The Last King
by Michael Curtis Ford
Reviewed by Coral
For over forty years, Mithridates the Great was the greatest enemy ever faced by the Roman Republic. In battle he faced some of the most renowned generals they had: Sulla, Lucullus and Pompey. Each time Rome thought they had destroyed him he would pop right back up with another fearsome army set on conquering all of Asia, founding a "New Greece" and breaking, forever, the power of Rome. And though he would never accomplish these goals, until the time of his death his name would be known and feared throughout the Roman world. And this is his story.
Honestly, I first tried reading this book over a year ago and I found that it was too slow moving. I ended up just putting at the end of my "to read" pile and I just finally got back around to picking it up. It didn't move all that much faster the second time around but I did stick with it until the end this time.
Michael Curtis Ford is the sort of author you can depend on to deliver a solid enough read. It wasn't spectacular in any way - it won't be making my top ten list any time soon - but, once I got into it, it was a decent, enjoyable enough book.
The only small issue I had with it was the Pharnaces character. Like the other two Michael Curtis Ford novels that I've read (The Ten Thousand and Gods and Legions) there is a narrator - someone close to the "main" historical character that is the book's focus - who is retelling the story of that person's life. In this novel, Pharnaces is the narrator. So, technically, he is the book's main character. I wish some of that would have translated into fleshing out his character a little bit because, to me, his character development was rushed through the last 40-50 pages so his actions at the end of the book felt a little off, like they were coming from nowhere. Maybe it's just me, but if he had been developed more, maybe I would have felt like they were a natural progression of his character.