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Empire [Format Kindle]

Steven Saylor
5.0 étoiles sur 5  Voir tous les commentaires (1 commentaire client)

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Descriptions du produit

Présentation de l'éditeur

In the international bestseller Roma, Steven Saylor told the story of the first thousand years of Rome by following the descendants of a single bloodline. Now, in Empire, Saylor charts the destinies of five more generations of the Pinarius family, from the reign of the first emperor, Augustus, to the glorious height of Rome's empire under Hadrian.

Through the eyes of the Pinarii, we witness the machinations of Tiberius, the madness of Caligula, the cruel escapades of Nero, and the chaos of the Year of Four Emperors in 69 A.D. The deadly paranoia of Domitian is followed by the Golden Age of Trajan and Hadrian - but even the most enlightened emperors wield the power to inflict death and destruction on a whim.

Empire is strewn with spectacular scenes, including the Great Fire of 64 A.D. that ravaged the city, Nero's terrifying persecution of the Christians, and the mind-blowing opening games of the Colosseum. But at the novel's heart are the wrenching choices and seductive temptations faced by each new generation of the Pinarii. One unwittingly becomes the sexual plaything of the notorious Messalina. One enters into a clandestine affair with a Vestal virgin. One falls under the charismatic spell of Nero, while another is drawn into the strange new cult of those who deny the gods and call themselves Christians.

However diverse their destinies and desires, all the Pinarii are united by one thing: the mysterious golden talisman called the fascinum handed down from a time before Rome existed. As it passes from generation to generation, the fascinum seems to exercise a power not only over those who wear it, but over the very fate of the empire.

Détails sur le produit

  • Format : Format Kindle
  • Taille du fichier : 1300 KB
  • Nombre de pages de l'édition imprimée : 609 pages
  • Pagination - ISBN de l'édition imprimée de référence : 1845298586
  • Editeur : Robinson (25 février 2011)
  • Vendu par : Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Langue : Anglais
  • ASIN: B004P8J1O4
  • Synthèse vocale : Activée
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  • Moyenne des commentaires client : 5.0 étoiles sur 5  Voir tous les commentaires (1 commentaire client)
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Commentaires client les plus utiles
5.0 étoiles sur 5 excellent read and an insight into 15 juin 2014
Format:Format Kindle|Achat vérifié
The birth and growth of a civilisation of extreme
cruelty, treachery and tragedy but also great architectural, engineering and military achievements
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Commentaires client les plus utiles sur (beta) 3.8 étoiles sur 5  67 commentaires
56 internautes sur 61 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
3.0 étoiles sur 5 Fun Fictional Intro to Imperial Rome 31 août 2010
Par Jason Golomb - Publié sur
"Empire" is Steven Saylor's highly anticipated follow up to his centuries-spanning historical fiction saga, "Roma". Both books trace the ancestral evolution of the Pinarii family as they bear witness to the foundation and growth of Rome and its Empire. "Roma" covered the earliest foundations of Rome through the civil wars, while "Empire" picks up at the end of the reign of Augustus in 14 A.D. through the reign of Hadrian in 141.

Roman history is made up of fact, rumor, and myth, and Saylor hits on all of those elements in "Empire". Each of four chapters tells a discrete and self-contained story set during key moments in the real or mythological history of Rome involving both fictional and non-fictional characters and events.

Saylor uses the Pinarii like stepping stones across a stream of time; each stone provides just enough footing to propel the reader onto the next rock of time. The chapters place a different Pinarii generation under the spotlight and provide enough drama to fill an entire book in itself.

The chapters are highlight reels of their respective periods. In the early years, Saylor gives glimpses of Livia's evil which is very reminiscent of the Livia from "I, Claudius". He opens a window on Tiberius's sadistic hideaway on an island off the coast of Italy where he purportedly kept young boys for his own pleasure. The second chapter runs the gamut of Caligula's psychoses and Claudius' dramatically failed marriages. Readers also get a surprisingly poignant portrayal of Nero "fiddling" while Rome burns. In the third chapter, Saylor provides a historical discourse that includes the explosion of Mt. Vesuvius, the history of the development of the Flavian Amphitheater (known now as The Colosseum), and the rise and fall of the Flavian Emperors. In the final chapter, Saylor takes readers to the building of Trajan's column and the Pantheon and gives an all too brief glimpse of the philosopher-emperor Hadrian.

