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No Roads Lead to Rome

de R.S. Gompertz

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1231,315,026 (3.21)9
Amazon 2011 Breakthrough Novel semi-finalist It's AD 123. On the edge of the Roman Empire, a dead governor leaves behind the opportunity of a lifetime. Mysteriously promoted, a senator s son finds himself in an ancient world of trouble. Within days of taking office, Hispania s taxpayers are in open revolt, all legionaries depart to build Hadrian's Wall, and the once-sleepy province is rocked by slave revolts, bread riots, and fad religions. A quixotic saga steeped in humor and history, "No Roads Lead to Rome" chronicles the clumsy schemes of the new governor and his shadowy adviser, a superstitious centurion's struggle to save his faith in the faded ideals of the Republic, and a young rebel's reluctant vow to change the course of history. All are pitted against the Gods, the Emperor, and the decline and fall of nearly everything. It's AD 123--a time not unlike the present--and No Roads Lead to Rome. From Publishers Weekly: The Roman Empire is at a crossroads, and Emperor Hadrian, realizing that continued expansion will make the empire's borders indefensible, decrees consolidation to a size the legions can better guard. That story is told here in a confusion of the historical, the comical, the metaphorical, and the adventurous that mostly (and surprisingly) holds together fairly well. In the province of Hispania, the governor, Festus Rufius, has just taken over for his murdered predecessor, veteran Centurion Marcus Valerius. Surviving on graft, plots, kickbacks and bribery, the Empire lurches on while Hispania is beset by slave revolts, food riots, uncollected taxes, and bad wine. And so the province's leadership must resort to a series of desperate illusions to disguise its failings. All this is recounted swiftly, with verve, panache, and a light tread that makes for a delightful, well told tale.… (mais)
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Exibindo 3 de 3
A motley crew in Tarraco from the new governor down to a new recruit to the legions get involved in the goings on leading up to the arrival in Hispania of Hadrian.

It was probably meant to be funny. It wasn't. ( )
  Robertgreaves | Jun 29, 2017 |
What a fun read this was! Not your average Roman epic, but a clever, fast-paced farce with shades of Asterix and Don Quixote thrown in - I enjoyed it from start to finish. The year is 123 AD and in one of the far-flung corners of the crumbling Roman Empire a centurion in pursuit of his pension, an incompetent vainglorious govenor, a Jewish conscript, and various mutinous slaves and barbarians take part in a wild goose chase across Hispania. Not altogether serious and with enough twists and turns to keep the reader guessing, I found this to be a very entertaining read. ( )
  SabinaE | Jan 23, 2016 |
I really wanted to like this book. The premise is strong: In the reign of Hadrian, an aging Roman warrior seeks an end to his army career; an uncaring and cantankerous governor of a Roman outpost takes control of his new post; a mysterious box contains a secret and politically explosive document. This self-published book was also attempting to take a novel approach to the sand-and-sandal epic by introducing a light and more humorous voice and approach.

Author R.S. Gompertz writing is, at times, very strong. He does a wonderful job with exposition, and his powers of description bely the fact that this is his first novel. An example as Centurion Valerius walks through the Roman province of Hispania: "The misty silhouettes of trees reached over the path like bony arms of death...The gray gloom infiltrated every wet breath that Valerius suck through his teeth." I truly enjoyed Gompertz' mood and scenery setting.

Where Gompertz fails is in the cohesiveness of the story, the dialogue and an ability to draw the reader into his characters. The story doesn't have the strong connective component from chapter to chapter, or as one transitions between scenes, that one finds in more polished work. The dialogue is stilted and I found myself re-reading conversations to try and get a comprehensive grasp of motivation and understand the base meaning of an exchange between characters (let alone trying to identify what deeper meaning there may have been).

In the end, I suspect the novel would move from a 2-star rating to a high 3 or 4 with some professional editing. Gompertz is a genuinely good writer and has a fine sense of humor. Those components alone aren't able to make up for a fractured and disconnected story.

I look forward to Gompertz securing a publishing contract and the services of a strong editor. ( )
  JGolomb | Aug 5, 2010 |
Exibindo 3 de 3
History dull? You’re kidding, right? And if you’re not, No Roads Lead to Rome generally is...author R. S. Gompertz’s first novel spins a lively tale of life in second-century Hispania, a backwater province of a decadent empire.

The new governor, Festus Rufius, arrives to discover that the grain stores are depleted, the treasury is drained, his soldiers have been shipped off to Britannia, and the slaves are, well, revolting. Oh, and his predecessor was mysteriously murdered in his bed.

Enter Marcus Valerius, a seasoned old centurion ready to claim his pension and retire to the sun-baked North African coast. But first the new governor sends Valerius on one last fool’s errand — delivery of a box, contents unknown, to Londinium, off in the wilds of Britannia. And, to top it off, he’s stuck baby-sitting a young conscript, Gaius Severus, who might be a spy, might be an informer, but sure doesn’t act like just another local yokel.

In alternating chapters, we follow Rufius, as he tries frantically to get riots quelled, taxes collected, and roads paved before the emperor’s upcoming visit, and the odd couple, Valerius and Severus, as they struggle through the wilds of Hispania and Gaul on their way to Londinium.
 
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Amazon 2011 Breakthrough Novel semi-finalist It's AD 123. On the edge of the Roman Empire, a dead governor leaves behind the opportunity of a lifetime. Mysteriously promoted, a senator s son finds himself in an ancient world of trouble. Within days of taking office, Hispania s taxpayers are in open revolt, all legionaries depart to build Hadrian's Wall, and the once-sleepy province is rocked by slave revolts, bread riots, and fad religions. A quixotic saga steeped in humor and history, "No Roads Lead to Rome" chronicles the clumsy schemes of the new governor and his shadowy adviser, a superstitious centurion's struggle to save his faith in the faded ideals of the Republic, and a young rebel's reluctant vow to change the course of history. All are pitted against the Gods, the Emperor, and the decline and fall of nearly everything. It's AD 123--a time not unlike the present--and No Roads Lead to Rome. From Publishers Weekly: The Roman Empire is at a crossroads, and Emperor Hadrian, realizing that continued expansion will make the empire's borders indefensible, decrees consolidation to a size the legions can better guard. That story is told here in a confusion of the historical, the comical, the metaphorical, and the adventurous that mostly (and surprisingly) holds together fairly well. In the province of Hispania, the governor, Festus Rufius, has just taken over for his murdered predecessor, veteran Centurion Marcus Valerius. Surviving on graft, plots, kickbacks and bribery, the Empire lurches on while Hispania is beset by slave revolts, food riots, uncollected taxes, and bad wine. And so the province's leadership must resort to a series of desperate illusions to disguise its failings. All this is recounted swiftly, with verve, panache, and a light tread that makes for a delightful, well told tale.

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