The Seven Hills by John Maddox Roberts
JMR's second installment of his alternative history of the Roman Republic unfortunately tends to wander off into the hot and humid distance with no discernible oasis in sight. Much is given over to Titus Norbanus' anabasis and growing ego-eccentricity whilst Scipio pouts and postures in Alexandria playing with his new-fangled toys generated by the Archimedean school.
This novel is that lull before the third explosive finale as the two main protagonists cross their personal Rubicons and build their military and political might using the new empire as a personal plaything. Scipio spends all his time with Selene angling for the Egyptian army and navy to become his personal troops on a march on Carthage. Meanwhile, Titus Norbanus marches up towards Greece conquering all and defeating two Carthaginian armies who are attempting their own alpine crossing (minus elephants). The only real difference between the two is one possesses humility, the other delusions of grandeur. You can see where JMR is heading.
You get the impression that JMR came up with a good `what if' in the first novel and took it on marvellous strides off into an alternative history where Carthage wasn't sown with salt and Rome got sent north into the Germanic forests. Once he'd re-established the re-emergence of Rome then it was a case of what to do and we end up with a variant of Caesar and Pompey, or Octavius and Anthony as they both head to Egypt to fall in with their own Cleopatra and start the descent towards imperialism whilst an increasingly aging and befuddled Senate protests in the background. The characterization is neither good nor bad, the personalities plausible copies of the reality that was Rome. The plot meanders along as though the author is looking for his milestones and you get the impression this novel is purely filler for his handling of Rome's latent ascendancy in the Mediterranean with the personal battle between Scipio and Norbanus providing a side amusement.
It's not as good as the first and the series definitely needs Decius Quintus Caecilius the Younger.
This The Seven Hills book review was written by travelswithacanadian
All reviews for: Hannibalís Children
The Seven Hills
Hannibalís Children #2
John Maddox Roberts's provocative Hannibal's Children answered a fascinating question: What if Rome fell to Carthage, then rose again? Now, the Romans' victory ...
Have you read The Seven Hills?
We've found that while readers like to know what we think of a book they find additional reader reviews a massive help in deciding if it is the right book for them. So if you have a spare moment, please tell us your thoughts by writing a reader's review. Thank you.
The Seven Hills reader reviews
7/10 from 1 reviews
There are currently no reader reviews for this book. Why not be the first?
Write a reader review
Thank you for taking the time to write a review on this book, it really makes a difference and helps readers to find their perfect book.
More recommended reading in this genre
Death in St James's Park
Five years after Charles II's triumphant return to London there is growing mistrust of his extravagant court and of corruption among his officials - and when a cart lad...
Mystery in the Minster
In 1358 the fledging college of Michaelhouse in Cambridge is in need of extra funds. A legacy from the Archbishop of York of a parish close to that city promises a welcome ...
It is 1866, and Walter Moody has come to make his fortune upon the New Zealand goldfields. On arrival, he stumbles across a tense gathering of twelve local men, who have me...
Murder on High Holborn
In 1665 England is facing war with the Dutch and the capital is awash with rumours of conspiracy and sedition. These are more frenetic than normal because of the recent sin...
Death of a Scholar
In the summer of 1358 the physician Matthew Bartholomew returns to Cambridge to learn that his beloved sister is in mourning after the unexpected death of her husband, Oswa...
Andersonville by Edward M Erdelac
Edward M Erdelac
Georgia, 1864. Camp Sumter, aka Andersonville, has earned a reputation as an open sewer of sadistic cruelty and terror where death may come at any minute. But as the Union ...
A God Strolling in the Cool of the Evening
Mario de Carvalho
In the 3rd century AD, Lucerius Valerius Quincius, perfect of Tarcisis, an imaginary Roman City, begins his memoirs. His city is threatened from without and within. North A...
The King of Scotland is dead. The nobles fight over the succession, unaware that King Edward of England has plans of his own. For years, Edward has nurtured a fierce vision...
The Chelsea Strangler
In the sapping summer heat of 1665 there is little celebration in London of the naval victory at the Battle of Lowestoft. The King, his retinue and anyone with sufficient m...
Looking for more suggestions? Try these pages: