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The Confessions of Young Nero

(Nero #1)

3.90  ·  Rating details ·  2,566 ratings  ·  478 reviews
The New York Times bestselling and legendary author of Helen of Troy and Elizabeth I now turns her gaze on Emperor Nero, one of the most notorious and misunderstood figures in history.

Built on the backs of those who fell before it, Julius Caesar's imperial dynasty is only as strong as the next person who seeks to control it. In the Roman Empire no one is safe from the
Hardcover, 514 pages
Published March 7th 2017 by Berkley Books
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Edward Cullen is Bae This is a two book series because it was too long to be put into one book.…moreThis is a two book series because it was too long to be put into one book. (less)
Scott Wilson It is written in the first person from Nero's point of view.

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Heidi The Reader
Margaret George has done it again and produced yet another triumph of historical fiction. This one follows the much maligned Nero from his humble beginnings in a lower branch of the imperial family tree to the prize itself, Roman emperor. Then, it ends on an epic cliff hanger, but I forgive her because it is so awesome. If you can't handle that kind of wait, you may want to hold off on reading this until the next installment is out.

All I knew about Nero (before this book) was that he "fiddled
Mar 21, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
When I was young, I discovered Margaret George and devoured her historical novels. It has been quite a long time since I read anything by her, but she has kept to a similar formula taking a historical character and then writing their life, usually from the first person perspective. Often the people she writes about have stories that are very well known, but she incorporates such detail in the re-telling, that you really do have the sensation of a life lived. Obviously, this is fiction and ...more
Jun 19, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Ive started to delve into more historical fiction this year and after a kind recommendation of various books to try, it was this novel about Neros early life that grabbed my attention.

Why him? Pretty much all of my knowledge on ancient history comes from early Doctor Who, when the remit of the show was to be educational for the younger audience, The First Doctor met Nero during the great fire of Rome.
Its one of my favourite stories from that era. Doctor Who: The Romans

With this book covering
Nov 01, 2019 rated it really liked it
This was quite a different look at the Emperor Nero, a man who has gone down in history as a tyrant, a deviant, an aberrant man who lusted both for power and the things he felt he was entitled to without a thought of the people he ruled.

We are given the background of Nero and his relationship to his mother, a woman who would stop at nothing to achieve the power she so desired. She was a woman who had no problem with doing away with those she believed stood in her path and that included her son
Apr 16, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Margaret George excels in her autobiographical approach to the much-maligned emperor, Nero, of whom such sordid accusations have been made, it's almost impossible to extract truth from fiction. With few unbiased sources of research, as Nero's name was blackened thoroughly by his successors after his demise, she recreates with sympathy and wit the uncertain boy dominated by the ambitions of his lethal mother, his dangerous interactions with the elite of Rome, his yearning to become an ...more
Amy Bruno
Readers of this blog are well-aware of my love for author Margaret George, so it should come as no surprise that I'm ending my reviewing hiatus just to share my love for her latest novel, The Confessions of Young Nero.

Ms. George is the author who drew me into the Historical Fiction genre when I picked up Mary, Queen of Scots and the Isles years ago and she continues to slay me with her amazing writing and fascinating historical characters. I love the way she chooses figures from history that
This book = THE ME IM TRYNA BE IN 2017.

Guys, I have a huge favor to ask you. Putnam asked me to review this book way back a few months ago, and now I finally got to do it! But could you guys please check out the full review on my blog? It's right here: I'm so honored they asked me and I'd love for them to want to work with me in the future so please give that a like!

Although given the silliness of this review, that probably won't happen. You can take the
Jennifer ~ TarHeelReader
Her writing is on the heavier side, but I completely understand why Margaret George is well-loved and respected in the historical fiction genre. This was a wonderfully informative read.
Mar 06, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: netgalley
Nero was an excellent choice for a faux-autobiography: limited contemporary or near-contemporary sources (which have also been called out for anti-Nero bias); dangerous political and familial manoeuvring; an historical period of turbulent change and destruction. All it needed was a compelling storyteller to add his voice to the tale.

