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Quo Vadis, a Narrative of the Time of Nero Hardcover – 1925

4.4 out of 5 stars 237 customer reviews

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Hardcover, 1925
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 422 pages
  • Publisher: Grosset & Dunlap; 4th edition (1925)
  • ASIN: B000L2TG0C
  • Product Dimensions: 8.1 x 5.6 x 1.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (237 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,634,418 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
The Christian v. lion's story has been around so long that it has pretty much become a kind of myth. It is a phrase one brings up in order to illustrate some point or other, but is hardly ever thought about in historical terms. In fact, Christianity itself sometimes seems as if it is becoming a kind of myth. The left doesn't take it seriously, and bashes Christians for being intolerant and condescending. But Christians, in their haste to retaliate, often act intolerant and can be arrogantly condescending. The sense of what it means to be Christian seems to get lost in all of this.

Quo Vadis takes us back to the days when Christianity was fresh and new and shows us just what kind of world it was then that caused such a movement to flourish. This alone would make it an excellent novel, but it works wonderfully on all levels. The characters are superbly drawn, the setting is realistic, the plot crackles along, and, perhaps most importantly in a novel with this subject matter, it never becomes preachy or didactic, instead maintaining an objective perspective throughout.

Rome was the greatest of the ancient empires, yet despite all of its glorious achievements, it was truly a barbaric place. The concept of human rights was non-existent. Slaves--of all races--were property, and could be used in any way one saw fit, including the most vicious or depraved. The rule of law, while discussed in philosophical terms, was only sporadically and occasionally applied. The law instead came and went at the whim of the powerful, and if the powerful happened to be someone like Nero--the ruler of Rome during the course of this novel--then the law was sadistic, cruel, wicked and unpredictable.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Shame that this Nobel Prize winning author isn't better known in the English speaking world. Sienkiewicz won the Nobel Prize for his epic writing, Quo Vadis being his best know work. This is a magnificent novel. I love its strong plot, heroism, and visualization of the Roman period. Truly one of the classics of literature. No need to take my word for it, just consider the Nobel Prize committee's enthusiasm.

Kindle 2 formatting is good. No Table of Contents or jogability.
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Format: Paperback
"Quo Vadis" is the kind of novel one simply must include on his shelf. For those who don't believe me, it won the Nobel Prize--and actually deserved it. In my experience, lots of books, although unworthy of receiving even a single positive review, have gotten awards. But the main reason you should read this splendid novel is because of its wonderful storytelling, compelling plot, beautiful imagery, and great characters. To boot, it wasn't very difficult to comprehend, even though it was written more than a century ago. Despite the fact that I cannot understand a shred of Polish, I know that Kuniczak's translation is an absolutely superb one, and that both he and Sienkiewicz are first-rate novelists.

What I particularly loved about "Quo Vadis" was Sienkiewicz's wonderful attention to detail and imagery. His writing style was so lyrical, poetic, and sense-evocative, I could clearly visualize what he was describing, and for the first time ever, I felt like I was actually *seeing* everything: the wild, drunken orgies of Nero's debauched reign, the city of Rome burning, the coliseum packed with rowdy citizens and sweaty gladiators. People enjoy reading books that provide a vivid visual picture of the setting; I know I do. It is also very evident that Sienkiewicz did his homework and researched extensively for this historical novel.

The characters are what drive the plot--and they certainly do that in "Quo Vadis." I found myself liking a few characters and hating several others. And it is interesting, because when I realized that this novel was about Christians in Rome during Nero's time, I had expected Sienkiewicz to have portrayed each Christian as a kindly saint and all the Romans as decadent louts.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is a book that took me about 50 pages or so to get completely hooked. After adjusting to the fine translation and getting accustomed to the way in which Sienkiewicz peppers his prose with latin phrases I found myself truly absorbed in the story and the characters. Nothing I've read has captured the clash of cultures that Rome and early Christianity represented as well as this book does. The decadence of Nero's Rome and court compared with the simplicity of the early Christian community in Rome that is being visited by both St. Peter and St. Paul is contrasted in such dramatic fashion that it is hard to put this down.

The characters are realistically drawn and you can feel the disgust with Nero expressed in private by those near him and sense the declining civilization of Rome in all of it's aspects. No historical novel that I've read comes close in bringing the sights and sounds and smells of the ancient capitol to life as this one does.

The underlying love story between a captured Princess who is a committed convert to Christ and a Roman centurian who is exposed to the Christian teaching through his obsessive love of her and consequent exposure to the teachings of the early church is a remarkably effective literary device that brings these contrasting world views into sharp relief.

The burning of Rome by the deranged Emperor is so vividly described that you can smell the smoke.

Truly a fabulous historical novel, Quo Vadis is a book I will read again and feel comfortable giving it my highest recommendation.
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