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Colossus: Stone and Steel by [Blixt, David]
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Colossus: Stone and Steel Kindle Edition

4.8 out of 5 stars 12 customer reviews

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Length: 310 pages Word Wise: Enabled Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
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Editorial Reviews

Review

"Put this one on your short list! David Blixt makes the tragic tale of the conflict between ancient Rome and Ancient Judea come vividly to life." - Robin Levin, author of THE DEATH OF CARTHAGE

From the Author


           Unlike my other books, COLOSSUS wasn't born from a line in Shakespeare, but in a very specific place. A place that never actually appears in the novel, that won't be seen until book five of this series. It's a rather small church in Rome, just south of the Colosseum - the Basilica of San Clemente.  
           I was overseas on the modern equivalent of the Grand Tour, a semester-long trip hosted by Eastern Michigan University called the European Cultural History Tour. It started in Oxford, and went to a staggering list of cities over four months. For brevity's sake, I'll only list countries or islands - England, France, Norway, Sweden, Finland, Russia, Poland, Germany, the Czech Republic, Austria, Italy, Greece, Crete, Rhodes, Turkey, Egypt, and Israel. It was amazing, a whirlwind tour with professors in tow, lecturing on art in the Louvre, on politics on the Acropolis, on history in the Roman Forum.
           One of the places our Art History professor Benita took us was St. Clement's. We'd just been to the Colosseum that morning, and I remember waiting outside on a bench and wondering what was so important about this sleepy church. Going in, the mosaics are pretty incredible. And being the home of the Irish Dominicans in exile is historically neat. But that isn't what makes Saint Clement's amazing.
           It's the excavation.
            They've dug down, and created a tour through the history of Rome itself. As a city that's always building up upon it self, it's often hard to see ancient Rome in anything but the famous edifices and the shapes of the streets. But here is Rome encapsulated. You start in an 17th century church, then descend into an early 12th century church, then to a 4th century church, a 3rd century Mithraeum (temple to the god Mithras), then finally to a 1st century Roman street and insula (apartment). You can hear the Tiber running just under your feet through the ancient sewer system.
            It was such an experience to travel through time that way, when I was looking for new matter to write upon, I thought about a novel tracing history through those layers.
            I never got past that 1st century street. Because I started looking into Saint Clement himself, and what was going on when he was living there - the fall of Jerusalem, the building of the Colosseum, the rise of Christianity in Rome. That was how the Colossus series was born. It starts small, almost intimately, with two Judean brothers at the siege of Jotapata. But in the next several books, the scope widens out, keeping those brothers as our base and our eyes as we explore how drastically the world changed in just that little span of time.
            COLOSSUS: STONE & STEEL. The start to a grand adventure.

Product Details

  • File Size: 929 KB
  • Print Length: 310 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0615783171
  • Publisher: Sordelet Ink (April 23, 2012)
  • Publication Date: April 23, 2012
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B007XK66KI
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
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  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #962,482 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By T. Sullivan on June 9, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Having eagerly read my way through the three available novels in David Blixt's "Star-Crossed Lovers" series, I happily moved on to Colossus, the first in his new cycle. What I found was both surprising and deeply satisfying.

Unlike other authors whose various multi-book story lines all feel interchangeable, Blixt has found totally different voices for his. Instead of renaming and recycling characters and introducing them into a different time period, this author not only gives the reader truly new, though no less intriguing, characters, but also a very different narrative rhythm. Fortunately for fans, Blixt is talented enough to do so while still maintaining his gift for wrapping a deep love of history and painstaking research in quick moving, riveting plots and action sequences.

I've long been intrigued by the actual historical events that shaped modern Israel and the ancient political machinations that lie at the root of so much of middle eastern politics. Blixt's telling of the siege of Jotopata added yet another piece to a provocative, complicated puzzle. Time and time again, I found myself thinking of famed author Leon Uris and his masterful telling of other events in Jewish history. Blixt follows well in his footsteps.

My only complaint is that I was shocked to find myself at the end of the novel- not because the ending isn't perfectly logical in its placement, but because I was so involved I wasn't ready for the story to end! Looking forward to the next installment!
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Yis'gadal, v'yit'kadash sh'mei raba. . . . May his great name grow exalted and sanctified. . . The Jewish mourner's Kaddish, spoken in every Jewish prayer service. Unlike other prayers which are in Hebrew, the mourner's Kaddish is in Aramaic, the language spoken in Judea at the time of the Roman conquest. I always assumed that this was because the Romans gave Judeans many thousands of opportunities to say it.
David Blixt's Colossus: Stone and Steel brings the struggle between Rome and Judea vividly to life. The fictional heroes of the story are twin brothers Judah and Asher ben Matthias, both master stone masons. The twins are identical but have very different personalities: Judah is a warrior while Asher is a scholar. Judah remains in Jerusalem with his father while Asher goes off to Alexandria to pursue learning.
Judea is governed by Gessius Florus, a Roman equite whose rapacity and brutality are extreme even by Roman standards. Florus has provoked the Judeans to arms by profaning the Temple of Solomon. Judah has taken up arms to avenge his brother, whom he believes has perished at the hands of the Romans in Alexandria. A battle takes place at Beth Horon, and Judah heroically manages to capture the Roman eagle, the sacred standard of the 15th legion. Judah wishes to marry Deborah, the brother of Phannius, another mason, but even the capture of the eagle doesn't persuade the girl's mother, who thinks Judah's family beneath hers.
Ancient Rome might occasionally lose battles, but it did not lose wars. When Caesar Nero gets word of this rebellion while on his concert tour of Greece, he appoints his general Vespasian to bring several legions to Judea to put down the rebels.
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Blixt sets himself a very complex task and pulls it off. He sets the scene in Rome and in Judea for a turning point in the history of Rome and our world. The great source for the Vespasian period is Josephus. We see how he rose in the revolt and his connection with the Flavians. We see the nightmare that is Rome - where no man or woman is safe. And while we learn these things, he grips us with an unfolding narrative and characters we care about.

I immediately bought the next book
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I've read and enjoyed every one of David Blixt's novels, particularly the Star-Cross'd (Master of Verona) series, and I had a fairly superficial understanding of the events and personages of the historical period covered in the Colossus novels. Once again, Blixt brings history to life with a hearty blend of actual historical figures and some fictional, illuminating actual events and locales in a way no history class or text ever could. His use of language, dialogue and geographical description immerses the reader in the time and place; his characterizations, including breathing life into the real historical actors, makes the reader feel like they are walking in the shoes of the characters, whether protagonist or antagonist. Few novelists (none better in my estimation) write such compelling action sequences -- so riveting it's like watching them on film.

This first novel introduces the fictional Judah and Asher ben Matthias, identical twins who are masons by trade (Asher is a scholar as well), but who become warriors in the heroic defense of Judea against the oppression of Nero's legions under the direction of Vespasian ... more about all of them in book 2 of the series: The Four Emperors.

These novels have it all: political and personal intrigue, internecine struggles to maintain religious and secular control over nations and people, loyalty, love, betrayal, riveting action ... when this book ends you'll want to immediately pick up where it leaves off with book 2 in the series and hope that Blixt has book 3 coming quickly down the pike!
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