The Confessions of Young Nero by Margaret George is an historical fiction novel about the life of Nero beginning from infancy up to the burning of Rome. The novel is told predominantly from Nero’s point of view, but a few other characters help tell the story too. Locusta is a poisoner and third-party observant who has known Nero since he was a boy and the other is Acte who is the first woman Nero wants to marry. The novel begins with Nero’s first memories at three years old; he is living with his aunt after his uncle, Caligula, the emperor of Rome tried to kill him.
As the story progresses you are introduced to Nero’s friends, some family members, senators, prior emperors, enemies and many others. The story does a great job of chronicling Nero’s life and presenting Nero in a different light than he has been presented in previous works. The author itemizes the works she used for historical facts and information regarding Nero, his reign and what life was like in Rome during that time period.
I thought the title was intriguing the minute I saw this book on the “New Fiction Books” shelf at the library (I frequent two). I was excited to read the book as I found Nero to be one of the more interesting emperors of Rome. Overall, I found the novel captivating. There were some parts that I found a little drier than others, but those moments are not frequent enough for me to dislike the entire book. The author does a great job of presenting Nero’s life in a way that keeps the reader interested and wanting to know more. I like that it is told from Nero’s point of view and I like that she is thorough in covering Nero’s life. I have to admit that when I finished the book and before reading the Afterword, I was a little disappointed in how the book ended. However, after reading the Afterword, I’m excited and understand why the author chose the end the book in the way she did. I recommend this book to anyone who enjoys historical fiction novels, and anyone who has an interest in Nero or ancient Rome. I checked this book out from my library, but I’m thinking of buying it. You can purchase it here or here.