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The Roman, Volume 1
 
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The Roman, Volume 1 [Unabridged] [Audible Audio Edition]

by Mika Waltari (Author), Charlton Griffin (Narrator)
4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)

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Editorial Reviews

This fascinating historical novel brings to life the ancient Roman Empire, with all its decadence, vice, virtue, courage, splendor and magnificence. Told from the first person point of view, and closely following actual historical events and personalities, this is the story of Minutus Manilianus, a Roman knight who comes to manhood during the reign of Emperor Claudius.

Skillfully recapturing the essence of the period in its vast tapestry of color, drama, beauty and menace, Waltari weaves a masterful plot beginning in the eastern Mediterranean port city of Antioch. From there, we follow Minutus as he makes his way to Rome and his first love, to Britain where he is enlisted with a legion fighting the savage Celts, (where he is also involved in another love affair), and eventually back to Rome and Greece.

In the background, always veering in and out of the story, are the fervent followers of a cult named for a Jew who was executed in Judaea many years before. With the passage of time, these fanatical followers of Jesus continue to emerge around him...some among his own family.

Meanwhile, Minutus becomes ever more tightly enmeshed within the circle of friends surrounding the young Nero, heir apparent to the throne.

When Minutus is sent to Greece, he continues to meet these odd people who now call themselves Christians. Annoyed by them at first, he comes to find them harmless, and even admires their fervor and stoic faith - but he also finds the religious conflict within the Jewish communities all over the Mediterranean disquieting.

At the end of Volume 1, Nero has begun to change. Instead of the sober, intense youth in pursuit of idealistic aims, Nero has begun to reveal himself in a completely different light.

©1964 Estate of Mika Waltari; (P)2008 Audio Connoisseur

Product Details

  • Audible Audio Edition
  • Listening Length: 14 hours and 37 minutes
  • Program Type: Audiobook
  • Version: Unabridged
  • Publisher: Audio Connoisseur
  • Audible.com Release Date: June 25, 2008
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B001CMONUS
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
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Customer Reviews

4.1 out of 5 stars
(9)
4.1 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
27 of 28 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Living in Rome during Nero's reign September 1, 2002
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
If you enjoy well researched historical novels, I would recommend this one to you. The fly on the wall is fictional character, Minutus, a friend of Nero's. What I enjoyed was getting to meet Nero, Seneca, St. Paul, and St. Peter and what it was like to see the Druids and the early Christians. Before I read this book I only knew 4 things about ancient Rome: that Nero fiddled while Rome burned, that the early Christians were thrown to the lions, that Nero's mother killed her husband so that Nero could become emperor, and that Nero had his male lover's genitals removed and then married him. This book put all those things in context for me. At times the reading was a bit slow and difficult to follow, but on the whole I found it an enjoyable and educational experience. Not as good as I remember "the Egyptian" being, but nevertheless very worthwhile.
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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Gripping historical drama July 9, 2001
By brx
Format:Hardcover
Minutus, son of Marcus ("Hero" of the Secret Kingdom) tells us about his life in the Rome of Nero, the Burning of the city and the killing of the Christians. Meanwhile he himself pursues his own business, love-affairs and political intrigues. I've read this book a few times now and it grows with each reading. It is very cleverly constructed, the details of roman life are breathtaking and Minutus himself offers a new side of his character each time you pick up this book. Very worthwhile reading.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wickedly funny! August 8, 2008
By Remus
Format:Hardcover
What is Mika Waltari up to in THE ROMAN? There is a very dry Finnish sense of humor at play here, exploiting the ironies of a narrator who is an utter moral vaccum, unable to perceive the truth of anything going on around him. Put such a cipher in the poisonous milieu of Poppaea, Agrippina, Tigellinus, et. al, and watch out! When our "hero" is charged by Nero with devising "entertainments" involving the torture and slaughter of Christians scapegoated for the great fire, his chief worry is that the jaded audience will grow bored. I suspect a lot of THE ROMAN is really about Waltari's take on the Nazis and perhaps Stalinist Russia, with all their bureaucratic double-talk covering the unspeakable ugliness of mass murder. One reviewer complains that THE ROMAN goes the route of QUO VADIS, with a pro-Christian slant, but I think the book is far more subtle, complex, and ambiguous than that. Beware of abridged editions (like the US paperback that was published in the 1960s). THE ROMAN is preceded by a novel about the narrator's father and his encounter with the early Christians, THE SECRET OF THE KINGDOM (which I have not read).
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excelent Read August 23, 2013
Format:Unknown Binding|Verified Purchase
I love Mika Waltari's historical novels, and "The Roman" was no exception. I also highly recommend "The Egyptian" and "The Etruscan" both of which take you back in time. The Roman takes you back to the time of Nero when Christians were thrown to the lions. The happenings in those novels corroborate history.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Waltari does it again December 18, 2012
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I simply love Mika Waltari because he does not play partisan politics with his history. His criticisms are universal and his quest is the human soul in its journey of self discovery. He offers what one might term a sort of theologia poetica.
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