Roman empire recommendation?

The Folding Knife
Not technically Rome, but based very closely on it.

1. Clash of Eagles by Alan Smale
2. Eagle in Exile by Alan Smale
3. Eagle and Empire by Alan Smale

The Shadow of Ararat series by Thomas Harlan
1. Oath of Empire
2. Gate of Fire
3. Storm of Heaven
4. The Dark Lord

Ranks of Bronze
by David Drake
Bran Mak Morn Legion From The Shadows By David Drake
Lest Darkness Fall by L Sprague De Camp
Will like historical fiction recommendation that is set in the roman empire!

It really depends which period of the Roman Empire you like, and how involved you want to get.

Imperium by Robert Harris is one of the best, and the first of a trilogy about Cicero.
I. Claudius by Robert Graves is another great classic, this time about the Emperor Claudius.
Julian by gore Vidal is a superb book about the later emperor Julian, the last of the pagan emperors

And the First Man in Rome series by Colleen McCullough is the great single series, set in the Republican period as it transitions to an empire. However, it can be quite thick and dense reading at times, but the characterizations are second-to-none.
I second Brian's recommendations. I did find that after reading Colleen McCullough's Masters of Rome series that everything else paled into insignificance.

Allan Massie's Augustus is a good read.

I have read a few of Harry Sidebottom's books and they are good adventure stories.

Simon Scarrow has a good series set in the Roman Legions. Strong on detail.

Gore Vidal's Julian is brilliant.
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Gordianus the Finder series by Stephen Saylor. A Murder on the Appian Way was recommended by Cl-Cl-Claudius himself, Derek Jacobi. I read the Claudius books to find out what happened to the character portrayed by John Rhys-Davies. They ddint show his fate in the mini-series. In the movie CALIGULA, the character gets his head chopped off by an execution machine.
I second the nomination for the 2 I, Claudius novels. A great way to cover the Julio-Claudian dynasty in two easy-to-read novels. Rather than focusing at Rome as an empire, it tends to concentrate more on the relationships and machinations of Augusuts, Tiberius, Caligula, Claudius and Nero and their close relations and friends. Perhaps it's not entirely historically accurate but it does feel authentic, and that is what really matters.

And one of those rare occasions when the tv series is equally as good as the books. In fact I would probably recommend watching the tv series before reading the two novels. Once you hear Derek Jacobi as narrator, it's hard not to read the books hearing his voice speaking the words - and definitely adds to the enjoyment.
Alfred Duggan wrote some great HF overall most famously Count Bohemond and Knight With Armour. However he also wrote a few books set in the Roman Empire. For me the the standouts were

Winter Quarters - a couple of Gauls end up serving with Marcus Crassus.

Family Favourites - the debauched reign of Elagbulas as seen through the eyes of one of his soldiers.

Duggan had a great style and very sly wit.
I Claudius. Robert Silverberg wrote a story where the Romans where the first to settle America. I Believe it was in a Gardner Dozois
And the First Man in Rome series by Colleen McCullough is the great single series, set in the Republican period as it transitions to an empire. However, it can be quite thick and dense reading at times, but the characterizations are second-to-none.
I'm re-reading First Man in Rome right now and it's exceptional. I read them as a teenager and adored them. When I studied Roman history in college, I found they were unerringly accurate and meticulously researched. They're stories about men and women, but also about the lives of Romans and the world and everything else that made Rome, Rome. There was just a solid 10 minutes on how an insula in the suburra was built, and how to assess and measure the quality of the build, plus, how many people live there, on what floors and how light, noise, food, waste and water all work. And yet, the information and description is in service of the story and the people and adds texture to everything, rather than feeling like a history lesson. The books are alive and the stories wonderful.

I will add that they are so wildly out of style with modern books that it is lovely a bit jarring. There are many, many POV characters. Chapters are broken out by year, not POV, and one chapter moves between multiple characters, multiple times, and across styles. Most is written in omniscient third person, which then transitions to epistolary then back to omniscient third but with a different character, then an epistolary response, to another POV, etc.

The unabridged audiobook for the first book is over 40 hours--anything over 22 hours is quite high for modern books.

The print version also had charcoal renderings of the major characters, done by McCullough. They're great.
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