Clash of Empires by Ben Kane
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
The history of Rome, both as Republic and as Empire, is one of those bespoke subject matters I find particularly interesting. In attempting to deepen my understanding of the subject I have read non-fiction books, listened to podcast series, and read novels set in the period. I can now add listening to audiobooks to the categories of activities I have pursued in pursuit of knowledge and understanding.
This book by Ben Kane, the first book in one of many series written by him set in the period of Rome’s ascendency, looks at the clash between Rome and the Kingdom of Macedon ruled by Philip. Carthage and Hannibal have been defeated and now the Republic of Rome looks to the East as the next sphere into which its influence, and thus domination, must be extended. The description of the historical setting by Kane is a wonderful setting into which he introduces a narrative that may or may not be “accurate” but which is general keeping with the historical thrust of events. In doing so, not only does Kane capture the interest and attention of the reader, but he also manages to pass on a little knowledge as well.
Listening to this particular novel via audiobook was a helpful exercise. I doubt I would have enjoyed it as much had I had to read it rather than having it read to me. The vocal characterisation, the pathos engineered by Stephen Pacey, was a genuine contribution to my overall appreciation of the book and was also of a particular company during recent long drives in the car.
For anyone wanting a good adventure yarn, this is a good book to dive into. For those who have a particular appreciation of the time period in which it is set, this book is almost a must-read.
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