I am Rome, by Santiago Posteguillo – The beginning of a new saga about one of the most important characters in Roman history.
Santiago Posteguillo is one of my favorite authors when it comes to spanish historical novels. I have read all his novels centered around ancient Rome, including the Scipio trilogy, the Trajan trilogy, and the Julia duology. And of course, I couldn’t skip this latest novel, “I am Rome“.
In this new novel, the first of 6, Posteguillogives us a glimpse into the life of a young Julius Caesar, before making a name for himself (although he comes from a powerful family and is the nephew of Mario, 7 times consul and one of the most important people of the time), focusing in this case on his trial against Senator Dolabela, using ingenious flashbacks to show us relevant events of the past.
Through this trial, Posteguillo shows us the animosity that existed between Julius Caesar and two of his first great adversaries: Sulla and Dolabela.
The skill with which Posteguillo provides us with a glimpse into the early life of Julius Caesar, a period of which less information has come down to us, is an art that few possess.
What is it about? – Synopsis
Every legend has a beginning.
Rome, 77 B.C. Senator Dolabella, known for using violence against anyone who opposes him, is going on trial for corruption and has already hired the best lawyers and even bought the jury. No man dares accept the role of prosecutor–until, against all odds, an unknown twenty-three-year-old steps out to lead the case, defend the people of Rome, and defy the power of the elite class. This lawyer’s name is Caius Julius Caesar.
Masterfully combining exhaustive historical rigor with extraordinary narrative skills, Santiago Posteguillo shows us the man behind the myth of Caesar as never before, taking us to the dangerous streets of Rome where the Senate’s henchmen lurk on every corner, submerging us in the thick of battle, and letting us live the great love story of Julius Caesar and his wife, Cornelia.
After Julius Caesar, the world was never the same. I Am Rome tells the tale of the early events that shaped this extraordinary man’s fate–and changed the course of history itself.
What did I think of I am Rome? – Opinion
As I mentioned above, Santiago Posteguillo is one of my favorite authors when it comes to Spanish historical novels. Therefore, as you can imagine, as with his other novels about Rome, I enjoyed this novel very much!
Posteguillo is a master at recreating events by mixing real, documented facts with information that he has to fabricate given its absence, which in the case of this novel is somewhat more prominent than the reaI one. That is because there is much less information about Julius Caesar’s earlier days, as it was not very common to keep records about people who were not famous or important.
Posteguillo’s storytelling remains masterful and, especially during the moments of the trial, the novel carries you into the trial and makes you feel as if you were right there, watching Dolabella laugh at the young Caesar. However, I admit that at the beginning it gets a bit confusing when Posteguillo resorts to flashbacks, since in some occasions we encounter “flashbacks” within “flashbacks”, and suddenly we are back to the present. The first few times it is confusing, but then you get used to it.
The characters, as in his previous novels, are numerous, and it should be noted that none of the characters with proper names that appear are fictitious. They are all real characters, who have existed, and each one of them is superbly characterized. It really makes you feel empathy for some, apathy for others.
In general I thought it was a very good and very complete novel, although I admit that some of the author’s other works are better. It is true that the novel contains historical errors or mistakes, and it is also true that it idealizes the figures of Julius Caesar and Gaius Marius while it vilifies Lucius Cornelius Sulla and Publius Cornelius Dolabella. And I have seen quite a bit of criticism about this on the internet, about Posteguillo distorting history instead of representing it faithfully and accurately. I understand these criticisms, and to some extent I can agree, especially comparing this novel with others of his trilogies. But for me this is a historical novel, historical fiction. A novel that draws on real history, real events and real characters, to create a work of fiction around these facts. If I wanted to read something 100% real and historical, I would read a history book.
Another thing that seems to have upset some people is the selection of the historical character for this new saga, Julius Caesar, since there are already so many novels and sagas based on him and his history. There are so many characters, Emperors, Dictators, etc, in the history of Rome, and the fact that Posteguillo has chosen Julius Caesar and, in addition, has announced that instead of a trilogy, this saga will consist of 6 novels, seems to have caused the impression that the author has “gone for the easy way” to make more money. My personal take on this is that I don’t dislike the character selection. I am delighted to be able to read more of Santiago Posteguillo’s novels and stories. I’m not sure if I like the idea of 6 novels. I’m not the biggest fan of long sagas, but I love trilogies!
So, in conclusion, I personally liked the novel very much, and even if it contains some historical errors, I highly recommend it.
I am Rome, by Santiago Posteguillo
Book Title: I am Rome
Book Description: The beginning of a new saga, consisting of 6 books, about one of the most important characters in Roman history, Julius Caesar.