Cover Image: I Am Rome

I Am Rome

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date:

Member Reviews

Maybe it’s the translation. but this book is a bunch of words without much story. There’s no narrative ARC to capture my interest. DNF.

Was this review helpful?

I did not know quite what to expect when I delved into I am Rome by Santiago Posteguillo. But what I soon discovered on the pages intrigued me. History, law, politics, prophecy... so many elements were woven together with this novel. Having only studied Julius Caesar from an academic standpoint, this book succeeded in adding a whole new dimension to my perspective on this captivating man.
Dynamic, captivating, and rife with tension, I am Rome is worth the read. With its shifting plot and compelling characters, readers cannot help but fall into the pages.
I received this book from Netgalley. All opinions are my own.

Was this review helpful?

History tells us how Gaius Julius Caesar’s life ended. However, we know truly little about his earlier life and the events that contributed to the man he became. In I Am Rome by Santiago Posteguillo, we learn about his early life. We see him as a young man who wants to do the right thing. When he offers to defend some Macedonians who feel they have been wronged by the powers in Rome, he takes on a case that most of his family and friends feel will lead to his death. He loses the case, but he gains the respect and support of the people of Rome. This is the beginning of his successful political life. This is a rare glimpse into the history of the Roman Empire. Caesar became one of most successful leaders of Rome, the dominant power in the western world at the time. This is historical fiction at its best.

Was this review helpful?

Thanks to Netgalley for the eARC of this novel. I really liked the concept of a fictionalized account of Julius Caesar's early legal career, but this was pure pulp. This was Caesar as some sort of 70s movie character who always gets his man even though nothing he does is particularly clever, Plus he's really good in bed. I ... just ... could ... not. Does not translate to American audiences.

Was this review helpful?

For more reviews and bookish posts visit:

I Am Rome (Roma soy yo) by Santiago Posteguillo is the first in a historical fiction series following a young Julius Caesar, making a name for himself and enemies while he’s at it. Mr. Posteguillo is a published Spanish author philologist, and linguist.

This is one of the best historical fiction books I’ve read in a while. The novel revolves around a 23-year-old Gaius Julius Caesar taking on Gnaeus Cornelius Dolabella, a corrupt Roman Bureaucrat, in court.

Like each of us, Julius Caesar is a man made from the sum of his experiences. Each step he takes in court, or in life, is based on something that happened in the past. I Am Rome by Santiago Posteguillo moves in time to show why Caesar is doing what he’s doing.

Caesar’s uncle, Gaius Marius, plays a big role in the book. He was a seven-time consul (unheard of), a popular military and civil leader. His young nephew adored him, but also bore the burden of becoming just as successful, or more than his famous uncle.

Each section is told through the eyes of a different character, whether it is Caesar himself, his wife Cornelia, Titus Labienus his best friend, or the antagonists Cinna, Dolabella, or Sulla.

To my surprise, I really enjoyed the trial aspect of the book. The strategy, procedures, and arguments made an exciting read just as much, if not more, than the description of battles.

I have to be honest and say that I don’t know much about this part of Roman history. I have no idea if the author was fictionalizing historical events, or making things up as he goes along. And I enjoyed the narrative too much to stop every five pages and search.

The only complaint I have was that the character of Julius Caesar wasn’t what I had in mind the little I knew about him. I thought he’d be more brutal, to be frank, but his strategic mind is on full display regardless.

Was this review helpful?

This book goes into the story of Julius Caesar's early life and the trial he took part in as prosecutor against Dolabella, a corrupt senator who had a lot of power and had already bought off the entire jury. It's historical fiction at its best, richly detailed and exciting between the war saga flashbacks and the courtroom drama in the present, with a love story between Caesar and his wife Cornelia peppered in for good measure.

It's long, at 600+ pages, and probably won't appeal to anyone who would get bored of detailed history but for history nerds? Yes, yes, yes. This is a good one. At least I think it is.

