Why did I love this book?
The vast majority of media about Rome concerns either Augustus or Julius Caesar. The few exceptions generally stay in the Julio-Claudian line. That’s about 70 years in what was arguably a 1600 year span. McCullough wisely sets this seminal work before the Empire, about 100 BCE. She is writing fiction but the verisimilitude she wields makes it feel like real history. The rivalry between Marius and Sulla drives the story recklessly forward. Given that Julius Caesar’s grandfather and father are in this book, you could consider this a Rogue One to HBO’s Rome.