Historical / Reviews

Book Review: I Am a Barbarian by Edgar Rice Burroughs

I am a barbarian Edgar Rice Burroughs

 

Genre: Historical Fiction

Who on earth expected a well researched historical take on imperial Rome from Edger Rice Burroughs? Told from the point of view of one of Caligula’s slaves (Brittanicus), this is one of Burroughs’ more mature works. Sadly, it’s long out of print; you’re lucky if you can manage a copy. Note that I Am a Barbarian is one of the only two historical novels written by the author; the other being The Outlaw of Tor.

The Story

Brittanicus is brought by Caligula’s parents to be a companion to their son. The slave watches Caligula grow up from a spoiled brat to an insane ruler. The ruler both trusts and fears Brittanicus. The story describes the adventures of Brittanicus and yes, there is a romantic angle too. Dejah thoris is substituted by the slave girl Attica.

The Style

Action packed, poignant and humorous at times, I am a Barbarian is one of the finest novels Burroughs has ever written. Surprisingly, even his trademark flat characterization is replaced here by well defined and fairly intricate individuals. Burroughs’ writing style is imaginative and crisp.

This is an epic novel of historical adventure and altogether a darn good package. You don’t have to be an ERB fan to enjoy I Am a Barbarian.

Ace Edition (1974).  Cover Art by Boris Vallejo.

Similar Books

Historical fiction of Robert E. Howard

Ben-Hur by Lew Wallace

 

8 thoughts on “Book Review: I Am a Barbarian by Edgar Rice Burroughs

  1. I’ve not heard of this of before, I would be interested in hunting down a copy though, to say it is one of his maturer works, a more appropriate front cover may have helped on that score and possibly a few more clothes!

  2. This sounds interesting, especially as a way of showing the time period and the ruler from the slave’s point of view. I guess the price on it shows how old it is – it’s hard to believe printed books were ever $1.95.

    • It is interesting indeed. Reminds me a lot of Spartacus.

      This is exactly the edition I have. It’s really old and smells awesome. I find the printed price rather ironical. Just the shipping cost (of a used copy) to my country cost me a fortune 😦

      Thank you for your comment.

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