This is part one of two, beginning with his early life on the outskirts of power right to the heart of it as Emperor. Margaret George cleverly evokes our sympathy
Dec 21, 2016 rated it it was ok
Shelves: reviewed, publisher, dnf
I managed 200 pages of this book and then gave up. At that point I wasn't even half way through it and Nero had just become emperor. Then I learned that this is only part one of Nero's story and I knew that I had made the right decision. I would prefer to read a history book about Nero rather than this mix of fact and imagined conversations and feelings. I also thought that the author made a poor decision to have this story told in the first person by Nero (initially as a 4 year old) rather than ...more
Nov 18, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: reviewed
Admit it. When you hear the name Nero, you think of the late great Peter Ustinovs performance in the movie Quo Vadis. If you do not know what I am referring to, check out IMDB. The common view of Nero is he was (in no particular order) a madman, a murderer, a incestuous son, the persecutor of Christians, a third rate artist and a lousy husband. That image of Nero is exactly why Margaret George has written The Confessions of Young Nero. Ms. George states in her Afterward that she was drawn to him ...more
Sep 06, 2018 rated it really liked it
You can always count on Margaret George to deliver a well-written, in-depth depiction of a historical figure while also leaving room for some poetic license.

I knew nothing (much) about Nero and his time as Roman emperor/Caesar. I had heard some of the well-worn salacious mythology about him and his reign. Some so awful, its hard to believe. George does a great job of navigating Neros best and worst deeds.

Kudos to George for finding her way through the facts (what little that was written near
Margaret George is an author I have loved for years and each new novel is a rare and treasured thing. I knew this would be special and it really is. One of those occasions when five stars can never be enough.

Lizzie Jones
Jul 01, 2017 rated it liked it
This book absolutely surprised me, and annoyed me because Margaret George is definitely trying to rewrite history here. I have been interested in the life of Emperor Nero since I learned about him in Mr. Felt's 7th grade history class. According to the three surviving historical reports written about Nero, he sounded like a completely crazy person. He was Rome's youngest Emperor (only 16), and his inexperience led to disasters. He despised and persecuted Christians, he forced admittance into the ...more
Lucy Banks
Apr 03, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
May 27, 2017 rated it it was ok
The best summary of this book's flaws come from the USA Today review of it:

In short, its a city youll believe filled, unfortunately, with people you wont.

Margaret George clearly did a lot of research. This book is full of window dressing about life in ancient Rome; everything from daily life to major celebrations and festivals. In that respect it's the kind of immersive experience I hope to get from historical fiction.

However the people... Well. The characterization is about as flimsy as
Mar 27, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-in-2017
In the Roman Empire, after the rein of Julius Caesar, Nerō Claudius Caesar Augustus Germanicus was born. Nerō was adopted by his great-uncle Claudius, Emperor, to become his heir and successor. As boy, there are attempts on Nerōs life. He learns at a young age that life can be fleeting. He even fears his own mother, Agrippina, noting *I knew then that to be her enemy was to perishand that being her son would not exempt me. He knows that she has murdered before!

Young Nerō loves art and sport. He
Caidyn (he/him/his)
This review and others can be found on BW Book Reviews.


Margaret George is an author I've been meaning to read for years now. I own her famous books about Cleopatra and Henry VIII. I'm pretty sure that I also own her book on Mary, Queen of Scots. However, her books are so long that I don't have time to read them since I'm in my last year as an undergraduate. Reading for pleasure is a distant dream in my life. My saving grace is where I work; a warehouse that just allows me to listen to stuff
Meg - A Bookish Affair
4.5 stars. "The Confessions of Young Nero" is the latest book from Margaret George, one of my very favorite historical fiction writers. Historical fiction lovers know that when you read a book by Margaret George, you're in for real treat. This book is definitely no different! I enjoyed this story and was very excited to see that this is only George's first book in a planned series on Nero.

In this book, George takes us back to ancient Rome, to when Nero the infamous Emperor is still a young boy.
Nov 12, 2017 rated it really liked it
Margaret Georges interpretation of Nero defies the stereotypes that come not only from Hollywood in our own times but also in some of the surviving ancient histories. She sees him gifted in poetry, music and athletics, caring for his subjects and preferring diplomacy over war.

Most of the book is written by Nero; there are a few chapters by Locusta (a poisoner) and Acte (his first love).

