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How is this book unique? Free Audiobook Illustrations included Unabridged Quo Vadis: A Narrative of the Time of Nero, commonly known as Quo Vadis, is a historical novel written by Henryk Sienkiewicz in Polish. "Quo vadis Domine" is Latin for "Where are you going, Lord?" and alludes to the apocryphal Acts of Peter, in which Peter flees Rome but on his way meets How is this book unique? Free Audiobook Illustrations included Unabridged Quo Vadis: A Narrative of the Time of Nero, commonly known as Quo Vadis, is a historical novel written by Henryk Sienkiewicz in Polish. "Quo vadis Domine" is Latin for "Where are you going, Lord?" and alludes to the apocryphal Acts of Peter, in which Peter flees Rome but on his way meets Jesus and asks him why he is going to Rome. Jesus says, "I am going back to be crucified again", which makes Peter go back to Rome and accept martyrdom. The novel Quo Vadis tells of a love that develops between a young Christian woman, Ligia (or Lygia), and Marcus Vinicius, a Roman patrician. It takes place in the city of Rome under the rule of emperor Nero, circa AD 64. Sienkiewicz studied the Roman Empire extensively prior to writing the novel, with the aim of getting historical details correct. Consequently, several historical figures appear in the book. As a whole, the novel carries an outspoken pro-Christian message. Published in installments in three Polish dailies in 1895, it came out in book form in 1896 and has since been translated into more than 50 languages. This novel contributed to Sienkiewicz's Nobel Prize for literature in 1905. Several movies have been based on Quo Vadis including two Italian silent films in 1912 and 1924, a Hollywood production in 1951, and an adaptation by Jerzy Kawalerowicz in 2001.


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How is this book unique? Free Audiobook Illustrations included Unabridged Quo Vadis: A Narrative of the Time of Nero, commonly known as Quo Vadis, is a historical novel written by Henryk Sienkiewicz in Polish. "Quo vadis Domine" is Latin for "Where are you going, Lord?" and alludes to the apocryphal Acts of Peter, in which Peter flees Rome but on his way meets How is this book unique? Free Audiobook Illustrations included Unabridged Quo Vadis: A Narrative of the Time of Nero, commonly known as Quo Vadis, is a historical novel written by Henryk Sienkiewicz in Polish. "Quo vadis Domine" is Latin for "Where are you going, Lord?" and alludes to the apocryphal Acts of Peter, in which Peter flees Rome but on his way meets Jesus and asks him why he is going to Rome. Jesus says, "I am going back to be crucified again", which makes Peter go back to Rome and accept martyrdom. The novel Quo Vadis tells of a love that develops between a young Christian woman, Ligia (or Lygia), and Marcus Vinicius, a Roman patrician. It takes place in the city of Rome under the rule of emperor Nero, circa AD 64. Sienkiewicz studied the Roman Empire extensively prior to writing the novel, with the aim of getting historical details correct. Consequently, several historical figures appear in the book. As a whole, the novel carries an outspoken pro-Christian message. Published in installments in three Polish dailies in 1895, it came out in book form in 1896 and has since been translated into more than 50 languages. This novel contributed to Sienkiewicz's Nobel Prize for literature in 1905. Several movies have been based on Quo Vadis including two Italian silent films in 1912 and 1924, a Hollywood production in 1951, and an adaptation by Jerzy Kawalerowicz in 2001.

30 review for Quo Vadis: A Narrative of the Time of Nero: By Henryk Sienkiewicz & Illustrated (An Audiobook Free!)