The biggest frustration with "Empire" is the vastly inconsistent development of Saylor's primary characters. The Pinarii are like castles made with wet sand. Just as they gain a bit of definition, substance and depth, they either fall apart or are washed away. It's almost as if in trying to hit all events in a given era, none are enough of a focus to allow time for the solid development of members of the Pinarii clan. I felt very little emotional pull towards the members of the family, neither particularly liking nor disliking any of them. This void of raw human drama significantly reduces the cohesion of each generational chapter and no amount of historical activity is able to overcome that vacuum.

The strongest character in the book is Emperor Nero whom Saylor paints as a subdued version of any Nathan Lane character. Nero ranges from sadistic to dramatic to regal to shockingly out-of-touch-with-reality. Though his end is predictably tragic, Nero and his era are the most interestingly interpreted. I have a bit of a bias towards Hadrian, but Saylor also did a fine job representing the erudite, introspective, and insecure monument-building Emperor.

Saylor's dialogue often feels stilted, unnatural, and boring when used to provide historical background, whereas his integration of history and fiction works well while events are actually taking place. The most awkward moments come during a series of dialogues providing background on Rome during the reign of the Flavian Emperors. In some cases, Saylor uses this approach to set up future scenes; in others, it's as if he's trying to shoehorn in as much history as possible.

Saylor doesn't go for the Hollywood endings when it comes to the Pinarii, and I enjoy his sense of tragedy. Without giving too much away, the Pinarii clan is admirably (yet naively) staunch in their loyalty to their Emperors and friends, and it's enjoyable to be spectator to the historical train-wreck of such an amazingly varied group of personalities and events.

Each story is connected as one generation of Pinarii gives way to the next. An interesting device that Saylor uses is having one or more characters transition a new Pinarii generation from the old. Claudius carries over from the first chapter to the second. Several of Nero's inner clan are close with Titus Pinarius in Chapter 2 and remain close to Titus' son Lucius is Chapter 3. Emperor Trajan is the transitional character between Chapters 3 and 4.

Saylor touches on a number of themes throughout his stories including freedom of speech and religion, human rights, philosophy, and other high- and low-lights of Roman culture. And while there's already a lot going on in this 600-page novel, cameo appearances of Rome's' historical luminaries like Suetonius, Apollodorus, Dio, Sejanus and many others make for nice surprises.

"Empire" is a fun, light-weight introduction to Ancient Roman history. The writing style is smooth and simple, and Saylor hits on most of the major themes and incidents in each of the respective time periods. For those looking for a consumable introduction to and exploration of Roman history, "Empire" is a good starting point.
27 internautes sur 31 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
2.0 étoiles sur 5 Disappointing, amateur sequel to the better Roma 19 octobre 2010
Par J. Stewart - Publié sur
Format:Format Kindle|Achat vérifié
It's hard to conceive that this book was written by the same person as Roma. It is such an amateur work. Roma was far from the best book on the period and the writing and characterizations were not exceptional, but it was highly readable. This books feels like a high school effort. I learned absolutely nothing I hadn't read elsewhere about the period. But even assuming the person who read this was new to the period and did learn a little, the writing style and characters were so poor that it still would not be a great read. It's too bad too because there was so much potential for this post-Augustus period of Rome that doesn't get nearly the attention of the pre-Caesar and Caesar period.

First, far too much of the story is doled out as unrealistically long exposition by the characters conversing with each other. Entire periods of history are covered this way with one sequence after another of characters sitting around at parties recalling events they often experienced first-hand but told as if they were lecturing small school children in history they had never heard. This is such a freshman writing mistake it is shocking it would come from such a seasoned author. There is no fathomable reason he couldn't have structured the story to actually have the characters in the action in real-time instead of just sipping wine and conversing on it.

