Holt, Thomas C. A Song For Nero

ISBN 13: 9780316861137

A Song For Nero

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9780316861137: A Song For Nero
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History tells us that in 69AD, at the ripe old age of 32 and on hearing that General Glaba's forces were closing in, Nero fled his palace in Rome. He stabbed himself in the throat with a pen and was trampled to death by horses in a muddy ditch. His last words were, 'What an artist dies with me'.

But there is another possibility: Nero did not die in that ditch, but somebody who looked very much like him did. This gives Nero the opportunity to start a new life in pursuit of his first love: music. But there's a problem - Nero is being pursued by two people who have reason to suspect he is still alive - one wants him dead, the other is a passionate fan of his dreadful music and wants his genius recognised ...

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Review:

Thomas Holt provides us, in A Song for Nero, with one of the more ingeniously unlikely what-ifs of the modern historical novel: what if the body rebel troops found and dishonoured was not that of the deposed emperor Nero, but that of his official double, Callistus? A decade later, he and Callistus's mouthy younger brother Galen are still wandering the provinces of the empire, living hand to mouth and scam to scam--in some ways, a more inventive punishment for a tyrant than any court could imagine.

Holt's Nero is a fascinating set of contradictions, a fairly likable man in recovery from the total corruption of absolute power and keen to deny his worst crimes, or at least play them down. The petty crook Galen is the ideal foil for him, someone who cannot quite believe that his companion once did those things. And then their problems start. Not everybody thinks Nero is really dead, and there are all sorts of people with a use for him.

Like Holt's other historical novels, this one combines some of the inventive wit of his fantasies with real knowledge of the Classical period and a dark sense of irony; its principal weakness--some very routine thriller plotting--does not diminish the effectiveness of this distinctive tone of voice. --Roz Kaveney

Review:

Witty, ironic...and achieves a deeply felt authenticity (New York TIMES)

Fascinating, gripping, moving (The TIMES)

Wry and droll, fascinating and funny....unforgettable (ROSS LECKIE)

Fascinating, imaginative and page-turning stuff (- HELLO!)

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Other Popular Editions of the Same Title

9780349116143: A Song For Nero

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ISBN 10:  0349116148 ISBN 13:  9780349116143
Publisher: Abacus, 2004
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