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No Roads Leads to Rome Paperback – November 7, 2013
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From the Author
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
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.
I found myself grimacing and trying not to laugh at the same time as our hapless Centurion Valerius goes on one misadventure after another, when really all he wants is to retire from the legions and be on his way. You want him to be able to `ride off into the sunset', but with the plethora of crises that seem to be commonplace in rural Hispania, this may never be possible. A simple errand from a cantankerous governor, who could really care less about the welfare of the peasant population, leads to one disaster after another. What surprised me though was the character of the governor, Festus Rufius. At the start of the book you despise him as a one-dimensional antagonist who is so annoying you just want to reach through the pages and punch him in the face. By the end you start to see things from his perspective and you almost become sympathetic towards him...notice I said "almost".
About the only error I found was when Valerius' second-in-command is mistakingly referred to as a 'sub-centurion' (the actual rank was Optio). Since this is not a book about the Roman Legions per se, this is really minor and does not affect the story at all.
All in all this was an entertaining story that kept my interest from beginning to end. If you are looking for an epic story about Roman warfare, this is not the book for you. However, if you are looking for an eclectic story full of wit and panache, told in a Roman setting, you will not be disappointed.
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."
Most Recent Customer Reviews
It was a great read. It is hard to find a book about the Roman empire that isn't heavy and 4000 pages. This is a little humorous read with good historical content.Published 2 months ago by Flyingpaws
This author is definitely creative. The scene where Severus listens to the story of Moses haggling with the Lord to get the Commandments down to just 10 is hilarious! Read morePublished 7 months ago by smyreviews
The writing was decent, but hammier than expected. Some parts were amusing, though most of it came off like he was trying too hard.Published 23 months ago by Jordan B. Johnson
Very enjoyable. Since Ron and I shared similar experiences at work I recognized the satire. Well done!Published on October 10, 2014 by John F. Meyer
Gompertz really knows his way around a chuckle. His facility with the language is impeccable. This is a very clever, well-written book. I enjoyed it immensely.Published on February 11, 2014 by Chris McKerracher
Another hilarious jaunt through the garden spot of Hispania, the city of Tarraco. I say another as I read the second book in the series,Aqueduct to Nowhere, first. Read morePublished on January 23, 2014 by Paul Bennett
This story was exciting and a fun read. The details describing early Rome were wonderful. The author, R.S. Gompertz, kept me guessing in this mystery. Enjoyable Read! Read morePublished on November 3, 2013 by S. Colvin
I will open by stating for the record that This book is Historical Fiction, but with the emphasis heavily tilted towards the fiction part. Read morePublished on October 14, 2013 by SJATurney
Truly enjoyable book, with witty satire and multiple plot lines that run nicely in parallel. Took me about 3 pages to realize I didn't need to delve into (or feebly attempt to... Read morePublished on May 27, 2013 by Bruce Dresser