I usually scroll through the reviews on Goodreads before I submit my own and all were in Spanish (it's translated from Spanish) except for one, and that one went into detail about historical inaccuracies in this book. I can't agree or disagree because I'm no expert on Roman history (my own history nerd focus is on early 1700s naval history/Golden Age of Piracy stuff and I don't stray outside that much), so I'm keeping this review at five stars because I enjoyed the heck out of it. I'm sure once it is released in English, more people will chime in on this, and I'll stay in my corner of recommending this to historical fiction fans!

Was this review helpful?

The first in a series starring Caius Julius Caesar, this novel focuses on a young Caesar, lawyer for a Senator Dolabella, who is accused of corruption. We get to see a different side of Caesar, one that does not pinpoint his days as emperor of Rome, but his youth, vivacity and love story with his wife.

*Special thanks to NetGalley and Random House for this e-arc.*

Was this review helpful?

If you think about Rome every day, then this is the book for you!

This book follows the rise of Julius Caesar and his origins as a nobody. I didn't know anything about Caesar's early life, and this book gave me an appreciation for how he went from a nobody to the Caesar we know of today. I guess you could say this story helped humanize him for me and gave me a better understanding of the odds he was up against.

However, this is a very history heavy book. It will be easier to follow if you already know the history because there are a lot of names and Romance customs and the like thrown at the reader right from the start. I had to read this in short bursts to keep it from feeling overwhelming. If you prefer fast-paced books, you might find this one a bit frustrating. But if you like a long slow burn, then this will be right up your alley.

Thank you to the publisher for letting me have an ARC copy in exchange for an honest review.

Was this review helpful?

I Am Rome is a complicated yet enjoyable story about the life and career of Julius Caesar. I found it a bit slow and had trouble getting into this one. Lots of characters to keep track of and a lot of history to get through. It is a long one so brace yourself. My favorite thing about this is the writing style, it is very well written.

Was this review helpful?

Thank you Netgalley and Random House/Ballantine for the eARC.

Julius Caesar---every legend has a beginning.

In this first book of a series to follow, the life and career of Julius Caesar follows his childhood and a couple of firsts: soldier Julius Caesar and lawyer Julius Caesar. These tales of courage, betrayal, power struggles, and beginnings are masterfully woven. Don't be daunted by the print won't be able to put it down.
I'll anxiously await the next book.

Was this review helpful?

this is very dry. i'm not going to lie. it's a tough read clocking in at over 600 pages. and being dry makes it a bit rough. if you think about the roman empire a lot, it's going to be for you... lol. if you don't it won't. i read this in short bursts. and found it was manageable in small 20 page bursts once in a while and enjoyable. however, it didn't really stick with me. solid b-

Was this review helpful?

I have had a self-imposed rule that I never DNF an ARC, but this book is 600+ pages and the first 13% has been an absolute misery for me. I told myself I would give the book 20% before allowing myself to DNF, and then I got to an incredibly cringey sex scene between Julius Caesar and his wife and I just had to tap out. I'm not quitting this because of the boring prose, as this is a book in translation and perhaps it's more scintillating in its original Spanish. I'm quitting this because of massive info-dumping, confusing choices of name usage, and completely one-dimensional characters (so far). Perhaps the next 83% of the book is an engrossing masterpiece and I'm missing out, but life is too short and my TBR is too long. Mea culpa for requesting this ARC, but I've read other Roman history books, both fiction and nonfiction, that completely captivated me so I thought it was worth a try... Thank you to Net Galley and Random House Publishing Group - Ballantine, Ballantine Books for letting me try a digital advanced copy.

Was this review helpful?

