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The Confessions of Young Nero

von Margaret George

Reihen: Nero Series (1)

MitgliederRezensionenBeliebtheitDurchschnittliche BewertungDiskussionen
2522683,887 (3.87)9
"New York Times bestselling author Margaret George has brought history to vivid life with her chronicles of queens and kings. Now, she turns her gaze to an Emperor ... Built on the backs of those who fell before it, Julius Caesar's imperial dynasty is only as strong as the next person who seeks to control it. In the Roman Empire no one is safe from the sting of betrayal: man, woman--or child. As a boy, Nero's royal heritage becomes a threat to his very life, first when the mad emperor Caligula tries to drown him, then when his great aunt attempts to secure her own son's inheritance. Faced with shocking acts of treachery, young Nero is dealt a harsh lesson: it is better to be cruel than dead. While Nero idealizes the artistic and athletic principles of Greece, his very survival rests on his ability to navigate the sea of vipers that is Rome. The most lethal of all is his own mother, a cold-blooded woman whose singular goal is to control the empire. With cunning and poison, the obstacles fall one by one. But as Agrippina's machinations earn her son a title he is both tempted and terrified to assume, Nero's determination to escape her thrall will shape him into the man he was fated to become--an Emperor who became legendary. With impeccable research and captivating prose, The Confessions of Young Nero is the story of a boy's ruthless ascension to the throne. Detailing his journey from innocent youth to infamous ruler, it is an epic tale of the lengths to which man will go in the ultimate quest for power and survival"--… (mehr)
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First Review: This was a really well written book, and I can’t wait to read more of Margaret George’s work in the future. There were two things, above all else, that I really liked about this book: (1) I, on several occasions, was left feeling uncomfortable, which is something you don’t always get in books, and (2) much of this book got me thinking about what I would do in those same situations (since many of us are so quick to say something along the lines of “Well, I wouldn’t do that”).
However, I did end up giving this book only four stars due to George’s statements in the afterward; it felt like she was dismissing all of the terrible and horrific things that Nero did as emperor simply because he was brought up by a terrible mother and wanted/needed to get away from her. While I do sympathize with Nero in the sense that he had an overly controlling and cruel mother, that in no way excuses his actions as emperor.
Second Review: So upon reading this book for a second time, I have lowered my rating by 1.5 stars (from a 4/5 stars to a 2.5/5 stars. This is only because upon my reread, it was still feeling - even more so than my first read - that George was trying to excuse Nero’s actions because he grew up around terrible people who just tried to kill him or someone he loved. Yes, he was an artist, but that doesn’t change what he did. I really liked where George was trying to go with the storyline, though. ( )
  historybookreads | Jul 26, 2021 |
It was ok

Points for being very close to the actual history but the second half of the book dragged for me. There were also random shifting viewpoints that seemed unnecessary. ( )
  artdamnit_reads | Jul 29, 2020 |
Historical fiction is a very popular genre that comes in many forms. Perhaps the most difficult to pull off for an author is the straight fictionalisation of historical events or an historical life with no added frills or speculations. This is what Margaret George gives us with this ‘life’ of Nero.

The book is a re-telling of the life of Nero from being a small boy through to the burning of Rome. It is told mostly (excluding some short asides and comments from other characters) in the voice of Nero himself, as if this were a diary or journal. If course, no such document exists.

The historical environment is well-researched, detailed and believable. The geography, the culture, the politics and the every day activities of the characters all feel grounded in reality. George eschews the standard take on Nero and delves deep into his character to understand what made him the Emperor he eventually became.

As a child and adolescent Nero is dominated by his mother. He lives in a world where few can be trusted. And where unspeakable acts for political gain are the norm. As Nero grows up and becomes Emperor we see that he wants to be a diligent, hard working and essentially humane ruler. Through the course of the book we see him slowly, bit by bit, fall into the patterns of intrigue and evil that he initially despised. It is clear that the end of the book, with Nero returning to a burning Rome, represents a pivotal moment in his life where he will turn to either darkness or light, and it is the strength of George’s writing that we are not certain which path he will take.

As a life told in fiction this is very good. ( )
  pierthinker | Dec 31, 2018 |
I was chosen by Netgalley to receive an advanced reader copy of “The Confessions of Young Nero” by Margaret George. Given that fact, it has not altered my opinion on the book at all. “The Confessions of Young Nero” has a scheduled release date of March 7th 2017.