  1. 4 out of 5

    Ahmad Sharabiani

    (Book 795 from 1001 books) - Quo Vadis: A Narrative of the Time of Nero = Quo Vadis, Henryk Sienkiewicz Quo Vadis: A Narrative of the Time of Nero, commonly known as Quo Vadis, is a historical novel written by Henryk Sienkiewicz in Polish. "Quo vadis, Domine?" is Latin for "Where are you going, Lord?" and appears in Chapter 69 of the novel in a retelling of a story from the apocryphal Acts of Peter, in which Peter flees Rome but on his way meets Jesus and asks him why he is going to Rome. Jesus s (Book 795 from 1001 books) - Quo Vadis: A Narrative of the Time of Nero = Quo Vadis, Henryk Sienkiewicz Quo Vadis: A Narrative of the Time of Nero, commonly known as Quo Vadis, is a historical novel written by Henryk Sienkiewicz in Polish. "Quo vadis, Domine?" is Latin for "Where are you going, Lord?" and appears in Chapter 69 of the novel in a retelling of a story from the apocryphal Acts of Peter, in which Peter flees Rome but on his way meets Jesus and asks him why he is going to Rome. Jesus says, "If thou desertest my people, I am going to Rome to be crucified a second time", which shames Peter into going back to Rome to accept martyrdom. عنوانهای چاپ شده در ایران: «هوسهای امپراطور»؛ «هوسهای امپراتور، کجا می‌روی - زندگی پرماجرای نرون»؛ «کجا میروی»؛ نویسنده: هنریک سینکویچ؛ انتشاراتیها: (اطلاعات، امیرکبیر، نشر سمیر؛ نشر ماهی)؛ ادبیات سده 19میلادی کشور لهستان؛ تاریخ نخستین خوانش روز دهم ماه آوریل سال 1971میلادی عنوان: هوسهای امپراطور - (کجا میروی؟)؛ نویسنده: هنریک سینکویچ؛ برگردان: حسن شهباز، تهران، اطلاعات، 1332؛ در 475ص؛ چاپ دیگر تهران، امیرکبیر، 1333، در 475ص؛ چاپ سوم 1339؛ چاپ چهارم 1353؛ در 543ص؛ چاپ دیگر تهران، ماهی، 1389، در 687ص؛ شابک9789649971575؛ چاپ بعدی 1390؛ چاپ چهارم ماهی 1392؛ چاپ دیگر تهران، امیرکبیر، 1395؛ در 711ص؛ شابک9789640017166 موضوع داستانهای نویسندگان لهستانی - سده 19م عنوان: هوسهای امپراتور؛ نویسنده: هنریک سینکویچ؛ برگردان: بهرام افراسیابی، تهران، سخن، 1370؛ در 580ص؛ چاپ چهارم 1373؛ چاپ دیگر تهران، مهرفام، 1382، شابک 9649436472؛ عنوان: کجا می‌روی؛ نویسنده: هنریک سینکویچ؛ برگردان مهدی علوی؛ تهران، نشر سمیر، 1380؛ در 137ص؛ شابک 9646552080؛ روایتگر عشقی است انسان‌ساز و روشنگر، بین سرداری به نام «مارکوس وینچیوس»؛ و شاهزاده خانمی از سرزمین «لیژین»؛ به نام «کالینا» که در بیشتر صفحات کتاب، او را به نام «لیژیا» میشناسیم، و در خلال این جریان، اوضاع اجتماعی و سیاسی حاکم بر «رم» باستان؛ در زمان حکمرانی «نرون»، بیان میشود.؛ «مارکوس» و «لیژیا»، بر خلاف دیگرانی که در کتاب حضور دارند، هر دو از شخصیتهای خیالی، و ساختگی‌ هستند؛ خوانشگر در سیر داستان درمی‌یابد، که چگونه عشق، به عنوان یکی از مظاهر زیبایی، سردار صاحب منصب و مقام را، از گذشته ی پر زرق و برق خویش، جدا می‌کند؛ و زندگی او را اگرچه آمیخته با درد، ولی زیبا می‌سازد، و از پیله ی زندگی وی، موجودی کامل بیرون می‌آورد.؛ «کلادیوس سزار دروسوس گرمانیکوس»، نامدار به «نرون»، به شهادت تاریخ‌ نویسان، یکی از بی‌ رحمترین و سفاک‌ترین حاکمان بوده؛ که از آغاز آفرینش، تاریخ کمتر همانند او را به خود دیده است تاریخ بهنگام رسانی 17/08/1399هجری خورشیدی؛ 03/07/1400هجری خورشیدی؛ ا. شربیانی

