Member Reviews

In Rome of 77 B.C., the patrician senators were in the driver’s seat. One of their most corrupt members, Senator Dolabella, went on trial for corruption committed during his stint as governor of Macedonia. He had the best lawyers, he’d bought off the judges, and he was known for using violence against any who opposed him. No lawyer would dare prosecute the case. Until an unknown twenty-three-year-old stepped forward to deny the power of the elites. His name: Gaius Julius Caesar.

Aided by his best friend Labienus, Caesar attempts to beat the odds and hold the corrupt Dolabella accountable. As the case moves forward, Posteguillo deftly weaves in the history of Caesar’s uncle Marius, a populist leader who opposed the Dictator Sulla and his ally Dolabella, as well as Caesar’s own past. As the action builds, we begin to see the qualities that made Caesar Caesar. The author does a terrific job of getting under the skin of a dry historical figure, revealing his doubts as well as his ambitions. The rigorous attention to detail, along with Posteguillo’s narrative skills, make this a fascinating read for anyone drawn to this period of history.

Was this review helpful?

Loved it, loved it, loved it. As happens so many times when reading historical novels or history of this period, one cannot help but see and become nearly overwhelmed by comparisons of that time with ours. Evil, power-driven people taking personal advantage of a great civilization and destroying it without a care in the process while driving over anything and everyone that would get in their way. That is the story of our times, and the story of the Roman Empire in many ways. Far from being some dry diatribe, I Am Rome breathes life into Julias Ceasar, his family and associates, and characters of the time they shared the stage with as the future of Rome was decided. Lovers of historical fiction will love this book but so will those who are just looking for a good story to become enveloped in.

Was this review helpful?

I enjoyed reading the historical fiction novel about Julius Caesar's early life "I am Rome" by Santiago Posteguillo. Having enjoyed reading other historical fiction taking place in ancient Rome, I was looking to being entertained while learning a bit more about Roman history and Julius Caesar. Posteguillo's book absolutely met my expectations. The book felt more authentic than other books I have read in the treatment of ancient Roman culture, society, and individuals. In addition to learning about Caesar's family and the events in first third or so of his life through the entertaining lens of a novel, I also came to understand other influential public Roman individuals from that period.

At 624 pages, this is not a short book, though it was easy to read and become I became deeply immersed in the various suspenseful plots of (and against) Caesar's early life. When I finished this book, I was curious as to how faithful it was to the known history, and enjoyed reading the encyclopedia entries that covered the events in this book. Yes, even at a high level there were differences. It seems to be within the bounds of artistic license, though a serious historian may not be so forgiving... I was sad that the book ended before finishing the full story of Caesar's life and death ("Et tu Brute?"). On the other hand, I am happy that I can look forward to more Posteguillo novels about Caesar.

I recommend this book for people interested in historical fiction, ancient Rome, and Julius Caesar. I look forward to Santiago Posteguillo's next novels in this series. And I thank both the author and Ballantine Books for kindly providing a temporary electronic review copy of this work.

Was this review helpful?

I stopped after chapter 2 (4%). I was sort of bored, but that said, I’m really not the target audience. I don’t read a ton of history. It’s well written and will likely go over well with the target audience.

Thank you to NetGalley and Random House for the ARC.

Was this review helpful?

I don't know what to say about this book. It definitely not what I expected. Couldn't finish the book.

Was this review helpful?

Thank you to the publisher for an early copy of this book in exchange for a review. I enjoyed this, and learned a lot that I didn't know about ancient Rome. Thoroughly fun for anyone who enjoys history and political thrillers, and will definitely do well on the bookshelves.

Was this review helpful?

“I Am Rome” was an enjoyable work of historical fiction. I was not really familiar with Julius Caesar’s early life, so it was interesting to learn about, as well as the author’s thoughts on what Caesar and others might have said or done, filling in what the historical record lacks.

Was this review helpful?

Without training in Classical history, most modern readers probably would identify Gaius Julius Caesar as the “first emperor” of ancient Rome, which, of curse, he wasn’t. (That was his nephew, Ocatavian, who took the title “Augustus.”) Gaius got himself named “Dictator,” though, which made the Senate nervous and which got him killed shortly thereafter. If you’re interested in this period of history at all, you probably are aware of his conquest of Gaul and Britain. But how did he reach even that level of authority in Rome’s labyrinthine governmental system? Well, he was a talented politician, but he didn’t come out of nowhere. He was the nephew of Gaius Marius, war hero, seven-times consul, and also assassinated. Later, he married the granddaughter of Sulla, another autocrat and Marius’s greatest rival. In short, Julius Caesar was connected.

