When one looks back at the history of Rome during this period that saw the ushering in of the end of the Roman Republic, one cannot help but be amazed at the number of so many pivotal characters; Marius, Sulla, Cicero,Crassus, Pompey and waiting in the wings, Gaius Julius. No wonder that this period gets so much attention from authors, however, it takes a good author to take on a character that has been portrayed by many different authors, in many different ways. Robert Allen Johnson has done just that in this series on Gnaeus Pompey Magnus. He has given us a Pompey that is more human, more prone to doubt and yet more determined to succeed. In the second installment, Triumphator, Pompey begins to grow, becomes less rash and more calculating and to some, more dangerous. The author has created a work that rings true, a page turning delight that has one almost hoping that this version of Pompey will see through Caesar’s ambition and bests him in the end…almost. 4.8 stars and Hoover Book Review’s Seal of Approval. Can’t wait for book three.
Pompey the Great – I think the first time I heard or read about this remarkable Roman was at the tail end of the movie Spartacus. Of course in that scenario he was vastly overshadowed by the greed driven Crassus (who. come to think of it, reminds me of Donald Trump). From that initial recognition of his name I had to wait until Colleen McCullough’s magnificent rendering of the Marius through Gaius Julius period of Roman history to be fully introduced to this incredible, yet unlikely Roman icon. In Magnus – Rising Sun, Robert Allen Johnson brings to life the beginning of the story of Pompey’s ascension to the pantheon of Roman greats. His is an unusual climb up the ladder as he is given commands that are usually reserved for serving Consuls or Senators, yet there we find him, a mere boy raising his own army to serve Cornelius Sulla. The author kept me glued to the pages with his storytelling and his knack of making his characters ring true to the historical record. The speeches, for example, that Magnus delivers to his legions convincingly portray him as a General who cares more for his men than he does for his glory…at least until Sulla tries to deprive him of his men and that glory. I found myself extending my reading sessions of this book far longer than I intended and was immersed to the point where I would neglect that nice hot cup of coffee until it had turned cold. Halfway through Rising Sun I picked up book two in anticipation of another fine read. 4 stars