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Trajan and Plotina [Paperback]

David Corson
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
List Price: CDN$ 21.84
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Book Description

Aug. 10 2003
Romans described the emperor Trajan as the 'perfect prince'. What made him so remarkable? This novel is a narrative historical account of the lives of the emperor and his consort. It describes the extraordinary events that brought the couple to power and the timeless achievements of that power. The book traces Trajan's early life as a soldier, through his marriage, service to Domitian and rise to influence, and looks at Plotina's early life in Provençe, her philosophical interests, and the events that allowed her to become a partner in greatness. It includes a unique recreation of Trajan's lost 'Dacian Commentaries' which cover the Balkan wars that Rome fought to bring Romania inside the Empire. And it traces the military expeditions that helped fulfill Trajan's expansionist dreams, reaching across Iraq, Iran, Arabia, and up into Southern Russia. All this is presented inside a dynamic narrative account that engages the reader.

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Most helpful customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars History comes alive! Nov. 3 2003
By A Customer
I was excited to find this second book by David Corson as I had been wowed by his first novel, Domitia and Domitian. Corson has a way of allowing the reader to experience the everyday lives of his historical characters while keeping true to real historical events. In the opening chapters the reader gets a glimpse of the character-building childhood experiences of Trajan and Plotina. These experiences lay the foundations for the ensuing events that are overshadowed throughout by emotional turmoil amid political and social intrigue. The story is well written and the descriptive phrasing sets a visual stage with the lives of Trajan and Plotina unfolding as the events play out. It is evident that the novel has been meticulously researched with some wonderfully creative interpretation of historical events such as the Dacian Wars. I recommend this novel to anyone who is interested in history, in war and peace, in love, in politics, in exploring human nature or in simply a "good read".
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Amazon.com: 5.0 out of 5 stars  2 reviews
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars History comes alive! Nov. 3 2003
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
I was excited to find this second book by David Corson as I had been wowed by his first novel, Domitia and Domitian. Corson has a way of allowing the reader to experience the everyday lives of his historical characters while keeping true to real historical events. In the opening chapters the reader gets a glimpse of the character-building childhood experiences of Trajan and Plotina. These experiences lay the foundations for the ensuing events that are overshadowed throughout by emotional turmoil amid political and social intrigue. The story is well written and the descriptive phrasing sets a visual stage with the lives of Trajan and Plotina unfolding as the events play out. It is evident that the novel has been meticulously researched with some wonderfully creative interpretation of historical events such as the Dacian Wars. I recommend this novel to anyone who is interested in history, in war and peace, in love, in politics, in exploring human nature or in simply a "good read".
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Perfect Prince and His Wife Feb. 11 2008
By David A. Wend - Published on Amazon.com
Verified Purchase
Until recently, I had no idea that David Corson had written his Trajan and Plotina. Having enjoyed his account Domitian and Domitia greatly I looked forward with a lot of anticipation to this book. Perhaps this novel does not quite measure up to his earlier book but Mr. Corson has given us a readable and highly enjoyable account of the lives of his subjects. Trajan and Plotina may seem a somewhat unlikely choice for a novel and in a way they remain the perfect prince and his perfect wife. The relationship between this married couple is one of intimate friendship, and I imagine that the real Plotina probably was a highly educated woman and that she was an intellectual support for her husband. So the relationship portrayed here is probably very close to the mark.

The novel is written in short episodes gathered into chapters recounting a period of years. There is a bit of skipping toward the beginning. We travel from 71 CE to 75 and jump through most of Domitian's reign with chapters covering 86-90 and 95-97. We miss a description of Trajan's consulship in 91 and his contacts with the emperor when one of his amici. It is almost as if the book was left unfinished due to the death of Mr. Corson but I understand that he had finished the book. Modern names are used for several familiar cities, for example Budapest, Genoa and Beirut, and Mr. Corson identifies the future emperor Antoninus as Pius in his book even though he acquired that name only as emperor. However, I don't know of a good way to tell the reader that, yes, this child is a future emperor, and this is a novel after all. .The writing is quite good and I especially liked the exciting description of a gladiatorial fight between two veteran fighters. The book gives dignity to the people being described without making them unapproachable or silly. While this is a novel that I would not consider light reading for someone interested in ancient history it is a perfect addition to their library.
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