Total War Rome: Destroy Carthage

The UK paperback cover, published by Macmillan on 14 April 2014.

The UK paperback cover, published by Macmillan on 14 April 2014.

The hardback cover, for the UK, US and international editions.

 Among the reviews:

'Superb scenes of the horrid surprises of war ... the road to that Roman victory is the true reading enjoyment'  Kirkus Reviews

'... simply breathtaking ... one of the best historical novels of the year. Gibbins has done a stunning job piecing together various historical sources to create an extraordinary tale'

 '... delivers historically accurate fiction by the bucketload  … the ensuing battle is both incredibly thrilling and appropriately violent. Gibbins clearly understands the immense levels of fear, excitement and adrenaline that pump through each Roman soldier, and the surgical brutality of their battles.  Total War Rome: Destroy Carthage already looks to be a rare breed of videogame novel that does more than simply expand or focus on a specific aspect of the videogame from which it is spawned. Instead, its narrative, setting and historical accuracy make it a legitimate part of the Total War: Rome II experience … one can only imagine how vivid Gibbins’ tale will be to Total War fans and those waiting for the release of Rome II. '  Michael Westgarth, segaaddicts

Click on the image above to read the Prologue, set during the Battle of Pydna in 168 BC when Rome finally destroyed the power of Macedonia and set the stage for the conquest of Greece and the East.

TOTAL WAR ROME: DESTROY CARTHAGE is a self-standing work of historical fiction, written for readers who may have no knowledge of the Total War games as well as for fans of the games. The setting in the Third Punic War was a pivotal point in ancient history - there is no higher drama than the events leading up to the Roman destruction of Carthage in 146 BC. The historical personalities who drove those events are also the main characters in the novel, which is designed to stand alongside other novels set in Rome and her wars as well as cater for readers who may have little knowledge of this genre or period in ancient history. 

 It’s been very exciting for me to work on this novel, the official tie-in to the Total War: ROME II game released this autumn as part of the multi-million selling Total War franchise from Sega. The novel is a work of historical fiction that complements the time period of the game, providing a vivid picture of the historical reality behind the strategy and battles of the period  - in this case the tumultuous years of the 2nd century BC when Rome stood poised on the brink of empire or of annihilation.

The story of Rome’s struggle with Carthage is truly a story of total war, of a conflict spread over more than a century in which  the utter destruction of one side was the only possible outcome. The novel focuses on the final decades leading up to the fall of Carthage in 146 BC, a time when some of the strongest characters in history held sway: Cato, the Roman senator who called for Carthage to be destroyed; Hasdrubal, the defiant Carthaginian leader, prepared to defend his city whatever the cost; and above all Scipio Aemilianus, the Roman general who for a few moments atop the ruins of Carthage held the world in his hands, and could have been the first Roman emperor.

I’ve imagined these characters through the eyes of a fictional legionary, Fabius, who accompanies Scipio from his beginnings in Rome through wars in Macedonia and Spain to the final apocalyptic scenes. The story has been very close to my own work as an archaeologist at Carthage itself - I’ve been up to my elbows in smashed pottery and bones from the destruction of the city in 146 BC, and I’ve dived on the submerged foundations of the harbour entrance where Scipio would have stepped ashore before ordering the final assault. Being that close to real history is what makes my novels come alive for me.


The hardback was published simultaneously in the UK by Pan Macmillan and the US by St. Martin's Press on 3 September 2013, on the same day that Sega released Total War: ROME II. The paperback will be published in the UK on 14 April 2014 and in the US in November. The novel is also published in many other languages, including Brazilian, French, German, Greek, Hungarian, Italian, Spanish and Dutch. For links to these editions visit

Over 100,000 of these bound samplers containing the Prologue of the novel have been produced.

Over 100,000 of these bound samplers containing the Prologue of the novel have been produced.

About the banner image

I took this photo of Carthage while I was directing underwater excavations just offshore from the ancient land-locked harbour, visible in the centre of the picture. Beyond that over the Bay of Tunis you can see the distinctive twin-peaked mountain of Bou Kournine, sacred to the ancient Carthaginians. To the right of the harbour is the tophet, site of child sacrifice. The view is from the slopes of the Byrsa, the last line of defence in 146 BC, the same hill with the temple atop that you can see on the jacket image of the book with the Roman forces advancing towards it from the ancient shoreline. The image encompassed in this photo forms the setting for a climactic scene in the novel.


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