Pride of Carthage
A Novel of Hannibal
By David Anthony Durham
Anchor Books, Paperback, 9780385722490, 568pp.
Publication Date: January 3, 2006
List Price: $16.95*
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This epic retelling of the legendary Carthaginian military leader’s assault on the Roman empire begins in Ancient Spain, where Hannibal Barca sets out with tens of thousands of soldiers and 30 elephants. After conquering the Roman city of Saguntum, Hannibal wages his campaign through the outposts of the empire, shrewdly befriending peoples disillusioned by Rome and, with dazzling tactics, outwitting the opponents who believe the land route he has chosen is impossible. Yet Hannibal’s armies must take brutal losses as they pass through the Pyrenees mountains, forge the Rhone river, and make a winter crossing of the Alps before descending to the great tests at Cannae and Rome itself. David Anthony Durham draws a brilliant and complex Hannibal out of the scant historical record–sharp, sure-footed, as nimble among rivals as on the battlefield, yet one who misses his family and longs to see his son grow to manhood. Whether portraying the deliberations of a general or the calculations of a common soldier, vast multilayered scenes of battle or moments of introspection when loss seems imminent, Durham brings history alive.
“Durham vividly captures the frenzy of ancient warfare. . . . A skillfully structured, gripping novel –New York Times“Masterly. . . . First-rate historical fiction. Durham has delivered some of the best battle scenes on the page since Michael Shaara’s Civil War fiction.” –San Francisco Chronicle“Stunning. . . . A brilliant exploration of the tension between private destiny and historical force.” --The Christian Science Monitor“Fascinating. . . . Nimbly exploits what is known about this distant period. . . . The author has speculated and invented optimally.” —The Washington Post“An extraordinary achievement: Durham puts flesh on the bones of Carthage in a way that no novelist has done since Flaubert wrote Salammbo.”—Tom Holland, author of Rubicon: The Last Years of the Roman Republic“Pride of Carthage 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 In the Fall and Lost Nation“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.”—Publishers Weekly (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 the reader through some dauntingly complicated material. Nor is this novel merely a pageant: the author vividly portrays both Hannibal’s driven resolve and Scipio’s ruthless efficiency, as well as the conflicted emotions that rule several powerfully realized secondary figures. . . . One of the best of the current crop of historical novels, and a career-making march forward for Durham.”—Kirkus Reviews