Let international bestselling author Colleen McCullough transport you back in time to Rome to 48 BC: scene of one of the greatest political battles and one of the most passionate love affairs of all time. This is an evocative and enthralling historical novel that will have you gripped. Fans of Conn Iggulden, Madeleine Miller and Simon Scarrow will not be disappointed.
'An enormous rich mountain of a book, which will appeal to people who like their history in great succulent dollops' -- Sunday Times
'Incomparable... Engrossing... Breathtakingly detailed... McCullough has triumphed again' -- Chicago Tribune
'Intrigue, political manoeuvring, grandstanding, gossip, sex, both affectionate and calculated, and wholesale slaughter... McCullough works to charge history with the current of personality.' -- Booklist
'A really engrossing read' -- ***** Reader review
'A masterpiece' -- ***** Reader review
'In a peerless class of its own' -- ***** Reader review
'Entertaining and engrossing' -- ***** Reader review
Rome, 48 BC: Julius Caesar is in the prime of his life and at the height of his powers.
But behind the myth lies a man beset with contradictions - happily married, he is also the lover of the enigmatic Egyptian queen, Cleopatra; a great general, he wishes to bring to an end Rome's endless wars; conscious of his own power and contemptuous of lesser men, he is determined not to be worshipped as a living god or crowned emperor.
But Caesar is a man whose very greatness attracts envy and jealousy to a dangerous degree, and as the political intrigues which surround him reach their climax, his destruction becomes inevitable...
The October Horse is the sixth book in the Masters of Rome series.
Caesar may be the nominal protagonist of this last novel in a series of six chronicling the demise of the Roman Republic, but the presiding spirit is that of Octavian (later Augustus), Caesar's successor and Rome's first emperor. McCullough's Octavian is as complex and gifted as her Caesar, but far less moral, just or merciful a fitting ruler for a Rome grown too unwieldy for republican government. Blessed with the same immediacy and breezy style that made the tumultuous first century B.C. come alive in previous volumes (The First Man of Rome; Caesar: Let the Dice Fly;etc.), McCullough's heady novel begins with Caesar as dictator of Rome. Brilliant, ruthless, ascetic in his habits and devoted to the welfare of Rome, he enacts a series of reforms while consolidating his power and fathering a son with Cleopatra. The Egyptian, here portrayed as spoiled and shortsighted but passionately in love with Caesar, is just one in a panoply of richly imagined characters: Cato, obdurate republican and traditionalist; Mark Antony, a crass brute with a streak of animal cunning; decent Brutus, batted between his mother, the poisonous Servilia, and Porcia, his vengeful wife. Caesar is a bit too perfect in McCullough's telling, and Antony too monstrous; the novel also suffers from a sameness of voice throughout. But the skillfulness of McCullough's portrait of Octavian will make readers wish more novels were in the offing. Introduced as a guarded, talented youth, he is transformed by Caesar's assassination into a merciless, retributive man or perhaps he simply shows his true colors. The book ends in a dark blaze of vengeance with his pursuit and destruction of Caesar's assassins.