The Confessions of a Young Nero by Margaret George

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“Let them call me cruel. Better that than dead.”

I have had a strong desire to know more about Rome’s emperors and history ever since I read Captivity in January, for not only am I entranced by all things Italian, I like to have a reference point for the New Testament. (Which I read regularly.)

Margaret George is a new author to me. I have not read any of her previous novels: Elizabeth 1; Helen of Troy; Mary, Called Magdalene; The Memoirs of Cleopatra; Mary Queen of Scotland and the Isles; The Autobiography of Henry VIII. But, in reading The Confessions of a Young Nero, I find her research to be as exhaustive as I could imagine it to be.

She paints a portrait of Nero which is compassionate and sympathetic to what must have been a truly anxious life. From the very first chapter, his uncle (Caligula) attempts to murder him by throwing him overboard at the age of three. His mother, Agrippina, is no better. She is a manipulative, conceited woman whose allegiance lies with whomever can give her the most power. It is a wonder Nero grew up to be emperor at all, with such attempts on his life and enemies within his own family.

We catch a glimpse of his sorrows and disappointments, his life and achievements, his hunger for music and affection through Margaret George’s eyes. The novel is easy to read, filled with historical research, and fascinating in its portrayal of Nero’s life.

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3 thoughts on “The Confessions of a Young Nero by Margaret George”

  1. Sounds fascinating. I am horrible with historical references and facts. I really need to brush up on history in general. I guess when I was younger I learned what I needed to know but this stuff is fascinating!

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  2. Historical fiction is not among my most favorite genres, and yet I have picked up two on ancient Rome since January. Both have been quite interesting; Captivity was especially well done. This book was filled with action, and historical fact, but lacked a certain lyricism that the first book had.

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  3. Like you, I have contrasted my reading of Captivity (which I believe was outstanding in scope and detail) with …young Nero. Nero comes off “light”

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