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About the Author

Peter Stothard is an author, journalist and critic. He is a former editor of The Times and of The Times Literary Supplement. His books include ALEXANDRIA, THE LAST NIGHTS OF CLEOPATRA, ON THE SPARTACUS ROAD and THE LAST ASSASSIN. He lives in Cambridge.


Lets us see how power really worked, in public and private. We glimpse the emperors at work and at play, in the dining room and in the bedroom. And we see how even they, despite the sycophants, were often prisoners, not architects, of the system. One false step and it would all be over ... Stothard tells this story superbly -- Dominic Sandbrook * Sunday Times *
This is a story you think you know, told through the eyes of people you don't ... Not so much an alternative history as an alternative epic, farce and satire rolled into one. Palatine is an absorbing saga of battles and banquets, as densely populated and richly depicted as Game of Thrones -- Rachel Cunliffe * The Times *
Profound scholarship written with the verve and expertise of an accomplished novelist. On every page lapidary phrases evoke the reality of life in the ancient world . . . Wonderful, evocative stuff! -- Harry Sidebottom * Daily Telegraph *
Fans of Peter Stothard's previous books - On the Spartacus Road (2010), The Last Assassin (2020), and Crassus (reviewed here October 2022) - will need no urging towards his latest, a wonderfully evocative study of that dynasty, leading up to the fall of Vitellius in the Year of Four Emperors (AD 69). Palatine, like its predecessors, is imaginatively constructed from a series of realistic vignettes charting the imperial court from the last days of Augustus through to the arrival of the Flavians ... Stothard tells the familiar story in a very original way, making the two Vitellii his central characters ... it's a brilliant device that illustrates how, with some paternal scheming, a relatively ordinary man could push his way through the corridors of power and emerge on top ... This hugely readable novel-like account [is] a Succession for the Julio-Claudian years -- Sir Michael Fallon, Founder of the Parliamentary Classics Group * CLASSICS FOR ALL *

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