The Field of Swords

The Field of Swords

Infobox Book
name = The Field of Swords
title_orig =
translator =

image_caption = "The Field of Swords" first edition cover.
author = Conn Iggulden
illustrator =
cover_artist =
country = United Kingdom
language = English
series = "Emperor" series
subject = Julius Caesar
genre = Historical novel
publisher = HarperCollins
release_date = January 3, 2005
media_type = Print (Hardback & Paperback)
pages = 588 pp "(first edition)"
isbn = ISBN 0007136935
preceded_by = The Death of Kings
followed_by = The Gods of War

"The Field of Swords" is the third novel in the "Emperor" series, written by British author Conn Iggulden. The series is historical fiction following the life of Julius Caesar.

The book was released in the UK on January 3, 2005, and published by HarperCollins. The story follows Julius Caesar from his position as Governor in Spain, through the Gallic Wars, the invasion of Britannia, the defeat of Vercingetorix, and eventually crossing of the Rubicon signalling the beginning of the Roman Civil War.

Plot summary

Having defeated Spartacus in The Death of Kings, Caesar is serving a five year term as Governor Of Spain (Hispania Ulterior) with his Tenth legion. Depressed with guilt still over the death of his wife in The Death of Kings, he has exhausted himself in conquering and expanding Spain. However when his friend Marcus Brutus' mother (Servilia Caepionis) arrives, she engages in a romance with him and re-awakens his desire for power.

Before his term ends he deserts his Governorship (a serious crime amongst Roman patricians) to challenge for the role of Consul. With the help of current Consul Crassus he manages, yet only just and by getting himself into unbelieveable levels of debt (and by defeating a rebel army on the verge of attacking Rome), to obtain the rank. To allow himself unprecedented military control of a province after his first six months as Consul, Caesar forms the First Triumvirate with Crassus and Pompey, the old Consuls.

After six months fulfilling promises he made during the election campaign, Caesar takes his Tenth Legion, the Third Gallica (formed from the mercenary survivors) and two legions from northern Italy to a small outpost in Gaul.

While he is fighting in Gaul, Rome is sliding towards strife as two new senators, Clodius and Milo, attempt to wrest control of the city from each other with their gangs, by terrorizing and fighting in the city. On a final night, the Curia is destroyed and both are killed by each other and Pompeys legion. After this night, Pompey declares himself Dictator and begins his dominion of the city. Meanwhile Crassus is killed fighting with his legions in Parthia, leaving Pompey sole master.

After ten years of fighting, two expeditions to Britain, one million Gauls killed and another million sold into slavery, Caesar must make possibly the most important decision of his life. Does he return to Rome alone, as ordered by the Dictator Pompey, where his only military rival will most likely kill him, or plunge the Roman world into a civil war and see whether he survives. With a night of soul-searching on the Rubicon riverbanks, Caesar utters the words "The die is cast" (alea iacta est in Latin) and heads south to Rome with his legions.

Historical accuracy

The book, like its predecessors, is not entirely accurate in historical terms. Some events in Caesar's life were changed for plot purposes.Fact|date=February 2007Many of the achievements attributed to Caesar in this book are the achievements of others.

One of the historical strays in this book is that Crassus and Pompey seem to serve 2-4 years as Consul when the limit was one year and the Roman Senate wouldn't have allowed them the consecutive terms it did to Gaius Marius. Also, at the end of "The Gods of War", at that time Octavian would have been 19 rather than the early-mid 20s he is now and then.Fact|date=February 2007


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