  2. 4 out of 5

    Henry Avila

    Roman Emperor Nero is a singer of beautiful songs his first love, he himself composes if you don't like them better keep your opinions unsaid, you'll live a longer life. Nero has killed his mother, wife, brother all his family, and many former friends. Only unlimited praise the mighty Caesar enjoys ( but though he is terrible his voice and music, are a small sacrifice for his friendship and the vast benefits, he showers) ... Petronius the "Arbiter of Elegance" and close friend of the vicious rul Roman Emperor Nero is a singer of beautiful songs his first love, he himself composes if you don't like them better keep your opinions unsaid, you'll live a longer life. Nero has killed his mother, wife, brother all his family, and many former friends. Only unlimited praise the mighty Caesar enjoys ( but though he is terrible his voice and music, are a small sacrifice for his friendship and the vast benefits, he showers) ... Petronius the "Arbiter of Elegance" and close friend of the vicious ruler, has much influence in the court. A well educated and secret writer of The Satyricon the first novel, with poetry. He doesn't take credit as the author, Petronius likes to live in Rome not exiled, as others have been. The book ridicules certain Roman patricians their society, both he is part of ! In the arts nobody knows more than he. Marcus Vinicius a military tribune, his nephew back from a war in Asia Minor, informs his uncle in the opulent steamy Roman Baths, that he has fallen madly in love with a pretty maiden. While recovering from an injury in the house of Aulus Plautius, a retired and honored general, who helped in conquering Britain. The girl is the daughter of a foreign king a Roman hostage, now living in the home of the General's and Pomponia Graecina the wife of Aulus she becomes very fond of her, treated like a daughter. Since all her relatives perished Lygia, now considers them her new family. The young patrician soldier must have her as his concubine but Lygia, is a secret Christian and though she loves him, will not accept that. Marcus seeks his uncle's influence to get the girl away from her loved ones. Nero has Lygia come to his palace to be examined, the Emperor likes attractive women but the noble, clever, arbiter of elegance tells him, she is too narrow in the hips not true, and a compliment today still it saves the lady. Poppaea the Emperor's cruel new wife, hates the maiden naturally, Tigellinus ambitious head of the Praetorian Guard, he likes to kill hates Petronius his arch- rival. Given to Marcus however with the help of Ursus, Lygia's devoted servant as big as a giant and as strong as an ox, escapes easily before reaching the tribune's house . Which so angers the lovesick Marcus nothing else matters, needs only to recover his prize, greatly effecting his health. With the assistance of Christians, including St. Peter and Paul she is well hidden. Fires break out soon after in the vast city, countless building are incinerated the illustrious capital of the world, is tumbling down. People are perishing in its flames, shooting high into the night sky, bright now as daylight, crowds are streaming out of the infernal the thick smoke , chokes the heat and flames, killing thousands winds spreading the insatiable fires. Everyone but Marcus the soldier flee, in a desperate effort to rescue his beloved enters the doomed town staggering in the hopeless search, hardly able to breath, falling but getting up he must continue the quest or die trying ... The frightened Nero, afraid of the people's wrath blames the obscure Christians for the disaster, many will bravely die in the bloody arena. The Roman masses must be appeased ! A surprisingly enchanting book which never fails to entertain the reader...

