THE CONFESSIONS OF YOUNG NERO
by Margaret George
On Sale: March 7, 2016
THE CONFESSIONS OF YOUNG NERO takes readers through the early life of Rome’s infamous Nero. Through the machinations of his mother, Agrippina the Younger, Nero became emperor at the age of sixteen, the last of the Julio-Claudian dynasty. But the road was a frightening one. The young boy, an intelligent, sensitive and watchful child, had a series of psychological shocks from an early age. His cruel uncle Caligula and his scheming cousin Messalina threatened his life, and his domineering and ambitious mother Agrippina married and poisoned two men en route to securing the throne for her son. Agrippina viewed Nero’s power as an extension of her own will. But once on the throne—like the teenage boy he was—Nero did not want to take orders from his mother. Soon the world was not big enough for the two of them. Thereafter he was remembered as a hedonist and tyrant who “fiddled” while his people burned. But the truth behind the caricature, revealed here, shows Nero to be instead a product of his mother’s relentless ambition, and the incest, violence, luxury, and intrigue that have gripped Rome’s seat of power for generations.
Chapter IThis is not the first time I have been imprisoned. So I am hopeful that this is a sham and that the new emperor Galba will soon need my unique services and quietly send for me and once again I shall be treading in the palace halls. I feel at home there and why shouldn't I? I have provided my timely services for those in power for many years.
By trade I am a poisoner. There, why not say it? And not any old poisoner, but the acknowledged expert and leader in my profession. So many others want to be another Locusta, another me. So I founded an academy to pass on my knowledge and train the next generation, for Rome will always be in need of poisoners. I should lament that, should say what a pity that Rome must descend to that, but that would be hypocritical of me. Besides, I am not convinced that poison is not the best way to die. Think of all the other ways Rome kills people: being torn by beasts in the arena, being strangled in the Tullianum prison, and most insipid of all, being ordered to open your veins and bleed yourself to death, like a sacrificial animal. Bah. Give me a good poison anytime. Did not Cleopatra embrace the asp and its poison, leaving her beautiful and stretched out upon her couch?
I first met the late emperor Nero when he was still a child, still Lucius Domitius Ahenobarbus, the name he was born with. I saw him at the low point in his life, when he was an abandoned child at the mercy of his uncle Caligula. (Now that was someone who gave me a lively string of business!) His father was dead, his mother Agrippina had been banished when he was not even three years old, and his uncle liked to toy with him.
I remember he was a likeable child---well, he remained likeable all his life, it was a gift---but timorous. Many things frightened him, especially loud noises and being sent for unexpectedly. Caligula had a habit of that---sending for people in the middle of the night. He once forced me to watch a nocturnal theatrical performance in the palace, featuring himself as Jupiter. Sometimes it was harmless, like the play-acting, other times it ended with the death of the helpless person he had sent for. So, Nero---let us call him that to avoid confusion, just as I call Caligula Caligula rather than Gaius Caesar Germanicus---was precocious in recognizing the danger of the serpent in his uncle.
Ah, such memories! Here in my cell I find myself returning to them, helping the hours to pass, until that moment when Galba sends for me with a task. I know he will!<.p>
The rule of Emperor Nero will forever live in infamy. But what of the life of the young boy who would become the man? What of the young Lucius Domitius Ahenobarbus? What of the boy before?
These are all questions that are both asked and answered in the epic Historical Fiction work, Confessions Of A Young Nero, by Margaret George.
Ms. George brings an unparalleled degree of storytelling magic to the history unfolding here.
Effortlessly, blending fact and fiction into a compulsively readable personal account of a remarkably complex existence.
Told in varied voices, and in various points of view. The story of young Lucius is one of a young man trying to find his way amid the danger, plots, and scheming of the royals. As a distant relation to both Emperor Caligula and Emperor Claudius. Lucius is often part of a treacherous world that he struggles to understand.
Chronicling his life from the age of 3, to some ten years into his reign. This story is to be continued in another volume. Ending in quite the cliffhanger after a hefty 500+ pages.
You will note that this review purposely steers clear of detailing happenings within this epic. The reason for this being.
If one were to attempt to do so; we as both reader and writer would quite possibly be here all day. There is so much going on, both in the lives of young Lucius and those around him. There is barely time for one to breathe between dramas.
It can be said however, that in the land of villains and heroes; no character stands out more than that of Agrippina, Lucius' power hungry mother. There is truly no length to which this woman does not go in order to see her son to the throne. Putting herself in power by extensions. More fascinating still, is the twisted personal relationship which the two shared, and the way that Lucius' relationship with his mother than colored his relationships with all who entered his life.
Confessions Of A Young Nero is a tale that this reviewer would recommend both on the basis of the story, and its author.
This is timeless story of how power, greed, passion, and pride...made history!
A story that has been told many times. But one that can only now be experienced!
Margaret George is the author of the bestselling Autobiography of Henry VIII; Mary, Queen of Scotland and the Isles; The Memoirs of Cleopatra; and Mary, Called Magdalene.