But he was also a pretty good lawyer, and the focus of most of the story is on his prosecution of Gnaeus Cornelius Dolabella, a longtime enemy of the Julian family, for the corruption he flaunted as governor of Macedonia, by which he amassed enormous wealth and power. (He was acting on behalf of some of Dolabella’s victims, as criminal prosecutions were often a private matte in Rome, not necessarily a state prerogative.) He was only twenty-three, not yet well known in the law, but Caesar was nothing if not self-confident, and I fund the details of the case, and of Gaius’s tactics, fascinating. However, it’s all deeply technical on several levels and I can picture many readers becoming thoroughly lost.

But that’s not the biggest problem. In places, the author’s style is stilted in a nearly Victorian way, winch makes it difficult to read and tends to distract the reader from the story. Though, honestly, I don’t know whether this is the fault of the original Spanish text or of the translator’s efforts. (The original book has been very popular in Europe, which leads me to suspect the latte.) The chapters are headed in Roman numerals, which does the American reader no favors, since almost no one today is taught Roman numerals in school. (Can you, at a glance, translate “XLVIII” into Arabic numerals?) Then there’s the business of listing scene changes every few paragraphs. Within only a few pages, we get “Roman Forum, that same night,” then a bit of action. Then, ”Outside the bronze doors of the Curia,” then a brief conversation. Then, “Julia family domus,” and another bit of business. Then, “The streets of Rome,” and on and on. This obtrusive pseudo-cinematic device gets old very quickly. Finally, since Caesar also was named “Gaius,” the author often refers to him as “ Gaius Julius Caesar, Jr.” -- a very unhistorical usage. His contemporaries didn’t even refer to him as “Caesar the Younger,” as they did Pliny, for instance, because the elder Caesar was no one notable.

All in all, the idea for this book is basically a good one -- digging into the process of how one of the key figures of the ancient world evolved into the person he became -- but its execution (at least in English) could have been far, far better.

Was this review helpful?

I am Rome by Santiago Posteguillo is a story about Julius Caesar.
The book starts very slowly with a lot of information at the beginning of the book.
I really could not get into the book but after the first half, I started to enjoy it.
I know a new series needs background, but it was a little too much.
I did enjoy the second half.

Was this review helpful?

In Santiago Posteguillo's gripping tale, "I Am Rome," the reader is transported to the turbulent world of ancient Rome, where corruption thrives, and power is wielded ruthlessly by the elite. Set in 77 B.C., the novel unveils the story of Gaius Julius Caesar, a young and unknown figure who dares to challenge the formidable Senator Dolabella.

At its heart, this book is an enthralling portrayal of a pivotal moment in history, a time when the fate of Rome hung in the balance. Dolabella's grip on the city seems unbreakable, with his control over the jury and willingness to resort to violence to maintain his power. Yet, against overwhelming odds, a twenty-three-year-old Caesar emerges from obscurity, boldly stepping forward to prosecute Dolabella and defend the people of Rome.

Posteguillo weaves a vivid tapestry of political intrigue, betrayals, and larger-than-life characters. Through skillful storytelling, he brings to life the grandeur of ancient Rome while delving deep into the psyche of a young man driven by an unyielding sense of justice. The author masterfully captures the essence of Caesar's charisma, determination, and unwavering courage, painting a compelling portrait of the legendary figure before his ascent to greatness.

The narrative is a symphony of epic battles, heart-stopping confrontations, and moments of profound bravery that resonate with the reader long after the final page. Posteguillo's meticulous research and attention to historical detail lend authenticity to the novel, transporting readers back in time to experience the sights, sounds, and complexities of ancient Rome.

"I Am Rome" stands as a monumental work of historical fiction, skillfully blending fact and imagination to recreate a pivotal chapter in the life of one of history's most influential figures. It is a testament to the resilience of the human spirit, the enduring fight for justice, and the indelible impact one individual can have on the course of history. This book is an irresistible journey into the heart of ancient Rome—a captivating saga that leaves an indelible mark on the reader's imagination.

Was this review helpful?

