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The October Horse
The October Horse: A Novel of Caesar and Cleopatra | Colleen McCullough
5 posts | 2 read | 3 to read
In her new book about the men who were instrumental in establishing the Rome of the Emperors, Colleen McCullough tells the story of a famous love affair and a man whose sheer ability could lead to only one end -- assassination. As The October Horse begins, Gaius Julius Caesar is at the height of his stupendous career. When he becomes embroiled in a civil war between Egypt's King Ptolemy and Queen Cleopatra, he finds himself torn between the fascinations of a remarkable woman and his duty as a Roman. Though he must leave Cleopatra, she remains a force in his life as a lover and as the mother of his only son, who can never inherit Caesar's Roman mantle, and therefore cannot solve his father's greatest dilemma -- who will be Caesar's Roman heir? A hero to all of Rome except to those among his colleagues who see his dictatorial powers as threats to the democratic system they prize so highly, Caesar is determined not to be worshiped as a god or crowned king, but his unique situation conspires to make it seem otherwise. Swearing to bring him down, Caesar's enemies masquerade as friends and loyal supporters while they plot to destroy him. Among them are his cousin and Master of the Horse, Mark Antony, feral and avaricious, priapic and impulsive; Gaius Trebonius, the nobody, who owes him everything; Gaius Cassius, eaten by jealousy; and the two Brutuses, his cousin Decimus, and Marcus, the son of his mistress Servilia, sad victim of his mother and of his uncle Cato, whose daughter he marries. All are in Caesar's debt, all have been raised to high positions, all are outraged by Caesar's autocracy. Caesar must die, they decide, for only when he is dead will Rome return to her old ways, her old republican self. With her extraordinary knowledge of Roman history, Colleen McCullough brings Caesar to life as no one has ever done before and surrounds him with an enormous and vivid cast of historical characters, characters like Cleopatra who call to us from beyond the centuries, for McCullough's genius is to make them live again without losing any of the grandeur that was Rome. Packed with battles on land and sea, with intrigue, love affairs, and murders, the novel moves with amazing speed toward the assassination itself, and then into the ever more complex and dangerous consequences of that act, in which the very fate of Rome is at stake. The October Horse is about one of the world's pivotal eras, relating as it does events that have continued to echo even into our own times.
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TheReadingMermaid 🧟‍♀️ 2mo
12 likes1 comment

@BookishMarginalia I really enjoyed this book. Fantastic details. Thorough research went into this tome. My only wish is I had a guide as I read. Family trees with all those Roman names would have been helpful.

#PopSugar2019 - 1/50
ReadHarder2019 - 0/24
#LitsyAtoZ2019 - 1/26
Booked2019 - 0/24
#Chunksters2019 - 1/10
WorldReadingChallenge2019 - 0/52

Cinfhen Which prompt for #Booked2019 is this book counting for??? @BarbaraTheBibliophage @4thhouseontheleft 11mo
Butterfinger @cinfhen @BarbaraTheBibliophage @4thhouseontheleft I messed up. It is for popsugar challenge. I will probably have to narrow the challenges so that won't happen again. It was for clothes and accessory on the cover. Thank you for bringing it to my attention. 11mo
Butterfinger @Cinfhen I didn't put it with booked. 11mo
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Butterfinger @Cinfhen I figured out how I confused everyone. From now on, I will not tag the challenge unless the book fits. Sorry. I appreciate you letting me know. 11mo
Cinfhen Ohh, I see!! Book sounds good!! And 800 pages ~ good for you 11mo
Cinfhen No worries... it was my fault 11mo
9 likes6 comments

I had such great reading goals for 2019, but I am still reading this book. McCullough has a wonderful gift with words, but this chunkster is giving me a run for my money. Reminder to myself for 1/1/20, do NOT begin an intense, highly researched thick book during the first week of second semester. Routines have to be retaught. Lessons need to be planned. New students enroll. Come on Octavius, defeat all your enemies already. #teachersoflitsy


"...he intended to bring the calendar into line with the seasons for perpetuity...New Year's Day... would be exactly where it was supposed to be, one-third of the way through winter.
"There isn't a name for you, Caesar," Piso declared as he left, his whole body trembling. "You're a - a- a- freak!"

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Goodreads - 0/100
#PopSugar2019 - 0/50
#ReadHarder2019 - 0/24
#LitsyAtoZ2019 - 0/26
#Booked2019 - 0/24
#Chunksters2019 - 0/10
#worldreadingchallenge2019 -0/52

First book of 2019 - chunkster at 754 pages and Egypt, letter O

Butterfinger @arubabookwoman I am so glad to see your name. You have been missed. I hope all is well with you and your family and the move is going well. 11mo
arubabookwoman Thank you Tammy. House is just about packed, and it goes on the market 1/15. Things are settling down a bit health-wise, so I should soon have a bit more time for Litsy. The few times I‘ve had time to read posts I haven‘t been able to get through many before something else calls, & I haven‘t had enough time to post myself. Sorry you didn‘t like Buddenbrooks-it‘s a fave of mine (edited) 11mo
Butterfinger @arubabookwoman I am glad I read it. I'll like to read another of Mann before I decide if I dislike his writing. I didn't find it boring at all and there were certain chapters I loved, mostly the arguments between the brothers. It evoked anger in me more than anything, but it was the time period. I'm sorry if was too negative. 11mo
18 likes3 comments