Summary and book reviews of The Pride of Carthage by David Anthony Durham

The Pride of Carthage

A Novel of Hannibal

by David Anthony Durham

The Pride of Carthage
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

  • First Published:
    Jan 2005, 576 pages
    Paperback:
    Jan 2005, 592 pages

  • Rate this book


Buy This Book

About this Book

Book Summary

An epic work of literary fiction about the superb military leader of Carthage, Hannibal Barca, and his struggle against the mighty Roman Republic.

With a vast cast of characters and nationalities, twists of fate, and tales of inspired leadership, David Anthony Durham perfectly captures the legendary Hannibal's world in Pride of Carthage. Beginning in ancient Spain, where Hannibal's father had carved out a Carthaginian empire, the novel traces the origins of the war, the opening moves, and Hannibal's inspired choice to attack Rome via a land route most believed impossible. In graphic, panoramic prose, Durham describes the battles, including the icy slaughter of the Trebia; the mist-shrouded battle along Lake Trasimene; the battle of Cannae, in which Hannibal's outnumbered force surrounded and decimated seventy thousand Romans in a single afternoon; and Zama, the hard slog that proved to be the decisive contest.

Along the way we meet a variety of major historical figures on both sides of the conflict, as well as characters representing the vast array of other ethnicities who played a part in the war: Iberians and Gauls, Numidians and Libyans, Macedonians and Moors. Hannibal's family is brought to life: his wife, mother, sisters, and young son, as is Publius Scipio, the young Roman who was the only match for Hannibal's genius on the field of battle — and who eventually defeated him.

Pride of Carthage is a stunning achievement in historical fiction, one that will transport readers to a world of mesmerizing authenticity of character, event, and detail.

One
Prelude

The delegation arrived in the capital of the Roman Republic during the waning days of the Mediterranean autumn. They had traveled from the city of Saguntum in eastern Iberia to beg an audience before the Senate. Once they were granted it, a man named Gramini spoke for them. He looked about the chamber with a clear-eyed visage, voice strong but somewhat lispy. The Romans had to crane forward on their benches and watch his lips to understand him, some with hands cupped to their ears, a few with grimaces and whispers that the man's Latin was unintelligible. But in the end all understood the substance of his words, and that was this: The Saguntines were afraid. They feared for their very existence. They were a jewel embedded in a rough land, rife with tribal conflict and turmoil. They were sheep living with a mighty wolf at their back. The creature's name was not new to them, for it was the ever hungry Hannibal Barca of Carthage, the son of Hamilcar, avowed enemy ...

Please be aware that this discussion guide may contain spoilers!
ABOUT THIS GUIDE
The Carthaginian commander Hannibal Barca stunned the ancient world with his shrewd, relentless, and logic-defying onslaught against the mighty Roman empire. Pride of Carthage captures the legendary Hannibal and his unparalleled military campaign in a novel charged with pulse-quickening action and boldly imagined detail. The introduction, discussion questions, suggestions for further reading, and author biography that follow are intended to enliven your group’s discussion of this evocative epic.

ABOUT THIS BOOK
Sickened by Rome’s insatiable appetite for world domination and fueled by his late father’s determination to bring the Italian empire to its knees, Hannibal Barca of Carthage recruits a ...
Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

Reviews

Media Reviews

The New York Times - Ben Ehrenreich

Durham vividly captures the frenzy of ancient warfare -- battle-maddened pachyderms, hails of javelins and arrows, ordered ranks of Roman light infantry crumbling before Hannibal's mercenary army of 'copper-skinned' Libyans, tattooed and dreadlocked Numidians and blond, blood-drinking Gauls. 'The world is cruel,' Durham's Hannibal proclaims, and it is. Infamies abound. It's all here 'steaming loops of viscera,' catapulted human heads, the spray of blood above the battlefield darkening the sky like rain … a skillfully structured and often gripping novel.

Kirkus Reviews

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.

Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. Durham weaves abundant psychological, military and political detail into this vivid account of one of the most romanticized periods of history.

