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Pride of Carthage: A Novel of Hannibal By David Anthony Durham

Jacket: Hardcover
Pages: 576 pages
Publisher: Doubleday (January 18, 2005)
Genre: Military fiction / Historical fiction
ISBN: 0385506031

Comments about the author: David Anthony Durham earned an M.F.A. from the University of Maryland and is the author of two novels, Gabriel's Story and Walk Through Darkness.

Review: Pride of Carthage is a work of historical fiction that magnificently details the dramatic journey of Hannibal Barca in his quest to conquer the Roman Empire. Durham captures this intimidating period with ease and maturity. The deliciously grotesque details transport the reader straight to the battlefield and propel the book forward with great speed.

The language creates an admirable portrait of Hannibal – one that forces the reader to become emotionally attached to the entire Barca family as well as Carthage. Avoiding clichés and regurgitated facts, Durham emphasizes the human like qualities of such a great warrior, showing that the ordinary is most often what makes one extraordinary. By emphasizing the psychological affects of war, Durham gives the reader an intimate portrait of Hannibal, his family and his companions on the battlefield.

Close to six hundred pages, the structure of the book is calculated with precise peaks and valleys making it difficult to put down. The long chapters did make it hard to find an appropriate stopping point; however, once the intended rhythm was established, it kept the whole way through.

Towards the end of the book, Durham abruptly changes his speed. The book coasts too quickly so that the reader feels cheated by the lack of energy in and time given to Hannibal’s retreat. It is challenging to believe that such a titanic personality would accept defeat with such ease.

Although the reader may know the story of Hannibal, the book is written so well and is so enthralling that it is easy to be surprised. Durham captures the raw sensuality of war without romanticizing its place in history and compellingly depicts Carthage in a way no other has done before.

— Reviewed by: Cynthia Kane
Cynthia Kane is a freelance writer who lives in New York City.


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