Although this book had its highs and lows, I enjoyed it overall. As others have mentioned, the character names can be very confusing and there is not a genealogy chart included which would have been extremely helpful. It did get easier to keep track of after the first few chapters once I got into the flow of the book. One other thing I didn’t really like was some of the characterizations. Characters are either extraordinarily evil or impossibly noble, with Caligula (of course) being completely batshit insane on top of evil. It was interesting how, beginning with the prudishness of Augustus, each following generation of Claudians became more and more depraved culminating in the reign of Caligula. This is not a book to be read quickly, nor is it a page turner until the end, but it is very engrossing. Claudius is a fascinating character, and while the prose is sometimes a bit dry (especially the parts concerning Germany, for me anyway) he can be wickedly funny. The story is fascinating, and I will pick up the second book soon.