Book Jacket

 

rank 778
word count 33507
date submitted 07.12.2010
date updated 07.12.2010
genres: Historical Fiction
classification: universal
incomplete

The Road to the Rubicon

John Timbers

The last volume of the Rutilius Journals, this one brings the Gallic Wars to their famous conclusion on the Rubicon as Marcus fades from view.

 

This is the last part of the story of Marcus Rutilius, the eponymous hero of the Rutilius Journals, a modern man’s perception of the life and times of Julius Caesar during the period of his wars in Gaul. It plots the headlong rush of the rightwing oligarchy in Rome towards their own destruction, brought on by their determination to crush the threat that Julius Caesar posed to the continuation of their corrupt rule over Rome and its conquered provinces. This is the story of the last two years of the war in Gaul (51 - 50 BC), in which Caesar was busy consolidating his hold on Gaul after his decisive victory over Vercingetorix, and how he was forced by the legions to punish those Gauls who continued the resistance after the fall of Alesia. We learn here of Caesar's growing frustration as the oligarchy attempts to remove him from command of his army and bring him back to face trial in Rome. Much of this story finds Marcus Rutilius removed from the bloodiest final battles and yet playing a pivotal rôle in Caesars plans to return to Rome legally to take up his second term as Consul.

 
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tags

correus, curio, gaul, julius caesar, mark antony, pompey, rome, rubicon, uxellodunum

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18 comments

 

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gundog wrote 567 days ago

Seems to me that you shouldn't bother to post material here that is substandard. Hard enough to get people to take you seriously when you have done it all to get the material ready for an agent. Polish the first several chapters, please, at least.



I think you have the point of this site all wrong. Wannabes post a taste of their first efforts with a view to getting helpful criticism. Anyone hoping for an instant way through to the editor's desk is in for a disappointment. As it happens, all five books have now been heavily revised and are available on Kindle – and are selling and being borrowed in a very modest way. But then most people aren't really interested in Caesar's Gallic Wars. We have enough going on around us, thank you.

Benji Stone wrote 568 days ago

Good God. It will take me forever to wade through the set of these so I'm starting with this one and will see if it's good enough to keep me ploughing on.

gundog wrote 573 days ago

I have been dabbling in these books for a few weeks. The author shows an interesting creative mind. But these are not for me. Not entirely sure why highly rated as this drew me to them. I guess if you have a limited historical understanding then it would work. good luck I think you will need it to get this series published.


Some people can't take their history in heavy doses, which is why I turned to this genre, having seen the terrible inaccuracy of the 'Rome' TV series. Others like to believe the historians of old, who repeat the propaganda of the victors rather than examine what really happened. (The Tudor version of Richard III comes to mind). We can no doubt agree to differ over whose historical understanding is limited. Can't say I understand how the ratings have risen recently, either. As seen on this website, the books need heavy editing, I am first to admit. These were first unpolished offers made years ago and have since seen many revisions. Thanks for the frank comment.

dennysmith wrote 573 days ago

I have been dabbling in these books for a few weeks. The author shows an interesting creative mind. But these are not for me. Not entirely sure why highly rated as this drew me to them. I guess if you have a limited historical understanding then it would work. good luck I think you will need it to get this series published.

Sir Sean wrote 577 days ago

After reading just the first chapter, I have decided to put your book on my shelf and rate high. I will read more soon and hope to comment more when done. Good luck in your book and I hope it continues to do well.

gundog wrote 582 days ago

every one of your books deserves the ED



I hope the 'ED' means what I think it means! Thanks for commenting, Sucubus. Sadly, there's little enthusiasm for Historical Novels these days.

gundog wrote 584 days ago

A historical series which is sure to be a success for many to enjoy. Great writing, easy to read, and filled with exceptionally details of Julius Caesar. Good luck with your books. I see you have them on Kindle. That is awesome. I will definitely check back again and read more.
Sara Stinson
Finger Bones


Thank you Sara. I hope you enjoy the books and my take on Caesar's remarkable story, so distorted by historians down through the years.

Sara Stinson wrote 584 days ago

A historical series which is sure to be a success for many to enjoy. Great writing, easy to read, and filled with exceptionally details of Julius Caesar. Good luck with your books. I see you have them on Kindle. That is awesome. I will definitely check back again and read more.
Sara Stinson
Finger Bones

gundog wrote 586 days ago

this is clearly a clever and well written book- intelligent and great narrative voice...
backed...
read SEASONS...

