I, Claudius

In Book Reviews on March 23, 2014 at 6:00 am
Arthur Baker 1934

Arthur Baker 1934

Nutshell blurb: Claudius is the grand-nephew of the emperor Augustus. He walks with a limp, stutters and is considered to be feeble-minded. He fancies himself a historian and takes it upon himself to record the events of the imperial family in all of its blood-curdling splendour.

Can I just say that this is one of the densest books I’ve ever read? Ye gods, it took me over a month to read it. I know that it’s not a race and that I don’t have to read every book within 3 days of starting it, but I like to feel that I’m getting somewhere when I’m reading. I read this book on my commute and found that after 40 minutes on the tube, I had only gotten through 10 pages.


Don’t get me wrong, I really enjoyed it but it really messed up my progress on the massive backlog of books I have to read.

Anyway, on to the book.

I actually watched this series years ago at uni and loved it. At the time I didn’t even realise that it was based on a novel. So I was pretty excited to find out that there was a book.

The thing that I liked about this novel was that it felt as though it was actually narrated by Claudius. It felt like a real account of his life. I think that is indicative of great story-telling when you forget that you’re reading a novel and forget that it’s fiction.

Claudius is a very likable fellow. I really admired him for being so adaptable and for surviving when people were murdered left and right. He did what he had to do to ensure his survival. Namely, he acted like a half-wit and stayed out of everyone’s way when possible.

The thing that I didn’t like about it was that Claudius had a tendency to waffle on or go on long-winded tangents about excruciating topics like military tactics or a detailed account of what’s happening with the economy. I was loathe to skip these parts though, in case they contained important information about the characters. Of which there were many.

It was oh-so difficult to keep track of who was related to whom in this story. Luckily, there was a handy-dandy family tree at the back of the book which I frequently consulted.

Overall, I really did like this book. I’m just ready to read something that’s a bit less dense now.

Also, I really want to watch the series over again.


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