I've read a lot of Paul Doherty (or P C Doherty) over the years; all great historical novels, set in different times and places - from Medieval Europe to Ancient Eygpt.
This is the first in a series of novels set in Imperial Rome - this book tells the tale of Agrippina the Younger - great-granddaughter of Augustus, great-niece and adoptive granddaughter of Tiberius, sister to Caligula, niece and wife of Claudius, and mother of Nero. Quite a lineage in there - and to be honest, to survive in those times, with those family connections, you'd have to be a tough cookie. And from all accounts Agrippina the Younger was just that. Without giving too much away in the story, the novel tells of how Agrippina's love for her son Nero, overcoming her lifetime of scheming and power, leads to her ultimate downfall. The story is told from the perspective of her secretarius Parmenon, who has been with her for many years, and tells her story with empathy and compassion, as well as understanding.
This story is thrilling stuff - it's hard to believe the lives that these people led; power was the ultimate goal, madness the ultimate emotion. Agrippina's story is told here with an insight that must have been hard to achieve with so many very unlikeable characters; a really entertaining novel, and the start to what I hope will be another enjoyable series from Mr Doherty.