Synopsis – Gaius Julius Caesar Augustus Germanicus, the third Roman Emperor, is better known by another name: Caligula, a name synonymous with decadence, cruelty and madness. His reign was marked by excess, huge building projects, the largest gladiatorial battles Rome was ever to see – men and animals killed in their hundreds – conspiracies, assassination attempts and sexual scandal.
Rufus as a young slave grows up far from the corruption of the imperial court. His master is a trainer of animals for the gladiatorial arena. Rufus discovers that he has a natural ability with animals, a talent for controlling and schooling them. It is at the arenas that Rufus meets his great friend Cupido, one of Rome’s greatest gladiators.
It is his growing reputation as an animal trainer and his friendship with Cupido that attracts the cruel gaze of the Emperor. Caligula wants a keeper for the imperial elephant and Rufus is bought from his master and taken to the imperial palace. Life here is dictated by Caligula’s ever shifting moods. Caligula is as generous as he is cruel, he is a megalomaniac who declares himself a living god and simultaneously lives in constant fear of the plots against his life. But his paranoia is not misplaced, intrigue permeates his court, and Rufus and Cupido find themselves unwittingly placed at the centre of a conspiracy to assassinate the Emperor.
My Thoughts – This is the first book i have ever read on the theme of Romans, and i loved it! The story centres on an elephant keeper Rufus who is a slave and almost lives in fear of his life. He gets ridiculed by the emporor Caligula, his friends get killed before him, he is found a wife, with that their is also some differences. The emporor Caligula is horrible, he kills people just for fun, he treats people awfully!
This book is brilliant. It deals with death, life, birth, fighting, animals, love, hate, roman history, nearly a bit of everything. The fighting scenes are quite gorey, but i didnt think they were over gorey, it gave the right impression of roman life.
Once i picked up this book i couldnt put it down and i cant wait to read more in the series, need to get my hands on the next book! Highly recommended reading.
Rating – 5/5