I'm sorry, but I couldn't even finish this one. I would like to give Mr. Posteguillo the benefit of the doubt and blame it on poor translation, but somewhere along the line this became a terribly-written book. It's full of repetitions and redundancies, and some bizarre choices about names - for instance, Caesar's and his father's full names were both "Gaius Julius Caesar" (something of a family tradition, it seems). In the many flashbacks to Caesar's youth it chooses to refer to the father as "Gaius Julius Caesar Sr." (and occasionally likewise gives Caesar a "Jr."), which just hits very wrong to me. It's simultaneously too modern and too ... encyclopedic, perhaps? Very out of place. It also keeps insisting on inserting more of people's names into the narration than necessary; several times it says things like "Aurelia [Caesar's mother] held her son, Caesar, on her lap" or even "Aurelia ... began to rock Gaius Julius Caesar Jr." -- we know who her son is! He is the only baby in this scene! Why are you saying his full name again?! It's like the author is either grasping for a higher word count or has a witheringly low opinion of the reader's ability to remember details from one page ago.

Setting aside the prose, which I was willing to give a lot of leeway for it maybe being the translator, the story itself was becoming eye-rolling. Posteguillo seems to lack all subtlety in his characters, with Caesar (or to a lesser extent Marius, in some flashback scenes) being a shining cartoon hero, and his opponent Dolabella being a mustache-twirling cartoon villain. The final straw for me was one scene which cut back and forth between the muscular, virile Caesar having athletic sex with his wife (who outright says he is "the best" at sex) and Dolabella, disgustingly fat, whipping several slaves because it's the only way he can get an erection now. Absolutely ridiculous.

If the book were shorter, I would have stuck with it out of obligation to NetGalley and providing a comprehensive review, but at more than 600 pages I don't think I can handle that. Sorry guys.

Was this review helpful?

Thank you to NetGalley, Santiago Posteguillo, and Random House for this gifted ARC.

I am a sucker for stories featuring a clear underdog. I can't help but root for the little guy to prove everyone wrong. But, when I think about Julius Ceasar, I don't think underdog; I think "one of the most powerful military leaders of Rome." I think, "a name known by almost everyone in the world."

Yet, no one really talks about his rise to fame. Did Ceasar start off as a big, powerful force to be reckoned with? Surprisingly, no. Santiago Posteguillo dives into who Ceasar was before he was CEASAR and creates a fascinating tale that describes life in Ancient Rome.

I should point out that my husband is a history nerd. He probably thinks about the Roman Empire more than once a day. I never understood it until now. The tale of how Ceasar was basically a nobody, a man who had to fight for his life on numerous occasions, was deliciously captivating. I get the hype around him now. He was honor personified and had to rise to the top by sheer wits and luck. "I Am Rome" is a tale of how Ceasar was, in fact, an underdog who beat the system and created a world of his own imagining.

This is the only reason I am not giving this book 5 stars. There is a lot of history packed into this book. The premise is a trial, but the trial only makes up about 25% of the book. The rest are flashbacks and intense character development scenes, which I know Posteguillo will use for the second book in this series. While these parts are interesting, they are much slower-paced. The action does not pick up until you are about 75% into the book. HOWEVER, my husband severely disagrees with me and says the entire thing is perfectly paced. 😶

If you want to know more about Ceasar and Rome, then I recommend picking up this book ASAP. It truly is a fascinating look at how volatile Ancient Rome was. If this is not your thing, definitely buy it for the Roman Empire person in your life; they will not be able to put it down.

Was this review helpful?

I like good historical fiction novels. I like the way they can make people and times come alive, and even though I may be familiar with the person and era, I always find I learn something. "I Am Rome" is an example of an excellent historical fiction novel. Even though I am familiar with Julius Caesar and his later life, I didn't know who or what influenced him when he was younger. This book fills in the blanks.

A somewhat naive twenty-three-year-old Julius Caesar is selected to prosecute a corrupt politician, and even though he knows the tribunal has been bought, he still thinks he can get justice for some of the people the politician has wronged. In a period when individuals are routinely assassinated for their political beliefs or actions, Caesar is putting his life in jeopardy by taking this case and going against the ruling faction of the Roman Empire. The story then uses a series of flashbacks to various periods in Caesar's life to illustrate how he came to believe he could take on the corruption running rampant at the time.