Second, and related to the first, almost nothing happens to these characters. With one exception, they are almost entirely observers of events and not meaningful players. Or if they are shown to contribute, it is usually of no consequence to their person or status. In Roma, there were frequent, and more typical of multi-generational epics, reversals of fortunes. From one generation to another the family went from prominence to slavery to, middle class, etc. Here the family seems to only slightly and gradually decline due to nothing more than the complete apathy of the lead characters, and despite improbable repeated run-ins with sociopathic emperors. I kept waiting for more dramatic reversals that never came.

Third, as a result of the above issues, we really get so little perspective on the history and what happened during this period of Roman history which was constantly dramatically fraught with changes of reign and global expansion. Someone relying primarily of this story would walk away thinking that all the emperors after Augustus were preoccupied with nothing else but attractive young, usually castrated boys, with occasional building projects thrown in. This is vastly over-simplistic and, again, not indicative of the previous novel in the series. This is a huge missed opportunity to take the characters out of Rome and to the action all over the world as Rome ruled it in the time. It's staggering how limited and lacking in imagination this take on the period is.

Finally, the dialogue and characters themselves are just so shallow and unrealistic. Right from the start we are introduced to our first generational protagonist as a man in his mid-twenties who comes across with all the maternity of a 12-year-old, which is not to say childish but ultra-naïve and innocent. By the time Caesar was that age he had already traveled the world, conquered pirates, held a sacred religious office and participated in the Senate, and this boy comes across as if he hasn't left the confines of his house for the first time in his life. Similar simplicity follows through-out, with dialogue that always strains of the overly simplistic.

The only time the book remotely rose to the level of interesting was when it attempted to convey the various philosophies popular at the various periods it covered as its lead characters and their convenient friends grappled with them. That was mildly interesting.

Overall, a major disappointment. I have to believe the author phoned this one in. Either his heart wasn't in it or his was distracted. Either way, not a work to be proud of.
27 internautes sur 32 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
2.0 étoiles sur 5 A disappointment 10 septembre 2010
Par Roger J. Buffington - Publié sur
Format:Format Kindle|Achat vérifié
I am a big Steven Saylor fan. I have read and enjoyed his entire "Roma Sub Rosa" series, and I very much enjoyed "Roma," to which this piece, "Empire," is the sequel. Unfortunately, I found "Empire" to be a disappointment. The characterizations were flat and unconvincing, and there is very little by way of a plot here. The main theme is that most of Imperial Rome's emperors were morbidly bad rulers and in its way Imperial Rome was every bit as unstable as Republican Rome. This has the potential to be a great theme, but in my opinion Saylor misses his chance to harness this potential. There are long dreary passages about eunuchs, various types of gay love, etc., which can be entertaining and thematic in the right context, but Saylor fails to provide the context. (He does this with various degrees of greater success in some of his "Roma Sub Rosa" novels.) Here, these things are very much in the reader's face, and simply slow things down. About mid-way through the book they become an excruciating and intolerable distraction from what should have been the novel's main theme: life and politics in Imperial Rome.

I desperately wanted to enjoy and like this novel, but in my opinion Saylor scores a clean miss with this one. It goes off the rails and never gets going. Not recommended. RJB.
19 internautes sur 24 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Superb HIstorical Fiction--A Great Read 2 septembre 2010
Par Phyllis T. Smith - Publié sur
Format:Format Kindle|Achat vérifié
If you love Steven Saylor's historical mysteries (I do), or you love historical fiction, or you are fascinated by the history of Ancient Rome, you will adore this book. It is somewhat similar in conception to books like James Michener's HAWAII (published years ago) and more recent works like NEW YORK the novel by Edward Rutherford, though those cover much wider swathes of time. Rather than staying in one time period, this novel gives you the broad sweep of history by linking together several stories or novellas set in the reigns of different Roman emperors. The link in this book is the history of the Pinarius family, who we met in Saylor's terrific earlier novel ROMA. We follow seceding generations of this family and see them work out their destinies against the backdrop of Roman history from the waning of the Augustan age until the reign of Hadrian.

This sort of historical novel has its strengths and limitations. It gives you sweep and a sense of a long period of history. It does not give you the pleasure of snuggling up with a single cast of characters for six hundred pages. I usually prefer novels to short stories because I like to live with one character for a while, but just the same, here I was along for the ride. Saylor hooked me in each chapter. He sketches character with a deft hand, and his evocation of the ancient setting makes Rome come alive. Both the fictional Pinarius family and real historical figures such as Nero were vivid and interesting to put it mildly. Saylor has the skill with plot that you would expect from a leading writer of mysteries, making this a great read.

