The books makes a fine sequel to "I, Claudius," which I've already reviewed as being excellent. If you enjoyed that book, then you will obviously enjoy this fine piece of historical fiction.
This is a fictional autobiography of Claudius, fourth emperor of the Roman Empire. It is a narration of those events which transpired after Claudius became emperor. He has survived the reigns of the expedient Augustus, the perverse Tiberius, and the insane Caligula, where few others in his line have. But how long can he survive his wives?
Claudius is a sympathetic emperor and the narrator is entirely believable as Claudius himself. Attached to the end of this audiobook are readings from translations of Suetonius, Tacitus, and Cassius Dio regarding the death of Claudius as well as all that remains of Seneca's Apocolocyntosis. The translations are somewhat stilted but provide an interesting contrast between Graves' depiction of Claudius and those of the Roman Senators.
Exciting! Impossible to put down! Stuart MacBride (whom I've never read before) is at the top with other European crime authors. The narration is also fine. You'll not be disappointed!
The four books that comprise this series, "1974", "1977," "1980," and "1983," are some of the best works of crime fiction I've read. They're "gritty," incredibly emotional, quite often brutal, but absolutely stellar works of literature. They follow a series of crimes which occur in Yorkshire during the 70s and the effects it has not just on the victims, but survivors, police, journalists, and others.
Don't make the mistake of purchasing these books if you're looking for an Agatha Christie "cozy." Don't buy them if you have difficulty with excessive profanity. The sex is often ugly and the violence truly horrifying, which is probably very close to the realities of prostitution, corruption, and serial murder. Expect to be hit over the head with it.
I am not normally a science-fiction reader, though I've liked a few in the past and tried this book on a whim. I ended up becoming engrossed in the novel and the subsequent parts of the trilogy. The story is thrilling and the depth of Hamilton's characters kept me listening every chance I could. I was honestly sad to leave them all at the end of the story.
John Lee is the perfect reader for this and Hamilton's Commonwealth Trilogy. The characters seem to come alive even more through his very attractive accent and precise diction. Consequently, the production was excellent.
This is a fast-paced, addictive story with great characters. I don't think I've read anything with such an utterly evil and frightening an antagonist. The reader is perfect for this book and brings the characters easily to life. Highly, highly recommended.
This book is a superb read if you enjoy historical fiction. It's also excellent if you enjoy biography/autobiography so long as you don't take the subject matter as entirely accurate. It's written as "autobiography" of Claudius, fourth emperor of the Roman Empire. Though the book (and it's sequel, Claudius the God) finds it's foundation in the Roman biographies of Suetonius and Tacitus, much effort has been made by Graves to cast Claudius in as favorable a light as possible. To this end, Claudius is a sympathetic and intelligent character whose base neglect by the earlier Caesars is only to the detriment of the empire.
This book carries the life of Claudius from the political intrigues before his birth up until his comical accession as emperor. Graves' second book, Claudius the God, carries the story practically up to Claudius' death.
The reader is excellent and his voice along with the text allows you to lapse into thinking that you are listening to Claudius himself.
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