Thanks for your comment, Su. I haven't had a chance to look at your book but will go to it when I have a moment. All of these books of mine are now on Kindle and can be read in their edited entirety there.

Su Dan wrote 587 days ago

this is clearly a clever and well written book- intelligent and great narrative voice...
backed...
read SEASONS...

Kenny Park wrote 590 days ago

Great book so far. I will read more and maybe comment on at a later date. I am putting your book on my shelf now and highly rating. Good luck.

janbeelandman wrote 667 days ago

Having enjoyed a classical education in my youth I was naturally drawn to this book.
First of all the writer should be thoroughly commended for this monumental work, a feat rarely seen in these unscholarly times.

The writing is effective, happily free of verbosity and pomposity. In general it has a strong feel of authenticity, though I was puzzled by references to the walls of Belfast and sans culottes.

I wonder whether the sheer size of the work might not deter readers. Perhaps it is worth considering writing a much shorter, introductory, book to ease readers into the larger work, like The Hobbit does for The Lord of the Rings.

Still, a very commendable effort, generously starred and Watchlisted.

jbl

Stark Silvercoin wrote 668 days ago

The Road to the Rubicon is a fine example of historical fiction. It’s evident that author John Timbers researched ancient Rome, possibly for years, before the stories were written. It would not surprise me if Timbers taught a master level class on the subject at a university.

But this is not a droll historical document. It’s an active and engaging tale of all the internal politics, fighting, corruption and devastation that the Roman Empire enacted on its enemies -- and at times, on itself. I don’t know what was more interesting, the external conflicts or the internal backstabbing.

Caesar is treated fairly and realistically, as both a man not to be trifled with, and also one who knew his limitations, and bowed to pressure when necessary. Seeing into the mind of such a great man, through the eyes of Marcus Rutilius and his journals is not something to be missed. This book seems to stand on its own as a vehicle for a story, though I understand that it’s the last of a series. It would be a treat to read the entire set in its entirety. When published, I think these books would easily find their way into any historical fiction aficionado’s library.

John Breeden II
Old Number Seven

gundog wrote 684 days ago

Many thanks to both Broadaxe and Exemplar. Not sure why, after a long gap, there appears to be some interest. Pleasing to say the least, but a long hill to climb.

gundog wrote 685 days ago

Thanks, Paul. My latin master also did a fair bit of striding up and down the rows of desk with a ruler edge on in his hand. Woe betide the truculent boy who was up to mischief. He was a crackshot with board duster, too. Always just missed – but only just, and, boy, did you jump. I'll try to have a look at 'Rising' but am up to my neck in Charity affairs with an AGM imminent.

Andrew Esposito wrote 694 days ago

John, The Road to the Rubicon, Volume V, is a very impressive read. There can never be any doubt about your knowledge of Roman times and millitary action. I like the many off the cuff details that you have interwoven into the main story, such a the 'professional mourners' ref. The use of foot notes also adds credibility to your writing and research (not that credibility is needed!). There are many jewels in the storyline that will captivate a reader, for me, the discovery of the manuscript copies of Caesar's summary of the war got me instantly intrigued... I certainly wanted to know more.

The first person narrative is effective, although having the summary of journals lends itself to a lack of dialogue, which means there is lengthy narration. This is a bit of a tricky one, as you are presenting truths and facts and to stray into first person dialogue, in your case specifically, may create a diluted form of Historical Fiction. I'm not sure how many quotations are available within the 'original' texts, however if you could include these within The Road to the Rubicon then I think it would enhance it.

As you've mentioned, one of your goals is to make Caesar's war more accessible to a greater audience and I commend you for this approach. The language and terms of the narrators may not always be 'Romanesque' however I think it is the right tone to get a cross the wonderful details you have assembled and crafted.

Only query I have is the knowledge, name use, of 'cancer' (and perhaps arthritis - this is a mix of Greek and Latin, so maybe ok?) in Roman times? Not sure on this.

John I have watchlisted your novel for further reading and will revisit your previous writings where possible. Congratulations on an impressive body of work. Best regards, Andrew Esposito / Killing Paradise

gundog wrote 695 days ago

An excellent series of books that demands some attention here. What prevents people from seeing the merit of this material?



I wish I knew, I wish I knew! However, many thanks for your comment. It's always encouraging to hear that someone appreciates one's efforts.

gundog wrote 710 days ago

Thanks for your comment. I never expected much from this website, so I haven't been disappointed! There seems to be an upward trend in sales on Amazon Kindle – a good move for me.

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