The Confessions of Young Nero

The Confessions of Young Nero

Large Print - 2017
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"New York Times bestselling author Margaret George has brought history to vivid life with her chronicles of queens and kings. Now, she turns her gaze to an Emperor... Built on the backs of those who fell before it, Julius Caesar's imperial dynasty is only as strong as the next person who seeks to control it. In the Roman Empire no one is safe from the sting of betrayal: man, woman--or child. As a boy, Nero's royal heritage becomes a threat to his very life, first when the mad emperor Caligula tries to drown him, then when his great aunt attempts to secure her own son's inheritance. Faced with shocking acts of treachery, young Nero is dealt a harsh lesson: it is better to be cruel than dead. While Nero idealizes the artistic and athletic principles of Greece, his very survival rests on his ability to navigate the sea of vipers that is Rome. The most lethal of all is his own mother, a cold-blooded woman whose singular goal is to control the empire. With cunning and poison, the obstacles fall one by one.But as Agrippina's machinations earn her son a title he is both tempted and terrified to assume, Nero's determination to escape her thrall will shape him into the man he was fated to become--an Emperor who became legendary. With impeccable research and captivating prose, The Confessions of Young Nero is the story of a boy's ruthless ascension to the throne. Detailing his journey from innocent youth to infamous ruler, it is an epic tale of the lengths to which man will go in the ultimate quest for power and survival"--
Publisher: New York : Random House Large Print, ©2017.
Edition: Large print edition
ISBN: 9781524756192
Characteristics: 715 pages :,illustrations, genealogical table, maps ;,23 cm.

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singasong70
Nov 25, 2017

Author went to great pains to paint Nero as a lusty heterosexual stud who "settled down" with Poppea (I guess), though closer it got to "burning of Rome" more unbelievable it got in that if he was the nice guy she painted him to be, why did he commit suicide r did he not commit suicide at all? Seems like a point you couldn't leave out or at least allude to as story went on.

j
Jenkskitten
Nov 25, 2017

WOW! What a different concept of Nero than the one of "Rome burned while Nero fiddled". So thankful that I did not live in those times of constant worry of being stepped on or eliminated for power. It really made me think of young people today and how important it is to their psychic in the early stages of life and how important real love is to them. This is a story of a young man and the people in his life who molded him into what he became.

t
tjdickey
Jul 17, 2017

A very readable account, despite the looming background - Nero is of course born into a family steeped in murder (Caligula tries to drown the infant boy as a joke in the opening pages), incest (even Oedipal obsessions), the corruption of absolute power (Nero knows the intoxicating cries of the mob), and creeping madness in the multiple personalities he freely acknowledges. George's overall intent is to rehabilitate this fascinating figure somewhat, showing the deeply-felt artistic side of his personality more than the stereotype of the mad ruler, though in the context of a ruling family so steeped in its own blood and that of its people, the work is cut out for her.

m
morganameridius
May 08, 2017

I discovered Margaret George’s book Mary, Called Magdalene in high school and continued my love of her books after college with The Memoirs of Cleopatra and Helen of Troy. I loved the way she was able to bring the Ancient World to life while making the characters and their lives feel immediate and knowable. You could recognize common struggles in their extraordinary lives. So I was extremely excited when she announced a new book on the Roman Emperor Nero. While it did not become a new favorite of mine, I enjoyed the panache that George brought to yet another celebrated & controversial historical figure.

Even though the attention to detail is immense, Margaret George’s writing style is compulsively readable and keeps you turning the pages. I would get lost in the scenery of the Roman countryside, the smells of the food, the luxury of the palaces. It was all so easy to see in my mind’s eye. I struggled with the narrative style, though, the looking backward aspect. In theory it takes away some of the narrative urgency because you know that this character survives whatever tribulations are mentioned up until the point he/she is telling the story. In this case, that didn’t bother me or alleviate the tension.

For me, it was the amount of recall and the mature voice given to a child that was hard to believe. I don’t think it’s reasonable to expect a 4 year old to remember as much detail as Nero did and it made it difficult to remember how old he was at certain parts of the story, or indeed what year it was. So that distracted me. I also felt some distance from the characters themselves but overall I enjoyed learning about a historical figure I didn’t know much about previously. I also really appreciate the lengths George has gone to carefully reconstruct this newer image of Nero, to look beyond the sensationalized for the human underneath. She gives him motives and fears as well as passions that seem to directly correlate to choices he makes in the future, and it paints a fuller picture of a controversial man. I’ll look forward to the conclusion in part 2!

If you enjoy Roman history or even historical fiction in general, this book is worth giving a try. The details overwhelm at times but help paint this amazing image of a long-past world and a very interesting historical figure.

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