Robert Graves (1934)
The inspiration for the highly acclaimed PBS series is a must read for anyone interested in Ancient Rome. (I don’t care if you’ve seen the TV series four times, there’s so much more in the book!) Based on historical fact, meticulous research and even eyewitness accounts, this is an entertaining, easy-to-read account of life in the royal family of Augustus and his descendants.
Claudius, the Emperor of Rome from 41-54 AD, believes he is being poisoned by his enemies, so he sets about to write his family history before he dies. You will never read a novel where so many people are killed, this side of War and Peace. Poison is the name of the game, and no one plays at treachery and deceit better than Claudius’ own grandmother Livia, a heartless woman who manipulates everyone around her. If it weren’t based on fact, you’d never believe events could actually play out the way they do.