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By Thomas Holt

Background tells us that during sixty nine advert, Nero fled his palace in Rome, stabbed himself within the throat with a pen, and used to be trampled to loss of life by way of horses in a muddy ditch. yet this is one other hazard: Nero didn't die in that ditch, yet an individual who regarded a great deal like him did. this offers Nero the chance to begin a brand new existence in pursuit of his first love—music. yet Nero is being pursued through those who have cause to suspect he's nonetheless alive—one desires him useless, the opposite is a passionate fan of his dreadful song and desires his genius well-known.

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A Song for Nero: A Novel

Historical past tells us that during sixty nine advert, Nero fled his palace in Rome, stabbed himself within the throat with a pen, and was once trampled to dying through horses in a muddy ditch. yet here is one other danger: Nero didn't die in that ditch, yet a person who appeared a great deal like him did. this offers Nero the chance to begin a brand new existence in pursuit of his first love—music.

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Well, he’s done one song and he’s halfway through the next when the old senator gets to his feet and slowly starts walking out of the room. Nero’s absolutely furious. He swings round and he says to the senator, Where the bloody hell d’you think you’re going? ’ I didn’t look round and I didn’t say a word. Had to bite a dirty great chunk out of my tongue, but I managed it. Anyway, the carter went on, ‘So that’s exactly what he did; and every day for the next three years, until Nero finally got what was coming to him and some bugger finally slit his useless throat, which meant all the poor prisoners in the quarries got let out and sent home again, that old senator used to sing that same song, the one Nero’d been playing when he walked out, over and over again, till everybody in the quarries and the villages around knew it by heart.

So there we were, obstructing the highway, and the Roman getting closer to us every moment. ’ Well, that was helpful. I was hauling away with every last bit of strength I had (but that wasn’t worth much, a skinny little runt like me) and so was Lucius Domitius; and if he couldn’t shift his mule, what chance did I have? Well, the procession came to a dead stop about a foot from my big toe, and it was pretty obvious that they weren’t pleased. The footsloggers grabbed us and shoved us out of the way I landed on my bum; Lucius Domitius banged his head on the paved road.

It’s just stuff that people make, and if they’re really lucky, they get paid money, though as far as I can see most poets and musicians and the like end up giving the stuff away to their friends, assuming their friends hold still for long enough. Be that as it may Now, I’ve got an ear for music like a cabbage has teeth, but I dare say that Lucius Domitius’ stuff was as good as anything else, maybe even a bit better. Big deal. As far as I was concerned, this didn’t actually help us much. Now, if he’d been prepared to use his divine gift to make us a copper or two along the way, like by singing in people’s houses or playing the bagpipes outside country inns, I could have seen the point in that, and I’d have been right behind him, every step of the way But he wouldn’t ever do that.

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