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The Confessions of Young Nero Hardcover – Deckle Edge, March 7, 2017
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“George’s reconstruction of the man, in terms both of his public life and private character, is more than a revisiting of fact: It’s a subtle exploration of identity and the insidious effects of power...‘Confessions’ is all about identity: How is it made, lost, reinvented?...Margaret George occupies that blurry space between history and fiction. And between Tacitus and Margaret George, I rather think it’s George’s account that is not only most sympathetic but most truthful.”—Diana Gabaldon, Washington Post
“Margaret George has performed about the most audacious act imaginable for a historical novelist—an epic work of fiction not merely sympathetic to Nero, but told largely in his own voice. I applaud. And so, I imagine, does that connoisseur of the arts Nero, watching from Elysium.”—Steven Saylor, author of Roma: The Novel of Ancient Rome
“[George] brilliantly recreates past eras and bygone civilizations.”—Sharon Kay Penman, author of A King’s Ransom
“A wonderful novel, from the riveting first scene to the breathtaking finale.” —Jennifer Chiaverini, New York Times bestselling author of Fates and Traitors and Mrs. Lincoln’s Dressmaker
“Wow! Margaret George—the reigning queen of historical fiction—is back with this epic saga that vividly re-imagines the life of young Nero in all its operatic, dramatic glory.”—Stephanie Dray, New York Times bestselling author of Lily of the Nile
"Margaret George has an incredible talent in that she can stand in the shoes of her protagonist and speak in his or her voice.”—Barbara Taylor Bradford, author of The Cavendon Luck and A Woman Of Substance
About the Author
- Publisher : Berkley; First Edition (March 7, 2017)
- Language : English
- Hardcover : 528 pages
- ISBN-10 : 0451473388
- ISBN-13 : 978-0451473387
- Item Weight : 1.65 pounds
- Dimensions : 6.38 x 1.5 x 9.25 inches
- Best Sellers Rank: #306,463 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
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Top reviews from the United States
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I don't think it's a spoiler to point out that this is the first volume in a two-part fictional biography of Nero -- I can't wait to read the second part!
I save 5-star ratings only for books that I did not want to put down and for those that I would want to read again; hence, the 4-star rating here. It was interesting and entertaining, especially if you enjoy this period in time because of all the descriptions and background information that was given.
I am happy to say that Ms, George has done it again, giving us a "revised standard" version of this Roman Emperor. Revised because it shows the human side of the young boy growing up in the shadowed and sheltered Imperial family. A lot off the things he was accused of were actually done by so-called advisors or family members. This is a must read that you will find interesting and it will shed light on a much maligned ruler of the Roman Empire. I'm giving four stars because I want to read the next book which will complete this story. Then give my final ratings
Top reviews from other countries
It has a broad sweeping romantic first person narrative and covers from Nero’s birth to the fires in Rome. Stunning prose, beautifully paced and a total page turner.
Now the bad news : If you know anything at all about Nero you will know the horrors he committed. The murders, plotting, poisoning, genocide, wars and egotistical insanity of total privilege and unlimited power that corrupted the young man ending in tragedy and farce. Turns out the author thinks we are wrong and he in reality was like King Lear ‘more sinned against than sinning’. The author’s rewriting of history makes Nero a totally reasonable, kind, generous and artistic soul surrounded on all sides by the worst villains imaginable. Despite being (according to the Book of Revelations) the literal Anti-Christ somehow every murder, wicked deed, divorce, excess is always blamed on someone else. In this book Nero is always the unwitting victim. Knee deep in other people’s violence and scheming I kept hoping that it would all add up to a moment when he snapped and turned to the dark side and the real fun could begin but, alas, it never comes.
The Nero here is always blameless, thoughtful and by some twist of fate is never responsible for any of the horrors or dead bodies that pile up around him.
I wanted to love this book so much because there’s so many wonderful things to immerse yourself in. But by the end you feel like you are watching a documentary about Darth Vader where it turns out he’s a sensitive compassionate folk musician and every wicked deed attributed to him is actually wrongly reported and ALWAYS someone else’s fault. It’s been a while since I’ve been so richly satisfied and so frustrated by a book. Beautifully composed, passionately realised and meticulously researched - but ultimately deeply flawed.
This is a masterwork from Margaret George, and is engaging right from the off. Beautiful prose combines with her solid research brings the "real" Nero to life and allows us to meet the man behind the myth.
Read it and enjoy it.