#newworldnovel is a feature in which we get people to tell us which book they’d choose if they had to leave earth today and go to a brand new world empty of all our literature. Would they choose something to comfort themselves or would they choose something to help whatever may live or come to live in this new world?
Emperor – Conn Iggulden
For as long as I can remember I have been fascinated with Ancient Rome and the Roman Empire: from the fabulous frocks and lavish lifestyle, to the architecture and the sheer amount of drama associated with the era. However my fascination with that era primarily revolves around arguably it’s greatest figure, and ever since I read Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar I have obsessed about the great statesman, his life, his passions, his politics; reading every book I could find about him and one series in particular became a favourite: Conn Iggulden’s Emperor.
The series, which consists of four books, tells the story of Julius Caesar from his life as a young boy until his tragic end. What is enchanting about the series is that although Iggulden is essentially retelling a story already so well known, he manages to keep his reader enthralled, often by adjusting historical facts and even using said facts to his advantage, and embellishing them in order to create what is effectively a matchless work of fiction, leaving the reader feeling as though they’re hearing Caesar’s story for the first time.
What’s more is this novel is not just about a young boy of noble blood who went on to become the Emperor of Rome. It’s a story about life: about cruelty, war, politics, passion, love and betrayal. The series not only entertains, it TEACHES. There is a lot to be taken away from Julius Caesar’s life and how he ruled, and also a lot to be learned from his mistakes. In this day and age where greed, war and repression is prominent I often find myself wishing for a Noah’s Ark-esque scenario so the world can ‘start again’; I suppose you could call it ‘wishful thinking’. However, history as they say is the greatest teacher and Iggulden’s series takes us back in time as he explores Ancient Rome and the beginnings of the Roman Empire. So if we were suddenly thrust into a new civilisation it wouldn’t be a bad manual to have… And finally, there’s something for everyone in the series. There’s a promise of hope, lessons of friendship, loyalty and treachery, of family and faith and legacy. It’s as much a coming of age story as it is a commentary on the past and the future…. I realise I’ve cheated and taken five books but it would be terribly unfair to take just one of the five books.
Sandra Muhwezi is a recent graduate from Edinburgh University, currently interning at CNN. She is a lover of everything Hollywood, especially Ryan Gosling, and she believes that The Academy should burn in hell for not giving Leonardo DiCaprio an Oscar. Heath Ledger’s death haunts her everyday but she takes solace in Young Adult fiction.
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