Book Review: Confession of Young Nero by Margaret George

Title: Confessions of Young Nero
Author: Margaret George
Publisher: Berkley
Release Date: March 7, 2017
Pages: 528
Source: Publisher
Format: eARC
Age Group: Adult
Genre: Historical Fiction

           

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.
One of the reading goals that I made this year, was to step out of my reading comfort zone, so that I could experience new book genres that I have been wanting to try, or have been to scared to try.

Historical fiction is a genre that falls into both of the aforementioned categories, so when I saw this novel up for grabs, I jumped on the chance to broaden my reading horizons.

My goodness! I am so glad that I did, as Confessions of Young Nero was stunning.

I have to be honest that I was crazy intimidated by this book. I mean, I'm a newbie to historical fiction, and this baby is over 500 pages! I began to second guess my decision immediately!

So I made a plan. I convinced myself that if I just read 10% of the book each day that it would take me 10 days to read it, and that would be manageable. Well that never occurred. I ended up reading maybe 5% a day so it took me about a month to read the book. This means of course that I did not read it every day, and that I was reading other books as well.

Having got all that out of the way! I can tell you that I loved this novel. I was surprised by how easy it was to read and how engaging it was. I never felt bored or like I didn't understand what was happening in the story. The story was written in such a dynamic way, that each time I picked it up to read, I was immediately drawn in and immersed within the story.  It was just that compelling.

Margaret George is simply a master of her craft. Of course I had never heard of her before, but now I want to get my hands on all her other historical fiction novels. I've also perused other reviews, and it seems that most everyone is in agreement that she is simply one hell of an amazing writer of historical fiction.

Based on the synopsis of the book, you already know that this is the story of Nero. What you may not know is that it is told through Nero's own POV, just as if he were sitting across from you in your living room, telling you his life story.

The political intrigue in this book is like none I have ever read before, probably because it recounts actual history.  The Romans are, quite frankly, insane. People are accused of all manner of bazaar things and die left and right. This book was one hell of a ride.

If you love historical fiction, read this book.

If you love Margaret George, buy this book.

If you just love great novels, buy this book!

Simply bravissima!

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