Quick guide to Roman fiction authors:
A list of the major authors of Roman fiction, past and present (plus one aspiring one, see if you can spot which one that is!). This list is a work in progress – I will update with titles, a summary of subgenre and writing style (for those I have read) and even some links. Watch this space…
Author of the Falco mysteries, set in Vespasian’s Rome. Gentle humour combines with vivid detail of life in the lower echelons of Roman society.
R S Gompertz
Goscinny and Uderzo
Rene Goscinny and Alberto Uderzo created the famous Asterix children’s cartoons, and wrote them together until Goscinny’s death in 1977, after which Uderzo continued the series. Set in a Gaulish village that resisted Julius Caesar’s Gallic conquests by virtue of the strength imbuded by a magic potion brewed by the village’s druid, Asterix and his friend Obelix (who has permanent strength because he fell in the cauldron of magic potion when he was a baby) undergo various adventures throughout the Roman Empire during the last days of the public. Littered with historical facts, Latin phrases and modern references, the adventures of Asterix and Obelix remain a delight to any adult with a childish sense of humour interested in Ancient Rome. A comfort read that I would return to again and again throughout much of my childhood and adult life, I am delighted to be reading the stories with my daughter now.
The owner of this website (and a veterinary surgeon). My first published novel, Five Emperors, set at the end of Nero’s reign and the civil war of AD 69, was published as an e-book in 2001 by Romance Foretold Inc, on floppy disc, in an era before the kindle and ipad. It was then released as a paperback by print on demand, shortly before the company went bust. It is now available on Smashwords, but I am considering republishing on Amazon. More important to me currently is my work in progress, not currently titled, about Carbo, a veteran of the Roman legions. Set in Tiberius’ Rome, the first book in what I hope will be a series finds Carbo involved with an escaped slave, the vigiles, a Carthaginian priestess and a plot that threatens Rome itself.
Scholar, poet and author of two books often considered to be among the top 100 English language books ever written: I, Claudius, and its sequel Claudius the God. Although Graves professed to dislike the books and wrote them only for financial need, they became bestsellers from their publication in the 1930s, and were adapted into a highly successful BBC TV series. Graves also produced a well-regarded translation of Suetonius’ Twelve Caesars.
Author of Pompeii, a story set prior to and during the eruption of Vesuvius, and two books on Cicero’s life, Imperium and Lustrum (Conspirata in the USA and Italy) with a third scheduled for release in 2012. Scholarly but gripping, the works are well worth a read.
One of three veterinary surgeons in this list writing Roman fiction. Ben Kane is author of the Forgotten Legion trilogy, set at the time of Crassus’ disastrous military campaign against the Parthians. He is also author of Hannibal, Enemy of Rome and Spartacus, the Gladiator. I am currently reading the Forgotten Legion – so watch this blog for more comment!
Oldest Roman fiction author in this list, his book the Last Days of Pompeii was a bestseller in the 19th century.
Author of Augustus, Tiberius and Caesar, fictionalised diaries of the three rulers. Written with insight and thoughtfulness, these books help to bring the reader closer to what the historical characters may have really been like.
Author of the Masters of Rome series, a lengthy, fantastically detailed and meticulously historically accurate account of the fall of the Roman Republic, from the early days of Marius and Sulla to the death of Caesar. Highly recommended for anyone with a genuine love of the history of these times. Readers looking for a quick thrill or an easy read might find the material too dense.
Author of the Empire series, centred around the fugitive, Marcus Valerius Aquila, who flees the tyranny of Commodus Rome to a posting on Hadrian’s Wall. Genuinely exciting and well written military fiction.
Author of the Roma sub Rosa series, a detective series set in Republican Rome, featuring Gordianus the Finder. Also author of the books Roma and Empire which follow the fortunes of a family from the foundations of Rome through to Imperial times.
Author of the Eagle series, involving legionaries and firm friends, Cato and Macro and their military adventures, often working for Narcissus, secretary of Claudius. Easy to read, exciting and humorous, these books are a great place to start reading Roman military adventures.
The third vet in this list, and author of the Boudicca trilogy, as well as Rome: The Emperor’s Spy, Rome:The Coming of the King, and the Eagle of the Twelfth. Currently on my soon to be read list – watch this space.
Author of the Warrior of Rome Series, set in the later Imperial period, and centred around the Roman military leader of Germanic origin, Ballista. When asked to sum up the series in ten words, the author came up with, “Ballista, Warrior of Rome, Hard Action, High Scholarship, Low humour.”
Author of the Masters of the Sea series, Ship of Rome, Captain of Rome and Master of Rome, gripping military adventures set in the first Punic War.
Author of the Eagle of the Ninth series, centred around the famous disappearance of the IXth legion in Scotland. Aimed at teenagers, the stories can be enjoyed by adults, and inspired the film The Eagle.
Author of the Marius’ Mules series.
Author of the classic work, the Ides of March, a series of letters written by Caesar in the lead up to his assassination. A commentary on Mussoloni, in the authors words it is: ‘a fantasia on certain events and persons of the last days of the Roman republic… Historical reconstruction is not among the primary aims of this work’