I requested "The Confessions of Young Nero" because Margaret George is a recognizable author for me. Although I've never read one of her books prior, I have another one of her lovely novels residing on my shelves begging to be read. Another reason I was hoping to be picked was because the historical fiction genre has quickly become one of my go-to genres.

George takes the reader back to a time where the Trojan War was more a reality than a story, The Odyssey served as inspiration rather than a reading requirement, and where plots and schemes dominated the political world. A person could be born and raised in their family's greatness, and the next day be poisoned; more fodder for the political gain cannon. Not everyone starts with a chip on their shoulder- some have humble beginnings.

Nero- originally Lucius- started life not knowing his parents. His father dead, and his mother banished under Caligula's rule, Nero grew up with the only family he knew; his Aunt and tutors. With a child's innocence, Nero is blissfully unaware of his family's schemes and tragedies. Unfortunately for Nero, both will follow him throughout his life.

In part one (of a two part book) George delves deep into the history of Rome, following the rise and fall of emperor's, attempted murders, poison masters, and the introductory of Greek activities in a Roman world. You have to REALLY enjoy history to make it through this book. I'm not a history fanatic, so at times I did think this book was just a tad dry. But as usual, I enjoy being lost in the environment of a book. Although this book has a in between rating for me, I definitely will pick up the second book to finish the story. ( )
  mspoet569 | Aug 18, 2018 |
Because Nero is a minor character in one of my books and plays a more impactful role in the upcoming sequel, I was curious to see how George would handle this fascinating and controversial figure. The time period she writes about is considered by some historians Nero's "sane" period (even though it included his infamous murder of his mother). His early life, especially under the influence of the philosopher Seneca and other older mentors, showed much promise. As he grew older and more independent, his choice of companions grew more reckless and his actions less excusable.

George, in her "Afterword," says she is trying to reclaim history for this very misunderstood ruler. In this first volume, I think she succeeded. She does an excellent job of showing the context and trauma of a child tossed in turbulent times, the angst of an artist forced into the role of strong ruler, the hurt of personal betrayals and losses, and the headiness that comes with absolute rule. These can all lead to the aberrations that we see in Nero's later years. Nero did much that was worthy in these times as a generous and compassionate ruler (to ordinary citizens-his relatives, not so much), dedicated artist, and innovative city planner. It will be interesting to see how George follows through in her next volume when Nero's life begins to run off the rails.

Given all this, why only three stars? I generally liked the book. I found the history fascinating, writing lyrical, and descriptions lush; but the story languorous. It moved too slow for me. (People who follow my reviews know I have a preference for fast-paced fiction, so if you're tolerant of slow-moving plots, add a star). I have some sympathy for those who indicated in their reviews that they didn't finish the book. When I had only forty pages left, I stayed up late to complete the book, but found myself nodding off, then skimming because nothing happened in those pages until the last couple. If I hadn't been so compelled by the history, I'd have given it two stars. ( )
  MarysGirl | Aug 16, 2018 |
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"New York Times bestselling author Margaret George has brought history to vivid life with her chronicles of queens and kings. Now, she turns her gaze to an Emperor ... Built on the backs of those who fell before it, Julius Caesar's imperial dynasty is only as strong as the next person who seeks to control it. In the Roman Empire no one is safe from the sting of betrayal: man, woman--or child. As a boy, Nero's royal heritage becomes a threat to his very life, first when the mad emperor Caligula tries to drown him, then when his great aunt attempts to secure her own son's inheritance. Faced with shocking acts of treachery, young Nero is dealt a harsh lesson: it is better to be cruel than dead. While Nero idealizes the artistic and athletic principles of Greece, his very survival rests on his ability to navigate the sea of vipers that is Rome. The most lethal of all is his own mother, a cold-blooded woman whose singular goal is to control the empire. With cunning and poison, the obstacles fall one by one. But as Agrippina's machinations earn her son a title he is both tempted and terrified to assume, Nero's determination to escape her thrall will shape him into the man he was fated to become--an Emperor who became legendary. With impeccable research and captivating prose, The Confessions of Young Nero is the story of a boy's ruthless ascension to the throne. Detailing his journey from innocent youth to infamous ruler, it is an epic tale of the lengths to which man will go in the ultimate quest for power and survival"--

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