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No Roads Leads to Rome Paperback – November 7, 2013

4.1 out of 5 stars 42 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

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!

RSG
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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 (42 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,916,414 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

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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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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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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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I was not only able to read `No Roads Lead to Rome', I was able to thoroughly enjoy it. I wasn't sure what to expect, so perhaps it helped that I went in with no expectations at all.

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.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
On the ragged edge of the Roman Empire a dead governor leaves behind the opportunity of a lifetime in the town of Tarraco.
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."
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