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Download The Poison King: The Life and Legend of Mithradates, Rome’s Deadliest Enemy Audiobook

Extended Audio Sample The Poison King: The Life and Legend of Mithradates, Rome’s Deadliest Enemy Audiobook, by Adrienne Mayor Click for printable size audiobook cover
3.83 out of 53.83 out of 53.83 out of 53.83 out of 53.83 out of 5 3.83 (23 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Adrienne Mayor Narrator: Paul Hecht Publisher: Recorded Books, LLC Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: September 2009 ISBN: 9781449838065
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Machiavelli praised his military genius. European royalty sought out his secret elixir against poison. His life inspired Mozart’s first opera, while for centuries poets and playwrights recited bloody, romantic tales of his victories, defeats, intrigues, concubines, and mysterious death. But until now no modern historian has recounted the full story of Mithradates, the ruthless king and visionary rebel who challenged the power of Rome in the first century BC. In this richly illustrated book, the first biography of Mithradates in fifty years, Adrienne Mayor combines a storyteller’s gifts with the most recent archaeological and scientific discoveries to tell the tale of Mithradates as it has never been told before.

The Poison King describes a life brimming with spectacle and excitement. Claiming Alexander the Great and Darius of Persia as ancestors, Mithradates inherited a wealthy Black Sea kingdom at age fourteen after his mother poisoned his father. He fled into exile and returned in triumph to become a ruler of superb intelligence and fierce ambition. Hailed as a savior by his followers and feared as a second Hannibal by his enemies, he envisioned a grand Eastern empire to rival Rome. After massacring eighty thousand Roman citizens in 88 BC, he seized Greece and modern-day Turkey. Fighting some of the most spectacular battles in ancient history, he dragged Rome into a long round of wars and threatened to invade Italy itself. His uncanny ability to elude capture and surge back after devastating losses unnerved the Romans, while his mastery of poisons allowed him to foil assassination attempts and eliminate rivals.

The Poison King is a gripping account of one of Rome’s most relentless but least understood foes.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “Mithradates should be a household name alongside his fellow rebels Hannibal, Cleopatra, Spartacus, and Attila. This detailed, juicy, entertaining, yet painstaking work of superb scholarship should finally give Mithradates the recognition he deserves.”

    Margaret George, author of Helen of Troy: A Novel

  • “Meticulous in its research, exciting in its narration, ambitious in its conception, The Poison King re-creates an era when much of the Mediterranean world rebelled against Rome. At the center of it all is the fascinating and frightening king who rallied the resistance: Mithradates. Mayor has written a terrific book.”

    Barry Straus, author of The Spartacus War

  • “Thanks to Mayor, Mithradates has emerged from the shadows at last as one of Rome’s most potent and remarkable enemies.”

    Tom Holland, author of Rubicon: The Last Years of the Roman Republic

  • “A wonderful reading experience.”

    Washington Post

  • “This distinctive and compelling book is sure to fascinate all readers interested in the ancient world or in understanding the historical politics of the Caucasus region.”

    Library Journal

  • Winner of the 2010 Independent Publisher Award Gold Medal for Biography
  • A 2009 Washington Post Best Book
  • A 2009 National Book Award Finalist

Listener Opinions

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Tim Fuhrman | 2/16/2014

    " Just got started. I'll have to let you know. Pretty interesting so far. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Charles | 2/9/2014

    " An interesting account of how "the other half" lived during the late republic era of Rome. Interesting to see how the power of myths and legends shaped the actions of ancient leaders. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Nicole | 1/25/2014

    " I thought this was a really entertaining, gripping book. Can't figure out how some people found it dry, but to each their own. Nice to see the Romans from the other side, and great to learn about the history of the area around the Black Sea. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Larry | 1/19/2014

    " I have read about this person many times but this was the first time I specifically read a book about him. His plan to combine many cultures like Alexander the Great was fascinating. Going up against the greatest military power in the world was doomed to disaster but he lived a full and interesting life. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Michael | 1/14/2014

    " Fascinating subject and one I know almost nothing about, but writing is odd and disjointed. I am surprised I got all the way through it. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Suzanne | 1/3/2014

    " "magnificent in defeat" "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 E Goldberg | 12/1/2013

    " Well written. Brings new information to bear on the biography of Mithradates. Is it possible for history to have a surprise ending? I liked it. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Ron | 11/20/2013

    " An interesting biography of a person little known today. The author provides background and multiple sources while working on bringing Mithradates back into our set of knowledge. Rome is not potrayed favorably in relation to her subject. An enjoyable read. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Jonathan | 10/23/2013

    " A good overall book but the author got bogged down in the what if's and hypothesizing. She states very clearly when she is simply hypothesizing but I found she did it too much for my taste. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Gaetano Amato | 5/4/2013

    " Disappointing. I am surprised something as poorly written/researched, as this collection of words, could get published. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jay | 1/22/2013

    " .Such a well-written book, as fascinating as any novel, and informative on top of it all. Adrienne Mayor doesn't talk down to non-historians and her narrative is rivetting. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Robert Sulentic | 9/4/2012

    " Adrienne Mayor writes a very interesting and fascinating bio of this storied King who almost ran the Romans out of Asia. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Tom | 7/6/2012

    " Nice story. Audio book had a 10 Minute gap in the middle, missed the entire attack on Rhodes. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Richard | 2/12/2012

    " Excellent, readable, rollicking book. AND it's very well researched. Loved it. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Tom | 2/28/2011

    " Nice story. Audio book had a 10 Minute gap in the middle, missed the entire attack on Rhodes. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 E | 2/27/2011

    " Well written. Brings new information to bear on the biography of Mithradates. Is it possible for history to have a surprise ending? I liked it. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Bruce | 1/17/2011

    " A very readable popular history of the great Mithridates. It's not the book an academic historian would have written--but maybe that's a good thing. (I can say this having been an academic historian.) "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Tim | 12/29/2010

    " Just got started. I'll have to let you know. Pretty interesting so far. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Corlynn | 4/28/2010

    " I am finally finished with this book!! "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Mark | 3/8/2010

    " I loved this book, full of prophesy and history. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Joe | 2/28/2010

    " Love reading about Roman history and it's enemies. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Nicole | 2/14/2010

    " I thought this was a really entertaining, gripping book. Can't figure out how some people found it dry, but to each their own. Nice to see the Romans from the other side, and great to learn about the history of the area around the Black Sea. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Richard | 2/14/2010

    " Excellent, readable, rollicking book. AND it's very well researched. Loved it. "

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About the Author
Author Adrienne Mayor

Adrienne Mayor is the author of Greek Fire, Poison Arrows, and Scorpion Bombs: Biological and Chemical Warfare in the Ancient World and The First Fossil Hunters: Paleontology in Greek and Roman Times. She is a research scholar in classics and history of science at Stanford University.

About the Narrator

Paul Hecht’s long career in audio books spans dozens of titles and authors as varied as Ray Bradbury and Gore Vidal, Jack Finney and Thomas Mann. He has recorded such books as Bob Dole’s One Soldier’s Story and Alexander McCall Smith’s Portuguese Irregular Verbs and At the Villa of Reduced Circumstances. Hecht’s theater career in New York includes many Broadway and television credits.