Author Santiago Posteguillo does an incredible job of depicting life in ancient Rome. This book has it all: villainous characters, epic battles, courtroom drama, and a gripping love story. All elements are woven together to reveal how Julius Caesar became, well, Julius Caesar. 5/5 stars.

Thank you, NetGalley and Ballantine Books, for an advance copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. The publication date is March 5, 2024.

Was this review helpful?

This has everything you love in historical fiction. Vivid characters, strong plotting, great attention to historic detail integrated seamlessly into the story, and always a deep relevance to the present. This is the story Julius Caesar - in this volume it covers his early years up to the age of 23 when he takes on the arrogance, greed and cruelty of the current regime with a daring and dangerous lawsuit with himself as prosecutor. As the parts of the trial commence, the reader is given flashbacks to the relevant Roman events and personalities, as well as Caesar's home life. Even though you may know a great deal about Caesar, you will still find it riveting and fully absorbing, dashing through the long novel as if it was a short story. It's always fun to watch lasting history be made. Great stuff, and I highly, highly recommend it.

Was this review helpful?

Absolutely loved I Am Rome! Well researched, interesting and super entertaining story of Julius Cesar from his youth to his adult life. Fraught with mind bogglingly perilous politics, a target by many of the most powerful Senators, Julius develops into the man history knows today. An unputdownable book, will keep you reading to the very end!

Was this review helpful?

I enjoy ancient historical fiction, so I was interested in a book about Julius Caesar. I know little about him other than the fact that he famously said, "Et tu, Brute?" This novel actually chronicles his early life, including some backstory and ending at the very beginning of his fame. The book is well-written, but it is too long. I don't mind a lengthy novel, but 600+ pages wasn't necessary. There were too many tangents - a tighter editing job would improve the reader's experience. This is the first of a series, and while I'm sure the subsequent books will be good, I just don't have the interest to keep reading.

Was this review helpful?

Corruption, greed and power. They will lead some to commit unthinkable acts.
When those people are at the top, there is nearly nothing that can stop them. Nearly.
In this story, the one person who fights against immeasurable odds is Julius Caesar.

If you know me, I don't read much historical fiction. On top of that, I was immediately intimidated when I opened my ARC and saw the page length (500+ pages). So, I'll be honest, early on, I thought this might be a DNF - not because it is poorly written, I just didn't think it would be for me.
Thankfully I hung in there and actually read this book pretty quickly.

There are essentially two parts of the book:
War - there are several battles as key figures that set the stage for the key part of the book. I'm not a huge fan of battles so some of this I could have done without, but I do understand why it was presented.
The trial - this is really the most interesting part of the story, as one young lawyer, Julius Caesar tries to take down Senator Dolabella. The odds are stacked against him, as it is clear the judges have already been bribed.

Since I'm not a history buff, I couldn't tell you what parts of this book were fact or fiction, but I loved how Caesar laid out his case. Does it all go to plan? Not quite. But I didn't hate how things ultimately played out for some.

If you love historical fiction, this is definitely worth checking out. If you are like me, you may also consider giving it a chance, it may surprise you.

Was this review helpful?

I feel like this was a huge undertaking. And for a historical fiction that took liberties, with a legal thriller plot mixed in. I don't mind when liberties are taken in historical fiction. I really don't. I've loved magical elements put in. I've loved the dialogues and internal thoughts that we'd have no way of knowing about but the fact that they fit...perfection.
And that's something that didn't work for me in this book. There were liberties taken but I feel like you still need a huge grasp on Rome and Julius Caesar to do any sort of book to be successful. And this had quite a lot of just..not liberties but straight inaccuracies. For me, it pulled away from the story line and enjoyment of the book. I really wanted to like this more than I did. Will I still read the next? Well of course.

Was this review helpful?