Despised for his weakness and regarded by his family as little more than a stammering fool, the nobleman Claudius quietly survives the intrigues, bloody purges and mounting cruelty of the imperial Roman dynasties. In "I, Claudius", he watches from the sidelines to record the reigns of its emperors: from the wise Augustus and his villainous wife Livia to the sadistic Tiberius and the insane excesses of Caligula. Written in the form of Claudius' autobiography, this is the first part of Robert Graves' brilliant account of the madness and debauchery of ancient Rome, and stands as one of the most celebrated, gripping historical novels ever written.
I, CLAUDIUS and CLAUDIUS THE GOD are an imaginative and hugely readable account of the early decades of the Roman Empire ... racy, inventive, often comic Daily Telegraph One of the really remarkable books of our day, a novel of learning and imagination, fortunately conceived and brilliantly executed New York Times Still an acknowledged masterpiece and a model for historical fiction ... sympathetic and intensely involving: a great feat of imagination -- Hilary Mantel
Robert Ranke Graves (1895-1985) was a British poet, novelist, and critic. He is best known for the historical novel I, Claudius and the critical study of myth and poetry The White Goddess. He wrote his autobiography, Goodbye to All That, in 1929, and it was soon established as a modern classic. He also translated Apuleius, Lucan and Suetonius for the Penguin Classics, and compiled the first modern dictionary of Greek Mythology, The Greek Myths. His translation of The Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam (with Omar Ali-Shah) is also published in Penguin. Barry Unsworth is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature and holds an honorary doctorate from Manchester University. He is the author of 15 novels, among them 'Sacred Hunger', which won the 1992 Booker Prize. 'Pascali's Island' (1980) and 'Morality Play' (1995) were shortlisted for the same prize. His most recent novel 'The Ruby in Her Navel' is due for publication in 2006. He lives in Italy.