The Confessions of Young Nero - Margaret George - 03/13/2017 - 7:00pm

The Confessions of Young Nero

Community Room 301

Behind each Roman Emperor’s climb to power lie the grand ambitions and chilling machinations of those closest to him. And none match the spectacularly theatrical and fraught sequences that carried the sixteen-year-old Nero from the periphery of the royal family directly into the palace and then placed him on its throne.


New York Times bestselling author Margaret George has brought history to vivid life again with the last member of Julius Caesar’s dynasty, remolding and humanizing the boy of whom history has made a caricature. Emperor Nero, who ascended to Rome’s ultimate seat of power at sixteen, is enshrined in popular memory as a hedonist, a tyrant, and cunning executioner. But the truth behind the caricature reveals a boy, an artist, an athlete, and a ruler who was both a product of his time and his mother Agrippina’s relentless ambition. The Confessions of Nero is written like Robert Graves’s I, Claudius, in the form of an autobiography. It reveals with luminescent detail Nero’s complex talents and successes, his childhood, his rise to power, and his instinct for self-preservation which first took root on the moonlit night his insane uncle, the Emperor Caligula, tried to drown him.


Nero’s life—riddled with murders, rivalries, plots, orgies, and incest—is sensational on its own. But for George, The Confessions of Nero is not just an opportunity to tell his story. It is an attempt to rehabilitate his image, and to expose the truth and complexities about both a man—and a time period—that has been much mythologized. George spent five years researching the novel, but her idea of resetting Nero’s villainous reputation has been building for more than thirty.

Margaret George

Margaret George

Margaret George writes biographical novels about outsized historical characters: Henry VIII, Mary Queen of Scots, Cleopatra, Mary Magdalene, Helen of Troy, and Elizabeth I. Her latest, The Confessions of Young Nero, will be published in March. All six of her novels have been New York Times bestsellers and have sold over 1.5 million copies. Her novel Memoirs of Cleopatra was also made into an Emmy-nominated ABC-TV miniseries. She especially enjoys the research she has done for the novels, such as racing in an ancient Greek stadium, attending a gladiator training school in Rome, and studying the pharmacology of snake poison. She currently lives with her husband Paul in Madison, Wisconsin.


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The Confessions of Young Nero