I would like to thank Random House and Net galley for the opportunity to read this book as an ARC. I would also like to thank Kathleen Quinlan, of Random House for rexching out and suggesting it to me.
I understand that this book was released first in Europe and that this is an English translation.It is also , as I understand it, meant to be part of a trilogy. While I have studied Ancient Roman History, and consider my self to be fairly well read, this book was a lot of new and exciting information. I see that the book is classified as historical fiction, which to me, means every thing may may not be precisely what happened, and every conversation may not be verified. I am fine with that. I feel like the text, with the scope of the times and the characters, is excellent. It goes to a time in Caesar's life, before Cleopatra, before Brutus, before much of what we know from History. It is a young , in someways naive, Caesar that we meet here. A Caesar who wants to do the right thing, but is not always sure how to do it. A Caesar who is loyal to family, friends and Rome.It is a long book, but I was never bored. It is rich with detail. I felt the translation was good, I did not feel at any time that the translation was inaccurate or unclear. There are footnotes scattered throughout ,for certain Latin and Greek phrases. There is also an appendix in the back with the list of characters, etc. For myself, it would be helpful if I did not have to go to the end of the chapter for the footnotes. I would also find it helpful if the list of characters was at the beginning.

Was this review helpful?

Thanks to Random House/Ballantine and NetGalley for this ARC of 'I Am Rome' by Santiago Posteguillo.

I've been intrigued by Julius Caesar for years and have read histories, novelizations, and even his own writings so I was glad to be approved to receive Posteguillo's 'I Am Rome' from NetGalley.

In a nutshell, it's about Caesar's life until the age of about 24, his influences and how he developed into the towering figure he was to become over the course of his life. It revolves around his participation in the trial of the corrupt Governor of Macedonia, Senator Dollabella which was a pivotal point in his life and career.

With that said, this is a sprawling account of Rome over the course of many decades preceding his birth and even the mythology associated with Rome and Caesar's family line. The structure is, I suppose, necessarily complex in order to keep Caesar present throughout. If the author had taken a linear approach the hero of the tale wouldn't have arrived until well into the second half of the book. It can be hard to hold the thread as the book jumps to-and-fro through history, introducing numerous key characters and secondary ones.

If you can stick with the non-linear timeline, this is a very interesting and enjoyable way to read and learn about the emergence of Caesar, the Rome of his time and previously, and how he became such an important figure in the history of Rome and Europe.

Was this review helpful?

I didn’t love this one, but I’m not sure if it was the writing style or just that I read it at the wrong time (I’m a bit of a mood reader so sometimes that affects whether I enjoy something)

Was this review helpful?

Many of us never studied Roman history and take our knowledge of Julius Caesar from reading Shakespeare or watching movies mostly based on Shakespeare. While Shakespeare has taken poetic license so has Santiago Postegillo. This is not that same story.

Postegrillo created a fictional account about the young Julius Caesar, his relationship with his mother, his uncle Giaus Marius, seven-time consul of Rome, his arranged marriage at twelve to a nine-year old daughter for the family’s political advantage, his wartime service, his popularity with the poor of Rome and the non-citizens of the surrounding and conquered territories, and the hatred felt by the Senate and its leader Sulla. All of these stories are interspersed with the parts of a trial where a twenty-three year old Julius agrees to represent Macedonians who are not citizens, but ruled by Rome, in a fraud and sexual assault case, his first trial, against Donabella, Sulla’s lackey, who has bought off all the Senators serving as judge and jury.

The writing propels the story forward. Witnessing political, military, and legal strategies, including using murder to solve problems, brings the reader front and center of the battles be they on the battlefield or in the courtroom. The betrayals were surprising. I did find some of the violent sex scenes less necessary because the author had already painted the amoral characters of the men involved. I was drawn to the prose, the story and imagining life then. If you read this book without looking for historical accuracy you will have a great experience.

The author did a great job bringing a new story to light. This is the first in a series. I look forward to seeing how the author will tackle other areas of Caesar’s life with which we may be familiar,

Thank you NetGalley and Penguin Random House for this advanced copy,

Was this review helpful?

Julius Caesar is one of the most recognized names in history. What we know about him mostly starts right before he becomes the famous dictator. But what brought him to that moment in history? What drove him? What shaped him? In this book, the reader is taken as far back as Caesar's days as a young boy where he got his first taste of Roman "justice". 
Heads up. The chapters move in time. One minute, the reader is at the defining moment where Caesar will become popular then they are taken back in time to his childhood or when he first began to make a name for himself with those who would want to kill him. At first, this move between time periods was confusing. I had to keep an eye on the first section of each chapter to know when and where I was. But as the novel progressed, I saw that the movement was a perfect dance to help the reader fully understand Caesar and those around him. If the story was told in a flat chronological order, I feel that I would have forgotten important things that were key to the character and plot development. This intricate time dance keep it all fresh in my mind and cleared up many questions I had. 
The story is told from the perspective of many characters: Caesar, his mother, his enemies, his friends. This gives the reader a comprehensive view of the history that we know so well that is yet to come. One would think that knowing the end would ruin this telling, but it doesn't. It actually helps as we get a view of the early years and understand more than his rise to ultimate power and the betrayal of those around him. 
I found myself caught in wanting to know more and finish the book as quick as I could. Yes, Caesar will be murdered. Yes, he had enemies, but did he create all those enemies in the few years before his dictatorship? The man we know of was created many years before. 
A read I highly suggest for those who love stories about real historical characters. It will have you wanting to dive deeper into the life and times of Julius Caesar.