  3. 5 out of 5

    Dean

    Superb. You must have read this novel. Gripping and full steam to the heart. A wonderfull book, dont miss it. I love it so much, I cant say accuratetly how I enyoyed it.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Czarny Pies

    Quo Vadis Henry Sienkiewicz`s "Quo Vadis" is a truly great book. Unfortunately, I know best how to explain its greatness to those who like me were young in thehe 60s and 70s. If you are not part of this group, this review may not be terribly helpful. To those of you of my generation, I will say that Quo Vadis is a wonderful novel about the Roman Empire in the First Century of the modern era when Rome was entering its decadent era. It is better than anything written by Robert Graves who still must Quo Vadis Henry Sienkiewicz`s "Quo Vadis" is a truly great book. Unfortunately, I know best how to explain its greatness to those who like me were young in thehe 60s and 70s. If you are not part of this group, this review may not be terribly helpful. To those of you of my generation, I will say that Quo Vadis is a wonderful novel about the Roman Empire in the First Century of the modern era when Rome was entering its decadent era. It is better than anything written by Robert Graves who still must considered an outstanding writer. In places, it is as lurid as the Fellini's Satyricon. Published in 1895, Quo Vadis addressed the great question that had been raging in academia for the previous half century: "Why had Christianity succeeded?" Christianity was a schism of Judaism that arrived in Rome in the first half of the First Century AD and within less than three hundred years, became the official religion of the Roman Empire. Its pacifist teachings seemed entirely inappropriate for a military empire. It lacked any literature and relied entirely upon personal testimony to spread its ideas in a society that was dominated by the rich classical heritage of Plato, Aristotle and other philosophers that we continue to revere until this day. In the context of the Roman Empire, Christianity's success seemed improbable and required explanation. Sienkiewicz's explanation was that while Rome was rich and militarily powerful, the level of immorality was intolerable. The rich entertained themselves with drunken orgies while the masses went to the arenas where human beings where killed for their entertainment. Sienkiewicz might seem to be a simplistic moralizer especially to anyone who has had the misfortune to see any of the movies based on Quo Vadis. However, in Quo Vadis he shows great subtlety and an excellent knowledge of the Latin literature of the eras. Sienkiewicz's critics might argue that he too readily accepted the versions of Suetonius and Tacitus on Nero during whose reign the events of Quo Vadis take place. Suetonius and Tacitus both came from senatorial families that had suffered badly under the reign of the Nero. Hence they have been accused of exaggerating the evil nature and mental instability of Nero. Sienkiewicz, however, accepts Suetonius and Tacitus without reservation. Since these two authors are the only sources for the era, he perhaps ought not to be criticized too heavily for having done so. However, Sienkiewicz's brilliance did not come from his use of Tacitus and Suetonius but rather of Petronius Arbiter the author of the Satyricon a book generally thought to be a paean to the decadent life style. Under, Sienkiewicz's pen, Petronius becomes a man with a profound understanding of classical philosophy and a fellow traveller with the Christians. Petronius is one of Nero's courtiers. He makes the mistake of thinking that he can control Nero. Like the moth who gets too close to the flame, he perishes for being too close to the tyrant. Petronius is a profoundly sympathetic character. He is driven at all times by his love for his nephew Vinicius who falls in love with a Christian, converts and marries her. Petronius respects the Christians for their virtue but ultimately rejects Christianity because he feels that Christianity is opposed to human pleasure. Like Socrates who drinks the hemlock, Arbiter will choose the unchristian means of suicide to die when he falls out of favour with Nero and realizes that he is about to be executed. Quo Vadis then is a great novel about the tension between classical thought and the Christian religion. Strangely enough it is the pagan stoic Petronius not the Christian Vinicius who gets the last word in the novel. The problem for many readers of the 21st century is that the second half of the novel is filled with descriptions of Chrisitans being devoured by lions and massacred by gladiators in the Roman Forum. Tales of Christian martyrdom are simply considered to be in dreadful taste in today's world even if the historical record confirms that they did in fact take place. Many cultured individuals in today's Western society feel that our society should be examining its conscience about its sins: imperialism, slavery, anti-Semitism, etc. To individuals of this frame of mind, discussion of persecution of Christians appears like a self-serving way to divert attention from the many sins perpetrated by Christian societies. I personally feel that Christians should be allowed to honour their own martyrs if this done without claiming virtues for our societies that they do not possess. As a final thought, I would like to point out for non-Catholic Christians that Quo Vadis rigorously presents Christianity in its pre-Roman Catholic form. Although, Sienkiewicz was a strong adherent of the Roman Catholic Church its present form, he goes to great pains to show that early Christianity was much different. There are no priests or clergy in Quo Vadis. The early Christians simply endeavoured to follow Christ. They had beliefs but no theology. In a word, Christians of any stripe will enjoy Quo Vadis. I recommend this book highly. However, I think that one should read Petronius Arbiter's "Satyricon" first and either the "Annales" by Tacitus or the "Twelve Ceasars" by Suetonius. Without such a preparation Quo Vadis risks becoming a melodramatic tale of Christian virtue opposed to Pagan gore.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Stephen