You can agree or not with Saylor's take on historical personages. He obviously draws on exhaustive research using ancient sources. I do want to say a word for Livia. who historical novelists make into such a villain. Cassius Dio tells us that after she died the Senate voted to build an arch in her honor, for among other things saving "not a few" lives. Recent biographies by Mary Mudd, Anthony A. Barrett, and Matthew Dennison give accounts of her as a brilliant, powerful woman in a society in which women were not supposed to exercise power. Unsurprisingly she became the target of nasty rumors. They don't hold up under serious scrutiny. I, CLAUDIUS was great fiction.

I enjoyed this book tremendously and am eagerly waiting for the next installment. Thanks to the publisher on two accounts--making this quickly available on Kindle--I loathe having to wait past the publication date for a book I really want--and publishing it with text to speech enabled. That is a real plus with a novel you don't want to put down. I read most of this, listened to some while doing chores, devoured it all in almost one gulp, and truly had a ball.
5 internautes sur 5 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
3.0 étoiles sur 5 An attack of hubris? 14 avril 2011
Par Bill McCann - Publié sur
Format:Relié|Achat vérifié
Having thoroughly enjoyed Roma, and as a long standing fan of Gordianus, I eagerly awaited the delivery of my copy of Empire. I was disappointed, not totally, but, still, significantly, disappointed. Saylor seems to have had an attack of hubris. Much of the story-telling seems to be mechanical. The lectures on Roman history that he puts into the mouths of the fictional and historical characters in the book sometimes cross the border into artificiality and tedium.

Three aspects of the plot especially call out for mention. Firstly, in the story of Lucius the Seeker we have a re-working of the betrayal of her vows by a Vestal. Anyone who has read Roma, will have been able to predict the outcome of this sub-plot from the very moment that Lucius and Cornelia first exchanged glances in the Flavian Amphitheatre. The way in which the existence of the inevitable son is dragged out definitely passes into tedium. By the time that Lucius discovers it, the reader is thoroughly bored by the whole thing. As we are repeatedly told that Lucius is ignorant of his family history, perhaps he author means to be clever by reminding us that those who do not know history are doomed to repeat it. If so, it does not work, at least for this reader.

The second aspect concerns homosexuality. This is the first time that Saylor, to my knowledge, writes openly and exhaustively about homosexuality. The subject was coyly skirted around in some of the Gordianus novels, but here it becomes a major feature of the novel's background. This, I thought, was all to the good, until he suddenly drags us into 20th century American politics by labelling the religious policy of Trajan as "Don't ask; don't tell." Although he uses it to describe a religious policy, the juxtaposition is too close to escape the conclusion that the author is making a political point here. This is cheap and crude, and one can only assume that it was done to make the book more 'relevant' for his, famously uninformed, compatriots. For his fans, and the informed denizens of the world outside America, it is anachronistic and practically a turn-off.

Thirdly, the overall scope of the book is too large. It covers the reigns of thirteen emperors over one hundred and thirty years in just under 600 pages. Albeit that four of those emperors came and went in a single year, these were years of hugely detailed historical developments and world-changing events. The inevitably "potted" versions of the reigns of people like Nero and Domitian weaken the structure of the book as a whole and the device of cherry picking significant dates such as AD 79 does not really work. Perhaps a separate novel for each of the Pinarii would have been a solution? But then the story of Lucius the seeker rears its regurgitated head and scotches that idea. In reality, this reader is left wondering why Empire was written at all.

Sadly, the overall impression I have come away with is that Saylor has now passed into the ranks of "successful and tired authors" who just churn the stuff out to keep the royalties coming in. For me, this novel lacks the passion of his Roma and Gordianus novels. His editor also seems to be a little tired as there are occasional typographical infelicities scattered throughout the book.

In summary, if you are Stephen Saylor fan, you will want this on your bookshelf if only for the sake of completeness. If you have never read Stephen Saylor, do not begin with this book. Seek out the Gordianus stories and Roma first.
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