Library Journal - Robert Conroy

An epic tale well told, this will be easily understood even by those with limited knowledge of the period and may conjure thoughts of Robert E. Lee's battles against the Union in the Civil War. Highly recommended for most historical fiction collections.

Booklist - Kristine Huntley

Starred Review. Durham's epic is truly a big, magnificent, sprawling story complete with a sizable cast of compelling characters, intricately drawn battle scenes, and fluid, graceful prose.

Author Blurb Tom Holland, author of Rubicon The Last Years of the Roman Republic
An extraordinary achievement Durham puts flesh on the bones of Carthage in a way that no novelist has done since Flaubert wrote Salammbo.

Author Blurb Jeffrey Lent, author of In the Fall and Lost Nation
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.

Reader Reviews

schreiberjo

Pride of Carthage
Pride of Carthage is a wonderful book and is a moving experience and shows what a great writer David is.

Write your own review!

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

Readalikes

Readalikes Full readalike results are for members only

If you liked The Pride of Carthage, try these:

  • Genghis: Lords of the Bow jacket

    Genghis: Lords of the Bow

    by Conn Iggulden

    Published 2009

    More about this book

    Read Reviews

    He came from over the horizon, a single Mongol warrior surrounded by his brothers, sons, and fellow tribesmen. For centuries, primitive tribes had warred with one another. Now, under Genghis Khan, they have united as one nation, setting their sights on a common enemy: the great, slumbering walled empire of the Chin.

  • The Last Kingdom jacket

    The Last Kingdom

    by Bernard Cornwell

    Published 2006

    More about this book

    Read Reviews

    The first volume in a new saga set in the 9th century. The Vikings are overwhelming the land later to be known as England, three out of the four kingdoms are already in their control, only Wessex, under the leadership of Alfred the Great, remains undefeated.

Non-members are limited to two results. Become a member


Search Readalikes again
How we choose readalikes
Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!
Member Benefits

Join Now!

Check the advantages!
Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year

    •  
    • FREE
    • MEMBER
    • Range of media reviews for each book
    • Excerpts of all featured books
    • Author bios, interviews and pronunciations
    • Browse by genre
    • Book club discussions
    • Book club advice and reading guides
    • BookBrowse reviews and "beyond the book" back-stories
    •  
    • Reviews of notable books ahead of publication
    •  
    • Free books to read and review (US Only)
    •  
    • Browse for the best books by time period, setting & theme
    •  
    • Read-alike suggestions for thousands of books and authors
    •  
    • 'My Reading List" to keep track of your books
    •  

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket: A Certain Age
    A Certain Age
    by Beatriz Williams
    Lovers of high-society gossip, there's a new set of players in town. A good 20 out of 23 of our...
  • Book Jacket: The Romanovs
    The Romanovs
    by Simon Sebag Montefiore
    The Romanovs chronicles the reigns of the 20 individuals who were considered members of that dynasty...
  • Book Jacket: Barkskins
    Barkskins
    by Annie Proulx
    Barkskins, by Annie Proulx, is not a book to read quickly. After a month of slow reading, I ...

First Impressions

  • Book Jacket

    All Is Not Forgotten
    by Wendy Walker

    This is fast-paced psychological suspense/thriller at it's very best.

    Read Member Reviews

  • Book Jacket

    The Secret Language of Stones
    by M. J. Rose

    "A fantastic historical tale of war, love, loss and intrigue."
    – Melanie Benjamin

    Read Member Reviews

Members review books pre-publication. Read their opinions in First Impressions

Book Discussions
Book Jacket
The Fair Fight
by Anna Freeman

A page-turning novel set in the world of 18th century female pugilists.

About the book
Join the discussion!
Summer Stunner
Summer Giveaway

Win 5 books, each week in July!

Enter

Word Play

Solve this clue:

W M T N, W C F All

and be entered to win..

Books that     
entertain,
     engage

 & enlighten

Visitors can view some of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only.

Join Today!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends books that we believe to be best in class. Books that will whisk you to faraway places and times, that will expand your mind and challenge you -- the kinds of books you just can't wait to tell your friends about.

 
X

BookBrowse Summer Giveaway

We're giving away
5 books every
week in July!