    Great book for a retreat! Spiritually invigorating, makes one excited about the Catholic faith. It is fiction with references to standard Catholic tradition, and is set in the time of the Christian persecutions in Rome during the reign of Nero. The focus of the novel is a love story between a Roman centurion and a beautiful Christian princess-in-exile. The story's central conflict takes place in the person of the centurion's friend, who also happens to be a cultural lackey in the court of Nero. Great book for a retreat! Spiritually invigorating, makes one excited about the Catholic faith. It is fiction with references to standard Catholic tradition, and is set in the time of the Christian persecutions in Rome during the reign of Nero. The focus of the novel is a love story between a Roman centurion and a beautiful Christian princess-in-exile. The story's central conflict takes place in the person of the centurion's friend, who also happens to be a cultural lackey in the court of Nero. And there is great action provided by the princesses personal bodyguard, who probably would have been competitive in the WWF. Sienkiewicz's view of Christianity is strikingly progressive for his time. While he makes a remarkably strong effort to unite sexual desire into conversion and Christian love, there remain strong hints of 19th century romanticism. In the end we find out that Sienkiewicz's ultimate goal is not necessarily spiritual but historical. The climax of the book has St Peter making eye contact with Nero, the great transition in history marking the passing of the old worldly order to a new other-worldly order. Yes, Saints Peter and Paul do make several cameos in this story. I liked it very much.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Allthenobels

    This book was pretty terrible. As a classicist, I am deeply offended by the wooden, stereotypical rendering of Romans, even Romans during Nero's time. As a reader, I am deeply offended by the fact that very little actually happens. Sienkiewicz tells us about plenty of things, but he shows us very little. For instance, in the last third of the book, Petronius, who has been watching his nephew's slow conversion to Christianity with ironic detachment, writes him a letter talking about how much thes This book was pretty terrible. As a classicist, I am deeply offended by the wooden, stereotypical rendering of Romans, even Romans during Nero's time. As a reader, I am deeply offended by the fact that very little actually happens. Sienkiewicz tells us about plenty of things, but he shows us very little. For instance, in the last third of the book, Petronius, who has been watching his nephew's slow conversion to Christianity with ironic detachment, writes him a letter talking about how much these Christian teachings are affecting him. Why, he can hardly bring himself to beat his slaves anymore! And he even pities them sometimes! A competent author would have conveyed this information by having Petronius and his nephew, or maybe even someone else, it doesn't matter, sitting around talking. A slave walks out with a tray of eels or something and drops it. Petronius helps him clean it. His guest asks him why he didn't have the slave whipped, and the reply is something about how maybe there's something to this Christian idea of "hey, don't be a dick to people." But, unfortunately for us, Sienkiewicz was not a competent author, so we're stuck with this drivel instead.

