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Augustus | [John Williams]

Augustus

A mere 18 years of age when his uncle, Julius Caesar, is murdered, Octavius Caesar prematurely inherits rule of the Roman Republic. Surrounded by men who are jockeying for power—Cicero, Brutus, Cassius, and Mark Antony—young Octavius must work against the powerful Roman political machinations to claim his destiny as first Roman emperor. Sprung from meticulous research and the pen of a true poet, Augustus tells the story of one man’s dream to liberate a corrupt Rome.
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Publisher's Summary

A brilliant and beautifully written novel in the tradition of Robert Graves’ I, Claudius, Augustus is a sweeping narrative that brings vividly to life a compelling cast of historical figures through their letters, dispatches, and memoirs.

A mere 18 years of age when his uncle, Julius Caesar, is murdered, Octavius Caesar prematurely inherits rule of the Roman Republic. Surrounded by men who are jockeying for power—Cicero, Brutus, Cassius, and Mark Antony—young Octavius must work against the powerful Roman political machinations to claim his destiny as first Roman emperor.

Sprung from meticulous research and the pen of a true poet, Augustus tells the story of one man’s dream to liberate a corrupt Rome from the fancy of the capriciously crooked and the wildly wealthy.

©1972 John Williams; 1995 by Nancy Williams (P)2011 Blackstone Audio, Inc.

What the Critics Say

Augustus is a masterpiece.” (Los Angeles Times)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

3.9 (71 )
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4.1 (57 )
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3.9 (56 )
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Performance
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  •  
    Darwin8u Mesa, AZ, United States 05-16-15
    Darwin8u Mesa, AZ, United States 05-16-15

    "... there are times when silence is a poem." - John Fowles, the Magus ^(;,;)^

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "The son of Caesar calls to you."

    “One does not deceive oneself about the consequences of one's acts; one deceives oneself about the ease with which one can live with those consequences.”
    ― John Williams, Augustus

    John Williams read some Robert Graves and said, "Yeah, I got this Roman. I can do this." I'm trying to think of equivalent historical fiction that orbits the same level of prose mastery: Norman Mailer, Robert Graves, Hilary Mantel, E. L. Doctorow and a few others belong on this very short list.

    There are some writers (like Pynchon, etc) who seem to find their groove and mine that style/approach for all it is worth. Others like Williams just appear to get bored with one style, form, or approach to literature. They want to master all. John Williams who is also known for his college novel Stoner and his Western Butcher's Crossing decided to give writing an epistolary, historical novel a try. What he created is one of the greatest historical novels of all time. Probably not as good as Robert Graves (or dare I say Hilary Mantel), but damn close.

    14 of 18 people found this review helpful
  •  
    mtparis 11-21-14
    mtparis 11-21-14
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "poor reader"
    How did the narrator detract from the book?

    This reviewer is hard to listen to. He has a dour reading style in this book and the other I've listened to, Stoner. His reading is replete with distracting mannerisms, such as his affected snicker. His characters are so pat that they seem to return from past books to the current ones. Others may like his style, but he makes all the writing seem flat and negative; and he distracts from the story at hand.


    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Naftaly Edison, NJ, United States 06-12-14
    Naftaly Edison, NJ, United States 06-12-14 Member Since 2015
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    "Excellent book, weak reading"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    This is one of the best Historical fiction I have ever read


    What did you like best about this story?

    Great writing, and its organization as a set of letters is brilliant.


    What about Robin Field’s performance did you like?

    He is trying to change his diction for the various narrators.And it sounds terrible, particularly when narrating women.
    YOu should get a different narror for this wonderful book.


    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    chris millynn orange nsw Australia 06-02-15
    chris millynn orange nsw Australia 06-02-15 Member Since 2015
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    "Wanted to finish, but the narration...."
    Would you try another book from John Williams and/or Robin Field?

    Robin Field - No! His attempt at voice acting was terrible, with the majority a minor variation of feminine pubescent boy voices. Unbearable. I tried twice to finish because the book itself is interesting but it just left me angry both times. Drop the voice acting.


    How did the narrator detract from the book?

    Feminine voice acting.


    You didn’t love this book... but did it have any redeeming qualities?

    Read the book.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Caroline 11-30-13
    Caroline 11-30-13
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    "Wonderful multi-narrator technique"

    This is beautifully written and narrated. Friends, advisors, daughter, enemies buld up layers of history and character as you wonder what Augustus himself thinks. Highly recommended.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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  • Tamas Lorincz
    Dubai, UAE
    5/11/15
    Overall
    Performance
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    "It was OK."

    This is a book written in 1971 - and it shows. It would probably have been better read than listened to. I personally find letters and diary entries a rather tedious way of telling a story (there are some great exceptions, of course). Bringing in a new character writing about something no one would have written about is now way to deliver a story convincingly. I did grow on me, however and I quite enjoyed the second half of the book. This is mostly due to my fascination with the era and the characters rather than the book or the performance.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful

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