The Last Assassin

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‘A gripping history’ Mary Beard
‘A political thriller, and a human story that astonishes’ Hilary Mantel
‘Atmospheric and gripping, and [his] scholarship is impeccable’ Greg Woolf

Many men killed Julius Caesar. Only one man was determined to kill the killers.

THE LAST ASSASSIN dazzlingly charts an epic turn of history through the eyes of an unheralded man. It is a hunt that an emperor wanted to hide, of torture and terror, politics and poetry, of ideas and their consequences, a gripping story of fear, revenge and survival.


[A] gripping, gorgeously written new account of the killing and its consequences ... Stothard explores the familiar ground with fresh, engaging and learned eyes, displaying a novelist's knack for redolent and evocative detail, from cicadas and lizards to the press and horror of battle ... Stothard is excellent on the machinations and murmurings that recruited the killers ... the excitement and danger of the times are skilfully drawn ... Stothard weaves wonders from threads ... This book reminds us powerfully of the supreme importance of individual freedom against an overweening state; of being able to speak truth to those in authority
Philip Womack, THE SPECTATOR
The Last Assassin is the most immediate account of Caesar's murder I have ever read. Even though the outcome of the Ides of March is one everybody knows, Stothard manages to endow it with something of the urgency and tension of a thriller
The Last Assassin is a compelling true-life thriller, profoundly researched, beautifully written, and a dire lesson in what happens when idealism meets tyranny and political freedom dies
Christopher Hart, DAILY MAIL 'Book of the Week'
A thrilling account of the vengeful manhunt for Julius Caesar's assassins. Most readers' knowledge of the assassination in 44 B.C.E. ends with the bloody deed, but Stothard brings its aftermath to pulsing life... Stothard writes as if he lives and breathes the air of this tumultuous time. His readers will feel, for a brief time, that they are there as well. A deep immersion in a bloody era of ancient Rome, perfect for readers of Mary Beard and Tom Holland
A writer of rare talent... he weaves a tense, fast-paced tale from the many strands of a turbulent era... The vigor of Mr. Stothard's prose, and the acuity of his insight, will propel many readers... into an ancient Roman world that is startlingly real
Clear and urgent as the day's news, The Last Assassin is a grim study of unintended consequences. It brings into sharp focus events that many of us only half-know, and tells a story sadder and more complex than we can imagine, giving a new life not only to Caesar and his killers but to the common people who filled the mass graves of the Roman wars. It is written with authority, passion and insight - a political thriller, and a human story that astonishes.
Hilary Mantel
First murder, then mayhem. Mark Antony, determined to avenge the assassination of his pal Julius Caesar, sent his henchmen far and wide to hunt down his killers. One of those nasty fellows was a bloke called Publius Cornelius Dolabella, renowned as a rapist. His sidekick, known only as the Samarian, was a sadist handy with a heated knife, who also had a stretchy torture machine called the Horse. Peter Stothard, former editor of The Times, presents ancient Rome told in the style of a Coppola Mob movie. Wonderful detail and great fun.
Gerard de Groot, THE TIMES 'Books of the Year'
Half thriller, half elegy for a lost Republic, The Last Assassin traces the after-shocks of Caesar's murder as one by one the conspirators were eliminated to make way for a new Roman order. Stothard's writing is atmospheric and gripping, and his scholarship impeccable
Peter Stothard is a master of modern writing about ancient Rome. An implacable dictator cannot rest happy until each of his father's many killers is dead. A gripping history for today of how the assassins of Julius Caesar fell one-by-one, with ever fewer places to hide, before the vengeance of a would-be emperor
Mary Beard
Stothard's history of the hunting down of the murderers by Antony and Octavian, Caesar's great-nephew and heir, who are first accomplices then bitter rivals as they each seek the throne, is a riveting, fast-paced thriller that makes one think of the brutal settling of scores at the end of The Godfather
Patrick Kidd, THE TIMES
Stothard's portrait of Parmensis as a tragic poet - a Thyestes was among his works - and keen Epicurean philosopher certainly humanises him. He emerges, indeed, as a most sensitive killer. If his initial motivations remain shadowy, then his gumption and determination to stay alive - or at the very least stare death honourably in the face - reverberate clearly through Stothard's tense and thrilling narrative
Daisy Dunn, THE CRITIC
The excellent Last Assassin by Peter Stothard is a group biography of the killers of Julius Caesar, including Cassius Parmensis ... Stothard has a good eye for revealing questions ... The tale also is told with the genuine elegance we have come to expect from this author
Roy Gibson, TLS
Vivid, dramatic, evocative, and a unique narrative line tracking the assassination and its aftermath
Adrian Spooner, CLASSICS FOR ALL
In this stimulating book, Peter Stothard focuses on the less-heralded players in the aftermath of Caesar's murder, tracing the period through the varied ends of his killers - in battle, by suicide or at the executioner's hand ... Stothard's compelling book gives shape to the political infighting, combining vivid personal detail ... Stothard writes with a poet's eye for atmosphere and a novelist's imagination in reconstructing events ... he also draws on a deep knowledge of the Roman context, and a sensitivity to the human complexity of events; his account stresses above all the plotters' uncertainty, fear and misery. All in all, this is a striking and evocative treatment of this transformative period
Peter Stothard knows how to deploy the telling diamond stud of a detail - whether in Senate debates, sea battles or describing the fusion of poetry and propaganda ... Stothard has woven a taut thriller from scant historical threads. But most of all this is a story of principles and the fight against tyranny, and all the better for focusing on one of history's forgotten players