978-0-340-71876-6 / 9780340718766

Nero's Heirs


Publisher:Hodder & Stoughton Ltd



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About the book:

There is no doubt that Allan Massie has incontrovertibly established himself as the master of Roman historical fiction and the heir apparent to Robert Graves. His narratives of intrigue in the Roman Empire are always totally compelling and the large readership they have acquired is no surprise whatsoever. In the new one, Nero's Heirs, set at the beginning of the year 66, the despotic Emperor Nero has committed suicide and already three of his successors are dead. The turmoil of civil war (and a nationalistic uprising in Judaea) has produced a new Emperor, Vespasian. A remarkable year is reviewed in letters by Scaurus, once the lover of both Vespasian's son and daughter. This chronicle of treachery and passion is rendered in prose of the most riveting kind, such as the depraved Nero's attempt at suicide:

"Nero picked up two daggers and tested their points. "How ugly and vulgar my life has become", he said, but still couldn't bring himself to. "I'm such a coward. Set me an example, Phaon", he said ... then he held one of the daggers against his throat and began to sob, and his secretary Epaphroditus stepped forward ..."
Scauraus is the perfect conduit for the reader into this lethal world, bringing alive for us all the murderous sexual intrigues of a fascinating era. Massie enthusiasts need not hesitate--and new readers will find this a perfect entrée to his writing. --Barry Forshaw

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