Tuesday, May 13, 2008

books

Every month I get an Abbeys catalogue in the mail- I thought I’d post the reviews of some of the book which looked interesting to me from this month’s catalogue.

Imprimatur11 September 1683, Rome. The citizens of the city wait anxiously for the outcome of the battle for Vienna as Ottoman forces lay siege to the defenders of Catholic Europe. Meanwhile, a suspected outbreak of plague causes a famous Roman tavern to be placed under quarantine. A plot to assassinate the pope and plans to use the plague as a weapon of mass destruction in the battle between Islam and the West are discovered. Drawing on original papers discovered in the Vatican archives, this meticulously researched and brilliantly conceived thriller sheds new light on the power struggles of 17th century Europe, the repercussions of which are still felt today.

Cleopatra: Last Queen of EgyptShe was the last ruler of the Macedonian dynasty of Ptolemies who had ruled Egypt for three centuries. Highly educated (the only one of the Ptolemies to read and speak ancient Egyptian, as well as the court Greek) and very clever (her famous liaisons with Julius Caesar and Mark Antony were as much to do with politics as the heart), she steered her kingdom through impossibly taxing internal problems and against greedy Roman imperialism. Stripping away our preconceptions (many of which are as old as her Roman enemies) in this magnificent biography, Tyldesley uses all her skills as an Egyptologist to give us a rich picture of a country and its Egyptian queen.

A Brief History of the Private Lives of Roman EmperorsBlond’s scandalous expose on the life of the Caesar’s is a must-read for anyone interested in what really went on in ancient Rome. Julius Caesar is usually presented as a glorious general, when in fact he was an arrogant charmer and a swank. Augustus was so conscious of his height that he put lifts in his sandals. But they were nothing compared to Caligula, Claudius and Nero! This book makes fascinating reading, eye-opening in its revelations and endlessly entertaining.

1 comment:

north west said...

Have you, by any chance (ie. 'forte'), heard of the book by Joseph Campbell called 'The Hero with a Thousand Faces'? It's somewhat relevant to focus area/s on Virgil (maybe) and it sounds quite interesting (so much so that I might pop down to Dymocks or wherever and grab a copy myself).