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Monday, May 10, 2010

Raja N. Krishnan Reviews Novel Set in Ancient Roma

Book Title: Roma: The Novel of Ancient Rome
Author: Steven Saylor
Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin
Publisher's Address: 175 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY 10010.
ISBN: 978-0312377625
List Price: $15.95

Reviewed by Raja N. Krishnan

“Legend is Historical Just as History is Legendary.”

What a phrase…..and it’s the opening quote in Steven Saylor’s latest production on the Roman Republic, titled Roma. Mr. Saylor has stepped away from his acclaimed mystery based series with Gordianus the Finder to present a unique and fresh perspective on the ancient republic.

Mr. Saylor produces a nice effort to highlight the major events of the Roman Republic from pre-Roma days through the founding of Roma to the days of Julius Ceasar. The story that evolves through the generations of one family, with the Roman history in the backdrop, focuses more on the legends, spirituality, and cultural aspects of the Roman Republic. The author easily weaves the story of this family into the fabric of the history of the Roman Republic. This epic story shows the struggle between the lower class, plebians, and the upper class, patricians, through the generations of the Roman Republic. It also depicts the power and ego of successful political men who tried to reach the status of King, but could not stay in that position for long.

As each chapter goes by the author fast forwards in time to the next major or controversial event in the republic’s history. This might first appear as though he is skipping events, but the author does a nice job of tieing chapters together and summarizing events that happened in the timeline. Although not a detailed account of the Roman Republic government, that not being the intent of the book, the book does convey how the government transformed through the generations with the rise and fall of the republic.

As I was reading this book I found myself excited about the possibilities of a second trip to Rome to visit the historical sites that I missed the first time, armed with this new knowledge of the legends of Rome. I would highly recommend this book for fans of Roman History, furthermore it would be worth a read if you plan to travel the historical sights in Italy.

The author is also the author of The Triumph of Caesar: A Novel of Ancient Rome (Roma Sub Rosa)
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