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323 pages, Kindle Edition
First published October 31, 1972
Perhaps we are wiser when we are young, though the philosopher would dispute with me. But I swear to you, we were friends from that moment onward; and that moment of foolish laughter was a bond stronger than anything that came between us later – victories or defeats, loyalties or betrayals, griefs or joys. But the days of youth go, and part of us goes with them, not to return.
“Father,” I asked, “has it been worth it? Your authority, this Rome that you have saved, this Rome that you have built? Has it been worth all that you have had to do?”
My father looked at me for a long time, and then he looked away. “I must believe that it has,” he said. “We both must believe that it has.”
[S]ome of the errors of fact in this book are deliberate. I have changed the order of several events; I have invented where the record is incomplete or uncertain; and I have given identities to a few characters whom history has failed to mention….With a few exceptions, the documents that constitute this novel are of my own invention…. But if there are truths in this work, they are truths of fiction rather than of history. I shall be grateful to those readers who will take it as it is intended – a work of imagination.