Before I begin my review of Caligula, I must start with a quote from Stephen King’s On Writing aka my ‘bible’.
‘Fresh writing on the other hand, teaches the learning writer about style, graceful narration, plot development, the creation of believable characters and truth telling. A novel like The Grapes of Wrath may fill a new writer with despair and jealousy – ‘I’ll never be able to write anything like that, not if I live to be a thousand.’ But such feelings can also serve as a spur, goading the writer to work harder and aim higher. Being swept away – or being flattened, in fact – is part of a very necessary formation. You cannot hope to sweep someone else away by the force of your writing until it has been done to you.’
Well, my friends, it has been done to me by Douglas Jackson’s Caligula. Truly a modern day great. This is not me just spouting ‘hot air’ or false praise, as his new publishing success of his new ‘baby’ Claudius, (my next read) which I believe is part of a three book deal offer, will attest. I wish him all the very best with this new venture/life, having very bravely given up his positon at the Scotsman. Keep a close eye on this author’s work if you are a true lover of really great fiction.
As shocking as it is spectacular, Douglas Jackson’s Caligula is so vivid, it is as if has witnessed everything. He writes with such mastery, that, like Rufus, you want to turn away from the horrific spectacles but are compelled to read on. I defy anyone not to be transfixed by this story that takes one through and beyond the full gamut of every human emotion. Such empathy and passion, with powerful sensuous erotic moments, intertwined with so much pathos.
Whether you know of the Rome of old or have not even the slightest interest in history, has no relevance. This book will appeal to anyone who wants a damn good read. It is, in short, a masterpiece.