Depraved, deluded and plainly not playing with a full deck, Nero ruled the world mostly through his imperial staff. It is the staff that the author focuses on in this, the first part of the Year of Four Emperors. Her characters include Nero’s personal secretary, the two Praetorian Prefects, the lowly messengers, the slaves and freedmen who made life possible in the palace complex. It is through their eyes and actions that we witness the downfall and overthrow of Nero. The author has given us an entertaining read full of drama and emotion and characters that are well written and who run the gamut from the lovable(Artemina) to the despicable(Sabinus); from the ostentatious, larger than life(Nero, Sporos) to the lowly slaves dwelling in the clutches of overseers and power hungry freedmen. The dialogue is crisp and quite witty, if just a tad modern at times and yet that did not dampen my enjoyment. Indeed I am looking forward to reading more of this series. 4 stars.
About the author:
After gaining a BA Hons in Ancient History LJ Trafford toured the amphitheaters of western europe before a collision with a moped in Rome left her unable to cross the road.
Which was a shame because there was some really cool stuff on the other side.
Returning to the UK somewhat battered and certainly very bruised she spent several years working as a tour guide. A perfect introduction to writing, involving as it did, the need for entertainment and a hefty amount of invention (it’s how she got tips).
She now works in London doing something whizzy with computers.
Palatine is the first in the Four Emperors series. Book Two is Galba’s Men, to be followed by Otho’s Regret and Vitellius’ Feast.
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