Emperor is a four book series subtitled “A novel of Julius Caesar”. These are truly summer reading. My father would refer to these books as “airplane books” meaning that you would not be too upset if you left the paperbacks on the plane (believe me; these should not be purchased in hardback). Iggulden (now more famous as the author, along with his brother Hal, of the immensely popular and entertaining Dangerous Book for Boys) writes a decently engaging tale loosely based on the life of Julius Caesar and loosely based on Roman History. There are some interesting conventions, i.e., by happenstance, the young Gaius Julius Caesar and the young Marcus Brutus grow up together – Julius’s father the relatively wealthy landowner and Marcus the son of one of the servants. All the historical characters appear – Suetonious (the historian who really wrote a biography of Caesar) serves as an older foil for the boys then them as soldiers of Rome. Sulla and Crassus and Mark Antony and all the rest appear – sometimes even in the roles they actually had in history – but sometimes just as clearly not.
Iggulden knows his Roman history, and writes entertainingly of Roman politics and war. He overloads all four books with the Caesar/Brutus friendship cum competition cum jealousy (he has Brutus as the best swordsman in Rome), but the history is interesting and the actual battles (both political and military) are fairly engaging. Sort of a graphic novel with fewer pictures and better dialogue.
If you have a 17 hour plane ride (as I did), not a bad way to pass a lot of the time -- and yes, I left them on the plane.