and then some McCullough, if only for what appears to be some splendid storytelling
Storytelling Shmorytelling. Her history is good too.
She has two glaring faults. she has the hots for JC. Big time. In the later books it gets silly. Julius was, in essence, a bad egg, no matter how you boil him, and some of his actions were pretty dodgy. But Colleen, whenever Julius does something shady, goes to mad lengths to suggest he is doing it for nice reasons. Cos she LOVES him.
She is also a bit fond of the ‘Historically we don’t know what happened here, so here’s a good guess’ school of faction.* This can have a nasty effect on the reader….. a bit like if I say ‘Emperor Claudius’ most of us think of Derek Jacobi.
Her later books drag on a bit.
The first two, possibly three, in my view cannot be faulted for allowing the modern reader to, as much as is possible, get into the mind of the Ancient Roman.
* some of her guesses are bloody brilliant though. we all ‘know’ that Porcia killed herself by eating burning Charcoal. But as Mcullough points out, that’s just not humanly possible. The modern assumption is it was some sort of euphemism for the established suicide method of taking a charcoal-brazier with you into a small sealed room, but Colleen has it a bit closer when she suggests that she was held down and force-fed coals by Servilia. That’s exactly the sorta thing Servilia would have done, the bitch.