Was this review helpful?

Book one of seven? I hope it keeps up the traction and pacing of the first book! Caesar has always been an enigma so it's fun to see Santiago's spin on his story.

Was this review helpful?

I have just completed my reading of Santiago Posteguillo's "I Am Rome: A Novel of Julius Caesar" from an ARC provided to me by Random House/Ballantine, and I am pleased to report that it was a pleasant surprise. Most people that know anything about Julius Caesar know it primarily from his military career or from Shakespeare's play. This book focuses on his life as a young man prior to his military career and immerses the reader in the Byzantine political landscape of the Late Roman Republic. At its center is a trial of a Roman governor in the Balkans who epitomizes everything wrong with the Roman Republic in its twilight years. Caesar becomes a prosecutor representing the people of Rome against the corrupt governor in a massively uphill fight against the power of the Senate dominated by Roman elites determined to repress the lower classes while maintaining the status quo. The story, moving through flashbacks and vividly imagined figures prominent (for better or worse) in Caesar's formative years, provides an occasionally startling picture of Caesar as a political figure determined to restore balance to his beloved Rome by curbing the power of the Senate and breaking the aristocratic hold on it.
Needless to say, this is not the general impression of Caesar that emerges from his own writing or that of Shakespeare. For this reader, it was something of a revelation in the way that Caesar emerges as a man willing to repeatedly risk everything in the service of Rome in a very nuanced fashion. Caesar is at the center of this, of course, but he is far from the only interesting part of this reimagining of Roman history as the decadent Republic comes to life in all of its squalor and glory, thus providing a far more nuanced understanding of the Imperium which would replace it. The book starts out slowly, but quickly begins to capture the reader's interest until, by its conclusion, this reader found himself feeling much more understanding of the complexity of both the Roman Republic and the Imperium which succeeded it, not to speak of Julius Caesar. I heartily endorse it.

Was this review helpful?

Posteguillo has an excellent reputation as an author of historical fiction, specializing in the Roman era. This volume, original title "Roma Soy Yo" was first published in 2022. Unfortunately, the work suffers from a very poor translation. Indeed, perhaps Posteguillo was the translator as he has completed post doctoral work in the study of linguistics and translation. The problem arises from this other specialty, in my opinion. His focus on 19th century literature has contributed to a style of writing that reflects that era. In short, the prose has become tired and turgid. Perhaps the best place for this trilogy will be on Academic Reading lists. Recommended for those who have an interest in the Roman era.

Full disclosure: I received this ARC in exchange for writing an unbiased review. Thank you for this opportunity.

Was this review helpful?

I received a free e-arc of this book through Netgalley. This book is a little slow in the beginning and I was starting to doubt I was going to be able to make it through this large book, BUT THEN it really took off and pulled me into the setting of Rome and made me care about the characters. I kinda hated for it to end so I look forward to the next book in this series.

Was this review helpful?

"I Am Rome" is a historical fiction book by Santiago Posteguillo. I have really mixed feelings about this book - which is the first in a series. I have an interest in Julius Caesar, but admit to knowing not much about him other than highlights. If I read this book *just* as an introduction to who Julius Caesar was - it wasn't a bad book, minus the time jumps (for backstory purposes) and multitudes of characters (it took a very long time for me to keep track of all the characters). But if I was reading the book for an exploration of who Julius Caesar was checking facts online, then it fell apart a bit (though, one could argue, that's why it's "historical fiction" not "history"). There's a lot to this book - a lot of backstory, a lot of characters, a lot of politics (though that's understandable), and it made, for me, some rather dense reading. I think this series is an interesting idea, but I'd prefer reading an abridged version - this one needed tightening. This book falls between a four and three star for me - again, the idea is great, but the execution wasn't as good as I hoped.

Was this review helpful?