Fortune's Favorites

by Colleen McCullough

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The most obvious theme in Fortune's Favorites is that of fortune and destiny — to greatness, disaster, or obscurity. Most of the major characters — Caesar, Sulla, Pompey, Spartacus, and Sertorius — are described as either being one of "Fortune's Favorites" or having been completely abandoned by fortune. Sulla, who had previously nicknamed himself Felix (lucky), loses his luck — his beloved son has already died; his wife dies in a welter of horrible omens; he dies a deformed and largely unmourned alcoholic. Sertorius, Gaius Marius's cousin who led a rebellious semi-kingdom in the Spanish provinces, loses his luck when he is confronted by Pompey, whose luck, along with that of Caesar, is ascendant. Indeed, Caesar is the most obvious of Fortune's Favorites in the novel; while it may be an exaggeration to say that he can do no wrong, he is clearly in the ascendant; he is largely beloved, more intelligent than all, and a particular favorite with women.

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