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The Death of Kings  
The U.K. Book Cover of the Novel "The Death of Kings".
The Death of Kings first edition cover.
Author Conn Iggulden
Country United Kingdom
Language English
Series Emperor series
Subject(s) Julius Caesar
Genre(s) Historical novel
Publisher HarperCollins
Publication date January 5, 2004
Media type Print (Hardback & Paperback)
Pages 551 pp (first edition)
ISBN 0007136919
OCLC Number 59309869
Preceded by The Gates of Rome
Followed by The Field of Swords

The Death of Kings is a novel by British author Conn Iggulden, and is the second book in the Emperor series, which follows the life of Julius Caesar.

The book was released in the UK in January 2004, published by HarperCollins.

Plot summary

Following on from the end of The Gates of Rome, a young Julius Caesar is forced to leave Rome following the rise of Cornelius Sulla and slaying of Julius' uncle Gaius Marius. Julius serves the Fourth Patrica on board a war galley patrolling the Mediterranean, but his ship is captured by pirates and held to ransom.

The pirates demand ransoms from all of the men captured. All of the men try to negotitate lower ransom price, while Caesar says "I'am a son of the Julii" and demands his ransom price be raised.

The crew is eventually abandoned on the northern coast of Africa. Over time, he recruits men and trains them into a fighting unit, before tracking down the pirates who captured him and exacting vengeance. Julius rapidly makes a name for himself as being a leader of men. He takes his new army into Greece where Mithridates VI of Pontus was rebelling against Roman occupation. Caesar crushes the uprising, and returns to Rome as a hero. As Caesar begins to forge alliances and enemies in the Senate, and as Sulla is assassinated, Rome is rocked by yet another uprising - this time it is the slaves led by Spartacus.

Differences from historical persons

Although it is a work of fiction, many of the characters and events are based on historical sources. Iggulden added a historical note to the book in which he explains the differences between his novel and history.

In particular, the dictator Cornelius Sulla, who was based on the dictator Sulla, is shown to have been murdered; in reality, Sulla apparently died in retirement of his excesses. Sulla's loyal general appears to have been based on Lucullus.

It should also be noted that the person known as Cato in this novel and his life bears little to no resemblance to the historical Cato the Younger who was Caesar's political opponent from about 60 BC.

Nor was Servilia Caepionis a high-class prostitute as she is shown in the novel; according to most historical sources, she was twice married and committed adultery only with Caesar himself. She was a wealthy and well-respected Roman matron in this particular decade of Roman history (when Caesar was under thirty).

Caesar did not distinguish himself through a march through Africa (something that Cato Uticensis did shortly before he committed suicide). Some of his earlier military exploits are attributable to other Roman commanders.

Another inaccuracy: Caesar serves on board the War Galley as a non-commissioned officer (tesserarius) reporting to a centurion. The Julii were member of the Patrician class who started their military service as Tribunes. Only Plebeians would have served in such a low rank. The turning from Rome and the circumstances pressed against him may well have meant that he would have been willing to take any position. After all, he just needed to get away and gather an army to return to Rome and defeat Sulla.



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