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Rome: The Coming Of The King (2011)

Rome: The Coming of the King (2011)

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4.11 of 5 Votes: 1
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0593065425 (ISBN13: 9780593065426)
bantam press

About book Rome: The Coming Of The King (2011)

This is book Two in the fantastic historical fiction series Rome by M.C. Scott (aka Manda Scott). The first book in the series, Rome: The Emperor's Spy, went down as the best historical fiction I read in 2012 and I think this one may challenge for my favourite historical fiction of 2013. It certainly will be hard to beat.The series really started way back with the name Manda Scott (not M.C. Scott) and the book Boudica: Dreaming the Eagle. This was a series that could be classed as historical fantasy more than historical fiction for all the dreaming and predictions and prophesying. I always tried to palm these dreaming sequences off as 'coincidence'. I wanted so badly to believe that the book was straight, non fantasy, historical fiction that I came up with all manner of rational explanation for the dreaming predictions and their supernatural climaxes. But it is hard to palm it all off. Try as I might. The author is a disciple of Shamanic Dreaming and you must wade through it, thick as honey, if you plan on reading her Boudica series.There were four books in that series. Boudica: Dreaming the Eagle, Boudica: Dreaming the Bull, Boudica: Dreaming the Hound and Boudica: Dreaming the Serpeant Spear and it is in these books that you will first meet Sebastos Pantera and his back story.However, in my opinion, which is the opinion of someone who started the Boudica series but never finished it (it was the dreaming, I am too much of a cynic on that kind of thing), you do not have to read the Boudica series to follow and enjoy the authors new Rome series.Both books, The Emperor's Spy and this one The Coming of the King, involve the charismatic character Sebastos Pantera 'The Leopard'. His history entrenched heavily within the Dreamers of Britain (the Boudica background I mentioned), he is haunted by a past that makes him both a ruthless, methodical killer and an emotionally wounded survivor. He balances them well and there is no doubt that his past has made him better at what he does. In The Coming of the King we find Pantera, Mergus and Hypatia travelling to the far Reaches of the Roman Empire in the First Century AD. During the Reign of Emperor Nero.They will find themselves following their elusive enemy to Judaea where the Hebrew Wars are brewing and some small catalyst, any small catalyst, will explode and engulf the towns of Jerusalem and Caesarea and possibly take our heroes with it. This time it will not only be by fire, this time it will be by the sword and the volatile politics that surround the sacred sites of Judaea.There is no shortage of battles and exciting street fighting in The Coming of the King and, as with The Emperor's Spy, the characters are memorable and multifaceted. She does good characters, Manda Scott, she is one of the best at that.I must confess, The Emperor's Spy and The Coming of the King are perhaps an alternate history for some people. I do not know enough about the bible stories to know when the author is rewriting biblical history, so to me it just makes good historical fiction. But there will be readers who will be challenged negatively by the author having rewritten some of the story from the bible. Of course there will be devout followers of the bible stories who will enjoy the challenge too.I will not go into it too much or it will ruin plot lines for you if you plan on starting this series.It is also worth noting while dreaming and predictions are found in this series, they are mild enough that my penchant for rationalising is satisfied. I never felt these first two Rome books were fantasy. I could explain the dreaming and predictions away on coincidence quite easily. Which makes me a happy cynic. Just as I did with book one, I raced through this book. They are highly readable, highly addictive books and I cannot wait to read the third instalment, Rome: Eagle of the Twelfth and then the fourth book in the series Rome: The Art of War which is released March 28.I am not sure what to expect from these two books (#3 & #4) as they seem to have left Pantera and gone down a different path. I would hope Pantera is still in them as his story is far from wrapped up. If he is in them, I suspect it is not as a main character. It does not truly matter to me though. I find that Scott is such a good writer that it does not put me off the series if the character is wholly a new one. I am sure she will entertain me no matter who he is.

I thought the Boudica quartet was outstanding but I found the first of this trilogy, Rome: The Emperor's Spy less convincing. Perhaps the apparent need to cross-link the new series from Boudica made it more confusing to get into. However, Rome: The Coming of the King is a more linear roller-coaster ride without the sacrifice of any of M.C. Scott's trademark dreamscapes or the palpable sense of mystery which pervades every page. It's also a terrific action-adventure yarn which takes Pantera and his ex-centurion friend Mergus into the furnace of Jewish rebellion as they try to thwart the evil intentions of Saullos (Saint Paul), who has set his heart on the total destruction of Jerusalem. The Chosen of Isis, Hypatia, wreathed in her dreams is joined by the lethal Berber woman Iksahra as the plot threads pull them together with Pantera and a large cast of believable characters.Throughout there is a subtle homoerotic tide, Mergus for Pantera, Hypatia for Iksahra, King Herod Agrippa for any young man… There are many real characters from history woven seamlessly together with the fictional, none so real, perhaps, as Saullos. I wonder what America's Bible Belt thinks of this inversion of the Saint Paul story. And yet, is it an alternative history? It's a personal prejudice, but I have always considered the sainted Paul/Saul of Tarsus responsible for the destruction of pure and original Christianity, so I have no trouble seeing M.C. Scott's Saullos in exactly the way she portrays him. Each to their own.The Independent newspaper of London said: "A dramatic new version of the past…grippingly sustained." The Coming of the King (the Messiah and a descendant of Jesus, the true king of Jerusalem) is all of that and, with some tremendous location descriptions, a lot more.

Do You like book Rome: The Coming Of The King (2011)?

Second in the Rome series was even better than the first. A lot of action, and a fast moving plot, but still plenty of time to develop new characters, alongside the return of hero Pantera, his sidekick Mergus and the Chosen of Isis, Hypatia. Strong female characters as ever are added to with the fantastic falcon trainer Iksahra and the would-be warrior princess Kleopatra. The story is set in Judea, as Pantera tries to track down old enemy Saulos, and prevent him from causing more destruction to the Roman empire. Totally gripping stuff.

I read the first novel a few years ago and my local library has not ordered the subsequent volumes to this series so had to order from the book store. I am glad to continue this series. As I recall, I was not overly impressed with the first book but I am in consensus with the majority in saying that this novel was a much better paced and interesting read. This part of Ms. Scott’s epic tale during the early rise of Christianity and Roman rule had more interesting plots going on that kept me turning pages. I definitely look forward to the next volume to this rendering of Roman era dominance in the Holy Land. A strong recommendation for Roman buffs.
—Bernie Charbonneau

As The Guardian quote on the cover says: "Truly epic". As with the other books in the series, this one also offers an alternative take on history, in this case on how the Judean revolt might have been instigated. Fascinating stuff. There's spies, and intrigue, and violence, and daring, impossible feats, all vividly imagined. The only reason I didn't give it the full five stars was that I found I didn't connect with several of the characters in the same way that I connected with others in the previous books of the series, but this is a purely personal and subjective matter, and I'm sure that where I failed to find a connection, others will do so easily.Let me also just say this: If you like your violence realistic, Manda Scott does this very very well. And doesn't shy away from it. One of the many reasons, but for me an incredibly important reason, why I'm enjoying these books so much.Well, off to buy the next instalment... :-)
—Irene Soldatos

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