Thursday 30 June 2016

Book Review: I, Claudius by Robert Graves

Title: I, Claudius
Author: Robert Graves
Publisher: Penguin
Publication Date: 2011 (1934)
Pages: 396
Format: Paperback
Genre: Modern Classics/Historical Fiction
Source: Bought Copy

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From the Autobiography of Tiberius Claudius, Born 10 B.C., Murdered and Deified A.D. 54.

Set in the first century A.D. in Rome and written as an autobiographical memoir, this colorful story of the life of the Roman emperor Claudius stands as one of the modern classics of historical fiction.

Physically weak and afflicted with stuttering, Claudius is initially despised and dismissed as an idiot. Shunted to the background of imperial affairs by his embarrassed royal family, he becomes a scholar and historian, while palace intrigues and murders surround him. Observing these dramas from beyond the public eye, Claudius escapes the cruelties inflicted on the rest of the royal family by its own members and survives to become emperor of Rome in A.D. 41.
(Goodreads Synopsis)

I, Claudius is one of those books that frequently appears on lists of books to read before you die etc., so I thought it was about time I got around to it. Overall, I found it highly enjoyable. It took me a few chapters to get into the story, but once I did I was hooked. I loved the autobiographical style, offering a snapshot of family life in the upper echelons of Roman society, and Claudius present an intrigue and sympathetic figure. I will certainly consider reading the second part in the future. Recommended for lovers of historical fiction and those interested in Ancient Rome/Roman emperors.

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