The October Horse: A Novel of Caesar and Cleopatra
With her renowned storytelling gifts in full force, Colleen McCullough delivers a breathtaking novel that proves once again that she is the top historical novelist of our time.
Grand in scope and vivid in detail, McCullough's gripping narrative thrusts readers headlong into the complex and fascinating world of Rome in the tumultuous last days of the Republic. At the height of his power, Gaius Julius Caesar becomes embroiled in a civil war in Egypt, where he finds himself enraptured by Cleopatra, the nation's golden-eyed queen. To do his duty as a Roman, however, he must forsake his love and return to the capital to rule.
Though Caesar's grip on power seems unshakable, the political landscape is treacherous -- the returning hero has no obvious successor, and his legacy seems to be the prize for any man with the courage and cunning to fell Rome's laurelled leader. Caesar's jealous enemies masquerade as friends and scheme to oust the autocrat from power and restore true republican government to Rome. But as the plot races to its dramatic conclusion, it becomes clear that with the stakes this high, no alliance is sacred and no motives are pure.
The epic series concludes!
By mrliteral - January 10, 2003
In this, the final book of McCullogh's series on the last decades of the Roman Republic, the last days of Julius Caesar are chronicled along with the first days of his successor, Octavian. For fans of historical fiction, this is a must read, a six volume epic that is part history and part political soap opera.For those unfamiliar with the series, the hero is definitely Julius Caesar. The first two books - The First Man In Rome and The Grass Crown - serve as an extended prologue, with Caesar born in the first book and in pre-adolesence in the second; nonetheless, the intrigues of Gaius Marius and Sulla keep those books quite interesting. Caesar's rise to power is described in the next three books, and at the beginning of the October Horse, he is at the peak of his power.For those familiar at all with Roman history, how Caesar dies and even the exact date are well-known. McCullough describes the growing conspiracy and how the various figures are drawn in. The assassination... read more
A Masterfully Woven Story
By Newt Gingrich - March 10, 2004
This is the culminating sixth volume of one of the most important historical novels of our generation. Beginning with "The First Man in Rome" and continuing through "The Grass Crown," "Fortune's Favorites," "Caesar's Women," "Caesar: Let The Dice Fly" and finally "The October Horse: A Novel of Caesar and Cleopatra", McCullough has carried us from just before Julius Caesar's birth on through the civil war following his death.
In this extraordinary series it is possible to see the crisis a hegemonic power faces whose political system is incapable of coping with the opportunities and threats which unparalleled power have brought to it.
The corruption and decay of the Roman Senate, the rise of outside interests seeking to bribe and corrupt Rome, the growing crisis for Italians as reactionary elements in Rome refuse to extend citizenship and the reversion of violence both in the street and with the Army all... read more
A Fitting End to the Series
By Suzanne Cross "Bibliophilos" - December 2, 2002
Colleen McCullough has entertained and educated millions to the intricacies of politics in the late Roman Republic, and her touch hasn't failed in this last and perhaps most difficult of her books. Caesar has illumined the series from its first book, although Marius, Sulla, and the robust characters of the early books rightly took center stage. Caesar is McCullough's conduit character through whose eyes and actions much of the collapse of the Republic occurs. Now she must deal with his murder. How to do this and yet keep the flow of the book going?We all know what will happen on the Ides of March, but it's how to do it that presents the challenge. I thoroughly enjoyed how McCullough deals with every aspect of Caesar's last years. She handles his achievements and disappointments fairly and, interestingly, comes up with arguable explanations for many of Caesar's last actions which argue that he never intended, indeed, to become king, and does wonderfully drawing the various... read more
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