“Durham vividly captures the frenzy of ancient warfare. . . . A skillfully structured, gripping novel –
“Masterly. . . . First-rate historical fiction. Durham has delivered some of the best battle scenes on the page since Michael Shaara’s Civil War fiction.” –
“Stunning. . . . A brilliant exploration of the tension between private destiny and historical force.” --
“Fascinating. . . . Nimbly exploits what is known about this distant period. . . . The author has speculated and invented optimally.” —
“An extraordinary achievement: Durham puts flesh on the bones of Carthage in a way that no novelist has done since Flaubert wrote.”—Tom Holland, author of
“is that rare and wonderful thing: an historical novel that’s not only deeply evocative of time and place, character and situation, but is also lyrically written, compellingly composed. I savored each page while ever more breathless as the story unfolded. Durham has broken the mold of historical fiction and created a masterpiece.”—Jeffrey Lent, author of and
“Durham leaps continents and centuries to tell the epic story of Hannibal and his march on Rome in this heady, richly textured novel. . . . The novel’s grand sweep is balanced by intimate portraits of Hannibal, his family, his allies and his enemies. . . . Durham weaves abundant psychological, military, and political detail into this vivid account of one of the most romanticized periods of history.”—(starred review)
“Durham has reimagined this vanished world in stunningly precise detail, and his lucid explanations of the give-and-take of military decision-making help ...
From Publishers Weekly
Known for his novels of African-American life in 19th-century America (; ), Durham leaps continents and centuries to tell the epic story of Hannibal and his march on Rome in this heady, richly textured novel. After Hannibal assumes command of the Carthaginian army in Spain and conquers the Roman city of Saguntum, Carthage refuses to accept Rome's demand that it abandon the city, precipitating the Second Punic War. In 218 B.C., Hannibal begins his daring march toward Rome, leading an army of upward of 100,000—complete with elephants and cavalry—over the Pyrenees, across the Rhône and through the snowcapped Alps. Ill prepared for the frigid weather, pummeled by avalanches and harassed by Celtic tribes, the army arrives in Italy reduced to perhaps 30,000. Against all odds, Hannibal brings his soldiers through the tortuous marshes of the Arno, and traps and massacres a large Roman force at Lake Trasimene and again at Cannae. The novel's grand sweep is balanced by intimate portraits of Hannibal, his family, his allies and his enemies, as well as by the stories of two humble characters: Imco Vaca, a soldier, and Aradna, a camp follower, who meet and fall in love as the saga moves inexorably toward an account of the beheading of Hannibal's brother and Hannibal's eventual defeat at the gates of Rome. Durham weaves abundant psychological, military and political detail into this vivid account of one of the most romanticized periods of history.