Young Nero basically renounces his familys murderous past. He attempts to steer clear of it until he realizes
Crystal King
Mar 15, 2017 rated it it was amazing
The Confessions of Young Nero is a masterfully wrought story of one of the most notorious emperors in Roman history. George's take is not as sensationalist as some might have preferred, but instead, envisions the life of Nero beginning with his earliest days, long before he had any thought of being the leader of the Roman Empire. The historical details are so tightly woven into the heart of the story that as a reader you are immediately swept into the center of what could feel like a foreign ...more
Aug 24, 2018 rated it really liked it
This is the second book by this author that I've read in about a week. I enjoy her writing. She not only does her research, but she also has a way with words. Some of this had me in complete was beautifully written.

This book is a book where I liked the writing a little more than the story. That doesn't mean I didn't like the story...I did. I listened to the audio and the narrators did a great job. I also didn't mind the creative liberties taken by the author to fill in the gaps. I
Erika Robuck
Apr 04, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Contemporary politics looks like childs play compared to that of Ancient Rome.

The Confessions of Young Nero, by Margaret George, is a 506-page epic novel, and likely the first in a series. In truth, I couldnt imagine enjoying a novel about a man like Nero. Saints Peter and Paul were executed under his rule, and the myths and rumors of Neros scandalous lifestyle hardly make him a sympathetic figure. Imagine my surprise when I not only could not put the book down, but was even able to comprehend
How could I resist a story of Nero one of the most famous of Rome's Caesars from his childhood to the heights of his days as emperor? Well I couldn't and I've always wanted to try a some of Margaret George's historical fiction. This was a slow build story introducing a broad cast of colorful characters and set against a deftly painted background and a carefully constructed plot. But patience during the early pages was worth it because I felt I was able to really know the Nero of this story and ...more
Mar 08, 2017 rated it really liked it
I will start by noting that I have read all of Ms. Georges books; she is one of my favorite authors so I was very excited to see something new and to learn that there is a second book in the series. Perhaps its bias but I love going into a book just knowing its going to be good. There are a few authors that I completely trust that will be true when I pick up their books and Ms. George is up at the top of that list.

In this new book she brings the Roman emperor Nero to life you know about Nero,
Kim Ess
Oct 14, 2018 rated it liked it
I read this whole book struggling to figure out why the author was being so kind to Nero. Her Nero had no resemblance the evil historical figure I had learned about in my life. Had I read the author's AFTERWARD before beginning the book I would have given this book a higher rating but since I was confused by her benevolent Nero character throughout the 400 plus pages I read first I cannot give it the higher rating it probably deserves. I look forward to reading the Nero #2 book when it comes ...more
Mar 20, 2017 rated it liked it
This is a beautifully published book, and I do enjoy reading about ancient Rome. In this case, Nero is given a voice so the reader must have a liking for emotional descriptions as a child grows to adulthood. It will not be for everyone, particularly since it will require reading the second volume. We leave this one as Nero is about to ride into the burning city of Rome. "Either Rome and I perished together, or we survived together...And we descended the hill , heading into the maelstrom."
Feb 28, 2019 rated it it was amazing
From the beginning of the book, you can tell that the author has done her research, and done it with very thorough detail. She has taken a historical figure and brought him to life through her free-flowing prose and draws you in with her attention to every detail. Full review you can find on my blog:
Margaret George paints a more sympathetic picture of the last of the Julian/Augustan Roman emperors. He was athletic, musical, artistic and not as debauched as the old Roman historians like Suetonius depict him. He had his dark side, for sure; guilty of several murders to achieve and maintain his power. George shows a different Nero than the one who "fiddled while Rome burned". The fire was a result of volcanic activity. There is a follow-up stand alone novel about his reign after the fire. I ...more
The Idle Woman
Mar 12, 2017 rated it liked it
Set in the duplicitous, cutthroat world of the Roman imperial family in the first century AD, this novel had the scope for plots and psychosis aplenty, an impression encouraged by its titular promise of 'confessions'. I hoped for something along the lines of I, Claudius, taking the story of the Julio-Claudians into the next generation with the same kind of meaty detail that I enjoyed in Tom Holland's Dynasty. However, George's decision to take a revisionist viewpoint, and present Nero as a ...more
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Margaret George is a rolling stone who has lived in many places, beginning her traveling at the age of four when her father joined the U.S. diplomatic service and was posted to a consulate in Taiwan. The family traveled on a freighter named after Ulysses' son Telemachus that took thirty days to reach Taiwan, where they spent two years. Following that they lived in Tel Aviv (right after the 1948 ...more

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