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le 14 août 2015
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The Field of Swords is the third book in Conn Iggulden's four volume fictional retelling of the life of Gaius Julius Caesar.

This one starts off a few years into Caesar's turn in Spain. The country has already been pacified and Caesar grows bored with the easy life. This is the overall theme of this book. Multiple times in this novel, Caesar accomplishes something incredible only to discover that the struggle is better and more rewarding than the accomplishment as he chases Alexander's legacy.

The first half of the novel covers Caesar's triumphant return to Rome and his candidacy for consul. For me this was the best part of the novel. The intricacies of the election, the attempts to rig and then spoil it (by Suetonius, a bitter man living in Caesar's shadow) and the back room deals cut afterwards are just as thrilling as the battles that have run through the series.

My one complaint in this part of the book was the handling of the actual election itself. Mr. Iggulden seemed to gloss over some details that seemed important even to understand the rest of what he wrote. Who was and was not allowed to vote in the election? What was a voting century? They were mentioned several times, but I did not quite understand what was going on.

On the upside, the actual details of the ballot box and how they would cast their vote was covered in fair detail. I know how dull this sounds, but when you are reading the novel you won't be able to put it down.

This leads to the second half of the novel: Caesar's legendary invasion of Gaul. This is where the Emperor series starts having trouble. Mr. Iggulden just tried to condense too much here.

Don't misunderstand me. The writing is still very well done. Watching Caesar kick the stuffing out of the various tribes while flashing back to watch chaos erupting in Rome at the hands to two competing (and corrupt) senators is well done and exciting. But (near the end especially) time will suddenly leap forward.

You are reading about Caesar preparing to cross over to England. The next chapter will start with Caesar's second attempt at the Britons.

A second time, we have been following the rise of the Gaul's high king Vergingetorix and his consolidation of the disparate tribes and the extreme measures they take while the Romans are away. Everything leads to a tense point as you wait for the Romans to return and see what has happened. Again, the next chapter starts some weeks later.

In both of the above examples, Mr. Iggulden does a fair job on filling you in. It's just that it makes it perhaps too obvious that the author is rushing through the story to end this book at the Rubicon without crossing some arbitrary page limit. Exciting stuff is hinted at and skipped over.

Still, this is another winner overall. I think that perhaps the series would have benefited by having a fifth book fitting between this one and the finale to focus on Gaul and England. Then again, the author has succeeded if they leave you wanting more. I definitely want more.
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le 6 novembre 2010
C'est une très bonne saga autour de la vie de Jules César. De son enfance, jusqu'à ce qu'il devienne l'empereur que tout le monde connaît.
Il y a un bon rythme tout au long des livres, pas de temps mort.
Les passionnés d'histoire romaine et de péplums y trouveront leur compte.

Certaines libertés sont prise avec l'histoire, mais le tout est bien ficelé et cela n'a rien de choquant.
A ne pas prendre comme un livre historique, mais bel et bien un roman.

Attention pour la version anglaise, le style d'écriture n'est pas à la portée de tout le monde. Il vous faudra un très bon vocabulaire pour tout comprendre.
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