  7. 4 out of 5

    James Henderson

    Near the end of Quo Vadis Petronius (Arbiter) writes a letter in reply to his nephew Vicinius who has fled Rome with his bride, Ligia. In the letter Petronius discusses his philosophy and his fate contrasting it with the Christian belief that Vicinius has accepted. He says: "There are only two philosophers that I care about, Pyrrho and Anacreon. You know what they stand for. The rest, along with the new Greek schools and all the Roman Stoics, you can have for the price of beans. Truth lives somew Near the end of Quo Vadis Petronius (Arbiter) writes a letter in reply to his nephew Vicinius who has fled Rome with his bride, Ligia. In the letter Petronius discusses his philosophy and his fate contrasting it with the Christian belief that Vicinius has accepted. He says: "There are only two philosophers that I care about, Pyrrho and Anacreon. You know what they stand for. The rest, along with the new Greek schools and all the Roman Stoics, you can have for the price of beans. Truth lives somewhere so high that even the gods can't see it from Olympus."(QV, p. 566) It is interesting to note that Pyrrho is noted for a philosophy of skepticism that claims the impossibility of knowledge. For him our own ignorance or doubt should induce us to withdraw into ourselves, avoiding the stress and emotion which belong to the contest of vain imaginings. This theory of the impossibility of knowledge suggests a sort of agnosticism and its ethical implications may be compared with the ideal tranquility of the Stoics and Epicureans (who were more popular among Romans). This certainly contrasts with the Christian spiritual view that emphasizes belief in the supernatural. It is a philosophy that, at least for Petronius, lets him face death unequivocally with a sort of stoicism that provides a potent example in opposition to the Christian view. It also is an example of the breadth of beliefs shown by Sienkiewicz in his portrayal of the culture and character of the Roman world. This contrast of philosophies underlies the novel and made it more interesting to me than the simple love story that it also presents. In Quo Vadis we are presented with an historical novel of depth that shows us the corruption and depravity of Nero's Rome while it presents the worlds of aesthetics and skepticism represented by Petronius and that of the young Christian sect whose believers include Peter and Paul, of biblical fame, and Ligia, the barbarian princess who becomes the focus of young Vicinius' amour. It is perhaps not a coincidence that the nineteenth century had several writers (Bulwer-Lytton, Kingsley, and Wallace) including Sienkiewicz who reacted to the prevalence of anti-christian views among the romantics (Shelley, et. al.). This is seen in the pronounced admiration for the poor Christians and the sensational nature of the culmination of the story involving the Neronic destruction of many of the Christians in terrifically brutal games. In spite of this Sienkiewicz through vivid detail creates a believable historical setting for his love story; and overcoming his biased portrayal of the Christians and the contrast with the irrationality and evil of Nero, he succeeds in telling a moving and thoughtful portrayal of Rome in the first century A.D.

