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No Roads Leads to Rome Paperback – November 7, 2013

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Editorial Reviews


Publishers Weekly: The Roman Empire is at a crossroads, and Emperor Hadrian, realizing that continued expansion will make the empire's borders indefensible, decrees consolidation to a size the legions can better guard...Surviving on graft, plots, kickbacks and bribery, the Empire lurches on while Hispania is beset by slave revolts, food riots, uncollected taxes, and bad wine. And so the province's leadership must resort to a series of desperate illusions to disguise its failings. All this is recounted swiftly, with verve, panache, and a light tread that makes for a delightful, well told tale.

From the Author

"No Roads Lead to Rome" was partially inspired by the often surreal and comical situations I encountered working for large American corporation  and living in Barcelona, Spain from 2000-2005.   
  Living and traveling around the Mediterranean meant constant encounters with the history,  artifacts, and residual vibrations of  the Roman Empire, one of the world's first true superpowers.
  I came to suspect that people in ancient times  wrestled with similar issues to ours in modern times. Large organizations--ancient empires or modern corporations--are composed of people, and our quirks and foibles have not changed  much over the years.
  While history buffs may find a few bones to pick, I did extensive research to capture the sensations, sights and smells of  Tarragona, Spain--Tarraco--in A.D. 123. Readers enjoy the perspective of a distant, slightly warped lens to examine both the past and present. 
  The humorous decline and fall continues as history repeats again in the sequel, "Aqueduct to Nowhere."
  There's no time like the past to laugh at the present. Here's hoping you enjoy the read and that all your roads lead to Rome!

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Via del Prat; 2nd edition (November 7, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0982582900
  • ISBN-13: 978-0982582909
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.5 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (41 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,419,760 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

R.S. Gompertz grew up in a suburb of Disneyland. Since then, he has lived and worked in the USA, France and Spain.

He writes historical fiction served up in a thick broth of humor and adventure.

"No Roads Lead to Rome" takes place in A.D. 123, a time not unlike the present, and chronicles the decline and fall of damn near everything. The saga continues in "Aqueduct to Nowhere."

While working on "No Roads," he published "The Expat's Pajamas: Barcelona," a series of articles about travel and expat life
A collection of his humorous articles can be found in "Quirk In Progress."

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

23 of 26 people found the following review helpful By Constant Reader on October 29, 2009
Format: Kindle Edition
Humor, wit, a considerable amount about Rome you never knew before, marvelous characters, antic humor and profound observations, No Roads Lead to Rome is a must read for this generation. I have not had the chance to read many authors who are this funny. It's hard to read aloud because the chuckles get in the way. The richness of this book is such that you will be arguing with friends about your favorite character. There are so many to love and hate and some with whom you cannot help but empathize even if their bizarre actions make you shake your head. They complicate their own lives in ways that are all too human. I understand there is a sequel to this book and it deserves several. This is a whole world teaming with manic motives and noble aspirations that mirror our present age with biting wit and a lot of heart. It's a great read.
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26 of 32 people found the following review helpful By Jason Golomb VINE VOICE on June 10, 2010
Format: Paperback
I really wanted to like this book. The premise is strong: In the reign of Hadrian, an aging Roman warrior seeks an end to his army career; an uncaring and cantankerous governor of a Roman outpost takes control of his new post; a mysterious box contains a secret and politically explosive document. This self-published book was also attempting to take a novel approach to the sand-and-sandal epic by introducing a light and more humorous voice and approach.

Author R.S. Gompertz writing is, at times, very strong. He does a wonderful job with exposition, and his powers of description bely the fact that this is his first novel. An example as Centurion Valerius walks through the Roman province of Hispania: "The misty silhouettes of trees reached over the path like bony arms of death...The gray gloom infiltrated every wet breath that Valerius suck through his teeth." I truly enjoyed Gompertz' mood and scenery setting.

Where Gompertz fails is in the cohesiveness of the story, the dialogue and an ability to draw the reader into his characters. The story doesn't have the strong connective component from chapter to chapter, or as one transitions between scenes, that one finds in more polished work. The dialogue is stilted and I found myself re-reading conversations to try and get a comprehensive grasp of motivation and understand the base meaning of an exchange between characters (let alone trying to identify what deeper meaning there may have been).

In the end, I suspect the novel would move from a 2-star rating to a high 3 or 4 with some professional editing. Gompertz is a genuinely good writer and has a fine sense of humor. Those components alone aren't able to make up for a fractured and disconnected story.

I look forward to Gompertz securing a publishing contract and the services of a strong editor.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By skay on December 27, 2009
Format: Paperback
I thoroughly enjoyed the twists and turns in the road. Lots of pointed humor transgressing time and pointing to the futility of mankind and our abilities to constantly screw up and then do it again and again. Almost like the Myth of Sisyphus--the rock keeps rolling over the pusher and one wonders how and why they keep getting up. A new perspective on ancient history: the true beginning of civilization. I'm glad that there is a somewhat happy ending as I got quite close to the quirky characters.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Carolyn J. Rose on April 17, 2010
Format: Paperback
I thought the problems of modern corporate culture were, well, modern, until R.S. Gompertz made me think again. He also made me chuckle, snicker, and even snort.

In No Roads Lead to Rome, he satirizes managerial incompetence, consultants run amok, staff corruption, failures to communicate, corporate double-speak, fuzzy mission statements, faulty goals, cost over-runs, and the art of passing the buck--or should I say passing the sesterce, the coin of the Roman realm?

It's 123 AD and Centurion Marcus Valerian is mere months away from completing twenty years of service to the Roman Empire. A veteran of African campaigns, he's been summoned to Hispania. But the provincial governor who sent for him is dead--and not from accident or old age.

At Hispania's helm is Festus Rufius, a man who's all about himself, and his advisor, Winus Minem, a consultant with the ethics of a vulture employed by a firm called Imperial Associates. Festus Rufius can't balance a budget or find his way around his own villa, but he's as crafty as the Borgias and sees that the road to success lies through another funeral--that of the Emperor Hadrian.

Will his plot succeed? Or will Marcus Valerian overcome all odds--including an astounding lack of ethics, honesty, and integrity-to save the emperor and the ideals that made him sign on to serve the Republic?

No Roads Lead to Rome won't make you love your cubicle or your boss, but it will make you grateful that you're not in the mountains of Hispania with your sandals full of snow and a pack of double-dealers plotting to make sure you don't live long enough to collect your pension. And it will make you laugh. A lot.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By J Groff on December 16, 2009
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This book is well written with great use of language and detail that makes Rome and the characters pop from the page in vivid detail. The author subtly works in a great deal of humor that will make you laugh out loud as you read. Characters and plot quickly develop to reveal a thoughtful, entertaining story. I haven't been this entertained by a novel in quite sometime and recommend this book to all.
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