YEAR OF FOUR CAESARS by Howard Nield

YEAR OF FOUR CAESARS

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Foul, sadomasochistic doings in 69 A.D. Rome--as Nero is toppled, would-be caesars feud bloodily, and Veturius of the Praetorian Guards fights for survival and sex. First Veturius is loyal to ambitious Nymphidius--and his position helps him in his quest for Arabian slave Reema: he has Reema's lover Sextus turned over to the Guards for lashing. Then Veturius switches allegiance to old Galba--but Galba's troops are super-decadent, newcomer Otho takes over, Galba suicides, and Otho is then challenged by Vitellius. And, unfortunately for Veturius, Vitellius' henchman is none other than old rival Sextus. So when Veturius is captured, he is raped, tortured, castrated, and made a gladiator in the arena (he must kill his own brother). His highborn girlfriend Julia is sewn up inside a dead horse. And finally Veturius--now banished--joins Vespasian's troops and goes on a rampage of vengeance: he tortures and kills the doctor who castrated him (also raping and torturing the doc's wife and daughters); he burns Sextus alive in a coat of tar; and he kills Reema on the rack. A dollop of history, an onslaught of blood, gore, and sexual mutilitation--only for those who found Caligula the most sympathetic character in I, Claudius.

Pub Date: Aug. 1st, 1981
Publisher: St. Martin's