by Robert Graves
In BriefRidiculed for his speech impediment, compared to a monkey and assumed to be an idiot, Claudius, an obscure prince of Rome's Julio-Claudian line, ended up confounding expectations by becoming master of the known world, ultimately revered as a god. I, Claudius tells the first 51 years of his story, through the reign of paranoid Tiberius and the madness of Caligula, up to the moment when, following the assassination of his insane nephew, he is discovered hiding behind a curtain.
Why you should read itChosen by TIME magazine as one of the hundred best English-language novels since 1923, Robert Graves's iconic imagining of the life of a Roman Emperor who did not expect to rule is both scholarly and compelling. Combining a dry wit with a penchant for gossip and a historian's eye for the political machinations around him, Graves's Claudius stands tall among fiction's most memorable narrators.