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The Last King: Rome's Greatest Enemy
by Michael Curtis Ford

Category: Fiction / Historical
373 pages; ISBN: 0312275390

Rating: 10/10  (Ratings explained)
Reviewer: Harriet Klausner

Review

The Last King: Rome's Greatest Enemy
Michael Curtis Ford
Dunne, Mar 2004, $24.95, 373 pp.
ISBN: 0312275390

In first century BC, the Roman Senate declared King Mithridates Eupator VI of Pontus (on the Black Sea) as its greatest enemy. Rome had turned Pontus into a satellite state when Mithridates’ mother ruled. When he became the monarch, his country was totally reliant on Rome. Instead of bowing like his mom, he launches campaigns often brutal to throw Rome out of his country and the rest of Asia Minor. Over the next four decades starting at home, Mithridates ruled and warred. First he exploited the weaknesses of his mother ultimately overthrowing her; then he challenged the puppeteers of the Roman Republic using anything in his genocidal arsenal to make a point. Finally after forty years of battles, retreats, and more war, he met final defeat at the hands of General Pompey. Even then he refused to bow having his men execute him instead of allowing the Romans to parade him as a trophy.

This is a fabulous historical fiction novel that provides deep insight into the Ancient Roman world through one of its toughest enemies. Many readers like this reviewer probably never heard of Mithridates before, but he obviously proved to be a dangerous long term threat to the Romans. Though the depth in which Michael Curtis Ford provides military tactics seems overwhelming to the lay-person, it also furbishes a sense of how brilliant Rome’s Greatest Enemy truly was. The tactics also lead to fantastic descriptions of the battles as the audience get a first hand account (narrated by the lead protagonist’s son) of life in the BC Roman Empire from the perspective of those who wanted out from the glory.

Harriet Klausner

 

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