By the author of Stoner, the surprise international bestseller
After the brutal murder of his great-uncle, Julius Caesar, Octavian, a shy and scholarly youth of nineteen, suddenly finds himself heir to the vast power of Rome. He is destined, despite vicious power struggles, bloody wars and family strife, to transform his realm and become the greatest ruler the western world had ever seen: Augustus Caesar, the first Roman Emperor.
Building on impeccable research, John Williams brings the legendary figure of Augustus vividly to life, and invests his characters with such profound humanity that we enter completely into the heat and danger of their lives and times.
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The finest historical novel ever written by an American - Washington Post
It would be easy to over-praise this novel; but there does not seem any adequate reason why this temptation should be resisted - Economist
A novel of extraordinary range, yet of extraordinary minuteness, that manages never to sacrifice one quality for the other - Financial Times
Williams has fashioned an always engaging, psychologically convincing work of fiction - a consistent and well-realized portrait - New Yorker
A highly imaginative account of the life and times of Augustus-a brilliant novel - Library Journal
A brilliant epistolary novel about Octavius Caesar and ancient Rome...all three [of John Williams'] novels show a similar narrative arc: a young man's initiation, vicious male rivalries, subtler tensions between men and women, fathers and daughters, and finally a bleak sense of disappointment, even futility. - New York Times
Exquisite...brims with great lines - Chicago Tribune
A vividly imagined re-creation of classical Rome, but its intuitive grasp of the experience of immense power makes it an unusual, and superior, novel - Boston Globe
There could be no better year than 2014 to rediscover this one - Times Literary Supplement
John Williams was born on August 29, 1922 in Clarksville, Texas. He served in the United States Army Air Force from 1942 to 1945 in China, Burma and India. The Swallow Press published his first novel, Nothing But the Night, in 1948, as well as his first book of poems, The Broken Landscape, in 1949. Macmillan published Williams' second novel, Butcher's Crossing, in 1960. After recieving his B.A. and M.A. from the University of Denver, and his Ph.D from the University of Missouri, Williams returned in 1954 to the University of Denver where he taught literature and the craft of writing for thirty years. In 1963 Williams received a fellowship to study at Oxford University where where he received a Rockefeller grant enabling him to travel and research in Italy for his last novel, Augustus, published in 1972. John Williams died in Arkansas on March 4, 1994.