  8. 5 out of 5

    booklady

    ‘Why does crime, even when as powerful as Cæsar, and assured of being beyond punishment, strive always for the appearances of truth, justice, and virtue? Why does it take the trouble? ... Why is this? What a marvelous, involuntary homage paid to virtue by evil! And know what strikes me? This, that it is done because transgression is ugly and virtue is beautiful.’ Usually stories about extremes of beauty and ugliness, great good and terrible evil tend to make us roll our eyes and squirm in our cha ‘Why does crime, even when as powerful as Cæsar, and assured of being beyond punishment, strive always for the appearances of truth, justice, and virtue? Why does it take the trouble? ... Why is this? What a marvelous, involuntary homage paid to virtue by evil! And know what strikes me? This, that it is done because transgression is ugly and virtue is beautiful.’ Usually stories about extremes of beauty and ugliness, great good and terrible evil tend to make us roll our eyes and squirm in our chairs. We think, ‘nobody is that _________ (fill in the virtue) or that __________ (fill in the vice). However, there are times in history when people have had total power over their fellows and we see clearly, ‘Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely.’ Virtue is the only check on power. Either the virtue of the head or the virtues of those they govern. That is the appeal of this novel and why despite the extremes, it is so well-loved. Quo Vadis takes place in Ancient Rome in the time of the musically-mad Emperor Nero. It primarily concerns the pagan, Marcus Vinicius, who has fallen madly in love with Lygia, raised in the house of Aulus Plautius (a general of British fame), and his wife Pomponia Graecina, as their daughter, though she was originally a Lygian captive. Unbeknownst to Vinicius, Lygia is also a Christian, a new sect at that time, though not well-understood. Wild rumors circulate concerning Christian practices. Petronius, Marcus’ uncle, tries to help Vinicius secure Lygia for his concubine, though the younger man would have been willing to marry her, he is so completely besotted with her. This misguided effort sets off a series of unfortunate events which drive the two young people farther and farther apart. Meanwhile, we are introduced to the debaucheries of Nero’s ‘court’, his ‘assembly of ruffians and scoundrels’, buffoons, and so-called friends, including Petronius. We are also made aware of the growing presence of Christians in the Roman capital, mostly fictional, but also the real Sts. Peter and Paul. The novel thrives on irony, some subtle, some blatant. Petronius is the master manipulator. He alone seems to know how to ‘appreciate’ Nero’s verses, his musical ‘genius’ and compliment him in a way so ridiculously fawning only Nero’s ego could possibly believe such praise. One particular example: Nero, however, inquired in a honeyed voice, in which more or less deeply wounded vanity was quivering,— “What defect dost thou find in them?” “Do not believe them,” said Petronius, attacking him, and pointing to those present; “they understand nothing. Thou hast asked what defect there is in thy verses. If thou desire truth, I will tell thee. Thy verses would be worthy of Virgil, of Ovid, even of Homer, but they are not worthy of thee. Thou art not free to write such. The conflagration described by thee does not blaze enough; thy fire is not hot enough. Listen not to Lucan’s flatteries. Had he written those verses, I should acknowledge him a genius, but thy case is different. And know thou why? Thou art greater than they. From him who is gifted of the gods as thou art, more is demanded. But thou art slothful,—thou wouldst rather sleep after dinner than sit to wrinkles. Thou canst create a work such as the world has not heard of to this day; hence I tell thee to thy eyes, write better!” And he said this carelessly, as if bantering and also chiding; but Cæsar’s eyes were mist-covered from delight.’ For all that I enjoyed Petronius, Chilo was still the most interesting character study. He is thoroughly despicable in the beginning—in every way imaginable. His weaselly, groveling lies are despicably admirable; even more to see him caught in them. Then as the story progresses, and he seems to reach new levels of depravity something of the evil miasma all around him begins to have its affect, or was it the remembered kindness the Christians showed him? Chilo is worth watching. Yes, it is a romance, but so much more. A glimpse of early Christianity, Roman life, and a close-up portrait of Nero and his reign. Excellent dialogue, history, a great classic! November 15, 2005: One of my favorite works of historical fiction...I just wish I remembered the entirety of the story better. Guess I need to reread.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Dean

    This is actually my second time reading this awesome timeless masterpice!!! Here you have a great lovestory, then also a historic novel and also a political thriller .. Let me put it this way: "Quo Vadis" will blow you away!!! Also it's not a cliche that I say: I coud not put it down.. This novel simple is indeed so good that I had to get on reading even although with itching eyes and tired!!! "Quo Vadis" will enhance and inspire your faith as a christian, but even if you are not yet a christian you This is actually my second time reading this awesome timeless masterpice!!! Here you have a great lovestory, then also a historic novel and also a political thriller .. Let me put it this way: "Quo Vadis" will blow you away!!! Also it's not a cliche that I say: I coud not put it down.. This novel simple is indeed so good that I had to get on reading even although with itching eyes and tired!!! "Quo Vadis" will enhance and inspire your faith as a christian, but even if you are not yet a christian you shoudn't ommit this literary jewel and bereave yourself in this way!!! At the end of the day it's up to you, but let me tell you that if you want to advance your literary skills and at the same time are willing to let you sweep away by this powerful narration, then you have clearly only one choice to make: read it!!! For my part I can say that I was raptured to another estrange and perilous world, Nero and his delusions.. a murder and also an antichrist, his hands full of innocent blood!!! This novel, like the "Titanic" is also an allegory to our present time in various levels and ways.. Our society sadly to say is also marked by a chronic injustice and much bloodshed !! Also we have the so called elite which live in their delusions and artificial world!!! So, yes!!! a great novel indeed.. it hasn't lost the power of his voice to our present reality.. I want to conclude by saying that I love "Quo Vadis" by Sienkiewicz, this novel it's much more than a mere classic, it's an event with the inner dwelling power of transforming your consciosness and awareness.. After reading "Quo Vadis" you will see things in different ways because of your growing realization and awareness!!! So, yes, five stars and to all my goodreads friends: Happy reading..l!!! Dean;D

