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'Williams has fashioned an always engaging, psychologically convincing work of fiction-a consistent and well-realized portrait' The New Yorker

AUGUSTUS tells the story of Octavian, a shy and scholarly youth of nineteen who, on the death of his great-uncle, Julius Caesar, suddenly finds himself heir to the vast power of the Roman Empire. He is destined to rule that world astonishingly well, given the odds and intrigues against him. He would later be known as Augustus Caesar (63 B.C. -14A.D.), the first Roman emperor.

Through the use of fictional letters, memoranda and dispatches, we see how Augustus established his essential base of power and how he was continually obliged to put down, by a subtle combination of force and guile, the challenges of such men as Cicero, Brutus, Cassius and, finally, Mark Antony.

The narrative mosaic John Williams has built on impeccable historical research brings Augustus vividly to life. Williams invests his characters with such profound humanity and treats them with such terrible honesty and compassion that we enter into their very lives and times.

Formats & editions

  • Paperback

    9780099445081

    April 1, 2003

    Vintage Classics

    352 pages

    RRP $14.99

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