The Confessions of Young Nero
Not since Robert Graves' I Claudius, have I read such an interesting book about ancient Rome. In The Confessions of Young Nero, we encounter a young boy who is almost murdered at the hands of the mad emperor Caligula. We follow him on his rise (with his mother's help, of course) to the exalted state of Emperor. The author presents a fascinating look into the world of Rome with her lush descriptions of culture, scenery, and food. It was so well written that I almost felt like I was there, walking around in the intricately decorated rooms. The fact that the characters speak directly to the reader is perhaps what makes this book so superb, giving it a feeling of intimacy. At times I felt like I was reading about long lost relatives, as so many of the events and people in the book are not only well known to us but they have captivated the attention of so many throughout the course of history.
I especially liked the fact that the author presented Nero not, as Hollywood has portrayed him as an over the top ruler, but as a character that one can understand and at times sympathize with, knowing that he often had the weight of the world on his shoulders. I am also happy to know that the story of Nero will be continued in a second volume, as this one ends with the burning of Rome. I for one, can't wait to read the next installment.
Thanks to Shelf-Awareness and Berkley Publishing for allowing me to read this book in exchange for an honest review.