British ex-pat living in NC. Have more personalities than Sybil which is reflected in my choice of books! Frustrated writer at heart.
This is one of my favorite historical periods. Authentically written and an unforgettable performance.
This drama will take you back down the cobbled roads of Rome. You will drift away to a time long forgotten and observe the insane Caligula. Watch the crazed machinations of the senate balanced by the calm Claudius waiting in the wings. Often in fear however having heard a prophecy watching patiently until his time came.
I thoroughly enjoyed this marvelous volume. Doubt if I would have stuck with it if I were to read it on the written page though!
Voracious audiobook listener, reader, knitter-spinner-weaver-embroiderer. I love history and sci-fi mostly.
You know how people like to say that America is like Ancient Rome, and doomed to fall the same way? I disagree.
-I don't know of a single US First Lady who has been found to have been a serial murderer. Not even Hillary C.
-We may have had some Presidents who were massive egotists, but none of them have decided they were God (at least if they did, they didn't tell everyone while dressed up in a red wig and high heels while forcing terrified citizens to call them Venus.)
-We have never declared war on the ocean, fed senators to wild animals for entertainment, forced couples to divorce or commit suicide, or put fig trees on trial for murder.
All this and more was imposed upon this early civilization by members of ONE FAMILY. Eat your hearts out Sopranos...or more likely, have your hearts eaten.
The thing that struck me was how different this book is from the miniseries. The TV show gave you the schemes as they happened, putting you in the same room as the players and giving them lots of juicy dialog. The book, however, tells the story from the perspective of an old man narrating things that happened a long time ago while he was on the other side of Rome. As you might expect from this vantage point, the story reads like a history, has little dialogue, and generally tries to put it's speaker in a good light. It's still fascinating, though, and I'll definitely be getting "Claudius the God."
I felt that Nelson Runger did an excellent job with the material.
I, Claudius did so many things right: getting under the skin of the people of the time, bathing in the uniqueness of the time period, maintaining an honest depiction of the cultural milieu.
Though Nelson Runger has a beautiful, resonant voice, he wasn't a good choice to narrate this book. I wish I had gotten the version narrated by Derek Jacobi, who is one of the most brilliant actors of all time and I'm sure did a better job handling the language. An abridged version with a brilliant narrator is light years better than an unabridged version with the wrong narrator.
Nelson Runger doesn't distinguish between various characters. Quite often I couldn't distinguish between Claudius' narration, Claudius speaking to another character, or any other characters speaking, for that matter. As a result, I was often confused, lost my place in the narrative, and got bored. There are times when his delivery is very stilted, which is frustrating because it's not simple language -- this book needed a more versatile and skilled narrator.
Already been done.
Trust No One.
I would compare I, Claudius to A Song of Ice and Fire by George R. R. Martin. The main similarity between the two stories is the bevy of political intrigue. The lies, deceit, and murders all intersect with power hungry people.
Everything. Each character came to life, especially Claudius.
The Most Powerful Ugly Duckling (it's not a great one but it matches the story)
Avid audible listener for over 10 years.
If you like historical novels this is a good listen. The one issue is that there are so many characters to follow and the names are confusing. The timeline bounces around from past to present fairly often.
You will have to have some interest in Roman history to enjoy this book. Since it is historical, it gives you an interesting view of politics in ancient Rome. If you think things are bad in Washington D.C. are bad, you only need to hear what goes in the Roman Senate to understand how bad it used to be. The main character, Augustus, the self appointed emperor of the Roman Empire rules as a puppet to his wife, Livia. From there it goes downhill with tiberius and Caligula. When they someone stabbed you in the back, they actually mean it, you get stabbed in the back by your brother, wife, father, son, etc. If not stabbed literally, you are exiled to the far reaches of the Roman Empire. Augustus sends his own daughter into exile for being too promiscuous.
It was a rather brutal lot who ran ancient Rome so you can understand why the Roman empire collapsed
I would have given 4.5 stars if I could. This is very well-delivered history and drama, set in a deep and satisfyingly complex narrative that rewards close attention; the downside is that if you like your historical fiction to buckle some swashes, you'll be a little impatient here. As a longtime Bernard Cornwell fan, I felt that the story structure here was a little obfuscatory and that the pace was a little slow, but after the first few chapters, the intricate web of characters and plots (think G.R.R. Martin, only with more skill at the craft) began to pay off, and the novel became extremely satisfying.
The narrator was not my favorite, but neither did I have any real problem with him. His plain style compliments the dry humor and calm tone of the novel.