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No Roads Leads to Rome Paperback – November 7, 2013
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The Amazon Book Review
Author interviews, book reviews, editors picks, and more. Read it now
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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Top customer reviews
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Mysteriously promoted, a senator's son finds himself in an ancient world of trouble. Within days of taking office, Hispania's taxpayers are in open revolt, all legionaries depart to build Hadrian's Wall, and the once-sleepy province is rocked by slave revolts, bread riots, and fad religions.
A humorous saga steeped in humor and history, "No Roads Lead to Rome" chronicles the clumsy schemes of the new governor and his shadowy adviser, a superstitious centurion's struggle to save his faith in the faded ideals of the Republic, and a young rebel's reluctant vow to change the course of history. All are pitted against the Gods, the Emperor, and the decline and fall of nearly everything.
It's AD 123 and history repeats, again, in the entertaining prequel to "Aqueduct to Nowhere."
I enjoyed the story, however I felt that it was somwehow incomplete.
Let's see, the story goes about a Jew recruit, an old centurion and a fool patrician governor. While those three main characters can be the foundations for a great story, I felt there was not enough depth to their respective stories.
The Jew recruit, who has a very Roman name 'Gaius Severus', and centurion Valerius seem to be building a father and son relationship throughout the book. However, this relationship is never explored.
Same happens with the clumsy governor; ok I get it he's not-so-bright. But what more is behind his character, and the secondary characters that surround him for that matter; such as his advisor Winus ("W" did not exist in the Roman alphabet, right?) Minem and his security gladiator Vindex. We never get to really meet those characters, aside from the stereotypes that Gompertz creates of them.
I was rooting for Gaius and Valerius to build a strong relationship. Nonetheless, I finished the book with the feeling of reading a story about complete strangers who crossed each other paths at some point but no more.
We even get an Emperor to make a guest-appearance, but then he never shows up again.
Maybe, the story needed to be longer. Maybe a sequel can bring these characters to life. I would like that. I also like the fact that the author self-published his book. That's why I would say go even deeper with the story, it has a lot of potential and I would love to read more of your writings.
Bottom-line, I would recommend the book to anyone who enjoys fiction of this particular period and who wants to read a less-battle more humor oriented story.
The writing is strong and is often punctuated with remarkable twists of language that are so thoroughly amusing that I sometimes found myself re-reading a sentence a few extra times just to keep enjoying it. I am a notoriously slow reader, but I sailed through this book and had a hard time putting it down.
I'm very much looking forward to a sequel to "No Roads...." C'mon Mr. Gompetz, keep 'em coming!
In conclusion, what I want to say to this author is, "Job well done, bravo!"