion is being converted into a church. Incense is coming to town for this consecration.
This is the first novel for the author. His setting, Italy a generation after Justinian's disasterous reconquest, is an era few know anything about. I got it because I am fairly familiar with the era but I didn't expect much. Probably a shallow mystery, easily figured out, with a bleary setting that could just almost as easily be say New York in 1980. I was pleasantly surprized, Conspiracies of Rome is a mystery that kept me guessing right to the end. The important part for me, the setting, is accurate. I reviewed my Gibbon and Procopius to make sure. Can this be a first novel? This guy must be smart. It even has a few (trumpets please) underlying themes, a depth. The themes are more or less about slavery, greed, redemption and religion and are not pushed too hard. Ok forget the trumpets, this isn't Moby Dick or Vanity Fair. Moving on the author didn't just get the crumbling city right but also on a deeper level the characters think and react like people would in that time and place not modern people dumped in. So I say come on and read this one.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Bob Jarvis on May 13, 2012
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Congratulations to the author for a wonderfully effective setting of 7th. century Italy. His powerful descriptions of the crumbling and decaying grandeur that had once been ancient Rome are quite superb. Lots of very strongly presented characters also add to the mix. This, together with the first person telling of the tale by the irreverent, libidinous outrageous and bitingly witty Aelric makes this novel a pleasure to read. Felt he did use a few too many "modernisms" in his speech that grated a little with me. He was "bombed out" by the pills. He was "fagged out" after a hard day. Minor irritation!
Since I am not a huge murder mystery fan and, almost certainly due to my own inadequacies, I subsequently missed a lot of the logic that was revealed in the unravelling of this one. I also personally thought the main thrust of the plot was a little flimsy and unbelievable.
That said, I am ready to proceed with Aelric on his continuing adventures.
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