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The Field of Swords (Emperor, Book 3) Hardcover – March 1, 2005

4.5 out of 5 stars 95 customer reviews
Book 3 of 5 in the Emperor Series

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

The third (after Emperor: The Gates of Rome and Emperor: The Death of Kings) of four projected volumes in the much-praised fiction series based on the life and times of Julius Caesar, this sweeping epic resumes the narrative in Spain where young Julius is fantasizing about the conquests of Alexander the Great. After four prosperous years with the Tenth Legion in Spain, Julius has discovered gold and decides to return to Rome with his loyal general, Brutus. There, rich with Spanish loot, Julius enters into an alliance with Pompey, a popular and autocratic military leader, and his older, wealthy co-consul, Crassus. Sponsored by this pair of influential and unscrupulous politicians, Julius is elected consul and assumes charge of an expedition to Gaul with full powers to take spoils and rule his conquests in the name of Rome. His eventual victory over Vercingetorix is only postponed by a daring side campaign in Britain. The novel ends as Julius receives word that Pompey plans to have him slain, and Julius, Brutus and Mark Antony prepare to march on Rome, leaving avid readers athirst to read the final volume. Iggulden has been gathering momentum gradually over his first two installments, and here he blasts full steam ahead, with blistering battle scenes ("there was more flesh than grass") and rapier-sharp political intrigue.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

This title is the third volume in Iggulden's projected four-volume Emperor series, following Emperor: The Gates of Rome (2003) and Emperor: The Death of Kings (2004). The series continues to be a highly (and authentically) detailed, fast-paced, and elaborately plotted saga based on the life of the greatest Roman of them all, Julius Caesar. As the second volume ended, readers saw Caesar gathering an impressive record as a military leader. Now, in the new installment, Caesar is taking significant steps into the complex arena of the politics of the Roman republic and moves further to the forefront with his famous conquest of Britain. Caesar is inarguably a man of ambition, and the results of his ambition are dramatically played out as the series proceeds. Brad Hooper
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
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Product Details

  • Series: Emperor (Book 3)
  • Hardcover: 480 pages
  • Publisher: Delacorte Press; 1st edition (March 1, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0385336632
  • ISBN-13: 978-0385336635
  • Product Dimensions: 7.1 x 1.4 x 9.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.7 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (95 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #460,139 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
Knowing full well that Igguldens' retelling of Gaius Julius Caesar's life owes very little to actual historical fact and much to pure fantasy I set about this third installment curious to know precisely what period had gone through the mangle this time and what the result would be. Apart from the wincing at the total exclusion of Marcus Tullius Cicero's finest hour in 63BC in stopping the Catiline Conspiracy (Julius gets the credit here and it's brought forward 4 years as well - never mind), the blatant chronological reversal of Clodius' death in 52 and the invasion of Britain in 55/54, and the casual use of Cabera to act as the soothsayer for the infamous Ides of March quote nearly a decade ahead of reality... I was cautiously optimistic by page 200 or so.

The third in Iggulden's Emperor series opens with our young praetor with his Tenth legion in Spain with Brutus and his extraordinarii cavalry. Dark, moody and brooding the mix is swiftly stirred as Brutus' courtesan mother, Servilia, turns up with three girls to make a handsome profit and catch Julius' eye. From there he swiftly returns to the political mire of Rome, coming up against both Gnaeus Pompeius Magnus and Marcus Licinius Crassus as he seeks to establish himself in Rome and take his first consulship. Much of this is given over in two very lengthy episodes - the first his quelling of the Crassus backed Catiline conspiracy, the second over a gladiator contest for Marcus Brutus to be First Sword in Rome. Once this has been achieved Caesar hotfoots it to Gaul with his comrades in tow wearing silver armour to start conquering the land.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I'm a big fan of Roman History and have studied it extensively: I've been to Rome and all over Italy more times than I can count. I type that, not to pass myself off as an expert, but in the hopes that this information will put my review in context.
So...what did I think?
I enjoyed the writing style and the story line a lot but really struggle with how badly mis-characterized some of the major historical figures are. Octavian is one of my favorite people in history and this books absolutely misses the boat on him and that flaw alone drives me batty to the point of distraction. With each historical character, it feels as if Igguiden didn't even attempt to tap into their writings or exploits in order to connect his story and the characters with reality.
It's hard to rate, in that I've read and enjoyed these books, but in order to do so, I had to divorce myself from any knowledge or sense of who these men and women were in real life, or, more appropriately, how I envisioned them to be.
In summary, my neurosis and love of this period in Roman History keeps bumping into my overt affection for it. I will read anything about this time period because I love it, but that very reading and studying caused me to hate how he drew the characters up.
In the end, the rating is "like it" and I did, but, if this were presented as a fiction about characters the author created, then it would be five stars.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
The same review I gave for Emperor - The Gods of War apply here. Iggulden turns out great historical action-adventure novels that capture the era; the lives; and, the culture that only a well researched book can provide. Strongly recommended. Cheers, Dave

David E. Meadows
Capt-ret U.S. Navy
Author of the Sixth Fleet series; Seawolf; and Final Run
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Format: Hardcover
Conn Iggulden's "The Field of Swords" continues his "Emperor" series, to borrow a phrase, it's like the first two books, only more so.

From his first book in the series, Iggulden has demonstrated a willingness to depart from the historical record. When it comes to Julius Caesar, that's playing with fire, if for no other reason than that Caesar's life is astounding enough on its own that it leaves little room for editorializing. However, we must respect Iggulden is writing fiction, not another biography of the historical giant (and to Iggulden's credit, he repeatedly recommends Christian Meier's masterful biography, Caesar, for folks who want the straight story).

By making some rather harsh choices (for example, Cicero merits barely a mention in Iggulden's novels), Iggulden has offended many readers, to be sure. For readers familiar with the historical period, it is harder to suspend our disbelief when reading about certain events when we know that they just did not transpire in the manner described. I imagine that the less familiar one is with the subject, the more entertaining the series is.

Fortunately for all concerned, even Roman history buffs, Iggulden is a fine writer and creates many memorable scenes in "Field of Swords." Several battle scenes quicken the pulse, but Iggulden also writes excellent scenes around more domestic fare, such as a bunch of humbled Roman blacksmiths learning the intricate art of Spanish swordmaking.

And the broad strokes are all here to create a fine theater for our favorite characters. Caesar rides from Spain to Gaul to Britain and eventually comes to a crisis point at the Rubicon. Crassus builds his astounding fortune but chafes under his less-than-stellar military reputation.
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