cover image The First Man in Rome

The First Man in Rome

Colleen McCullough. Avon Books, $7.99 (1104pp) ISBN 978-0-380-71081-2

Gaius Marius, brilliant military leader and six-term Roman consul, heads the cast of a hefty historical novel replete with politics, social infighting, bloody battles and domestic drama. ``Evoking with impeccably researched, meticulous detail the political and social fabric of Rome in the last days of the Republic, McCullough demonstrates a thoroughgoing understanding of an age in which birth and blood lines determine one's fate,'' said PW . $200,000 ad/promo. (Aug.)