Not a review, this, but certainly a plug. For the post-Red Sun series which I’ve been planning (“Project D”) I’m drawing quite a bit on Roman influences – if not aesthetically, then certainly on some of the cultural elements. How much of this makes it through to the final book remains to be seen, but I’ve been doing a fair bit of reading on Roman history particularly concerning the end of the Republic, which brings me on to Tom Holland’s outstanding Rubicon: The Triumph and Tragedy of the Roman Republic.
I’ll not shit about: this is an outstanding book. Holland creates an exceptional narrative that connects major figures at the end of the Roman Republic, from Caesar to to Cicero to Sulla. The drama of the political arena is famous, but Holland’s account gives a sensational splash of colour and some clever context, but importantly for me gives a sense of meaning and purpose to such immense, world-changing acts. It isn’t a dry history, either – this is a living, breathing creature, full of depth and nuance. Though I won’t go into much more detail (I don’t really have the time to review it thoroughly) one particularly wonderful/gruesome/ironic aside concerns the demise of Manius Aquillius, the Governor of Pontus, at the hands of Mithridates, by having molten gold poured down his throat. Worth a google, that.