  10. 4 out of 5

    Erica

    Clearly capturing the depravity of man while outlining the persecution of the early church, Quo Vadis vividly depicts first century life in the Roman Empire for slave, centurion, and emperor. As Sienkiewicz's final display of descriptive prowess, at the climax he floods his readers' senses with the evidence of a smoldering Rome. I've never been so tantalized by antiquity than after reading this historical fiction. All the while reading a bit like a best seller and not an epic novel from the 1800' Clearly capturing the depravity of man while outlining the persecution of the early church, Quo Vadis vividly depicts first century life in the Roman Empire for slave, centurion, and emperor. As Sienkiewicz's final display of descriptive prowess, at the climax he floods his readers' senses with the evidence of a smoldering Rome. I've never been so tantalized by antiquity than after reading this historical fiction. All the while reading a bit like a best seller and not an epic novel from the 1800's.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Gisela Pérez

    Marvellously written , Quo Vadis is an epic from the times of the first Christians and the fall of Nero's Rome. A stark contrast between Rome's way of life among decadent celebrations, pan et circenses, orgies and sycophantic adepts to Nero's madness, slavery and class distinction and that of the first Christians practicing austerity, compassion and aiming at a classless society. Vitinius transformation due to the redeeming power of love leads him to embrace Christ and reject the life he had pre Marvellously written , Quo Vadis is an epic from the times of the first Christians and the fall of Nero's Rome. A stark contrast between Rome's way of life among decadent celebrations, pan et circenses, orgies and sycophantic adepts to Nero's madness, slavery and class distinction and that of the first Christians practicing austerity, compassion and aiming at a classless society. Vitinius transformation due to the redeeming power of love leads him to embrace Christ and reject the life he had previously known.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Jeannette Nikolova

    Also available on the WondrousBooks blog. Technically, the rating I would give Quo Vadis is 3.5, but I feel like 4 full stars would be misleading. I've been living in Poland for a year now, and Quo Vadis is certainly the most famous piece of literature that came out of this country. Despite being written in 1894, this book is as much in line with the Polish mindset, as it was 124 years ago. That is to say, Quo Vadis, in its essence is a praise to Christianity in its most basic and purest form. Also available on the WondrousBooks blog. Technically, the rating I would give Quo Vadis is 3.5, but I feel like 4 full stars would be misleading. I've been living in Poland for a year now, and Quo Vadis is certainly the most famous piece of literature that came out of this country. Despite being written in 1894, this book is as much in line with the Polish mindset, as it was 124 years ago. That is to say, Quo Vadis, in its essence is a praise to Christianity in its most basic and purest form. Sienkiewicz is undoubtedly a great writer. The style of Quo Vadis is very sophisticated without being overly philosophical and complicated. Both the writing and the ideas of the book are easily accessible to any reader, and yet, the writing is very beautiful and poetical. On the other hand, I see that this book would appeal to a certain type of crowd and it might not be as enthralling for others. I started reading it without knowing anything about the theme, and therefore, I did not have the opportunity to feel prejudiced or doubtful. Now, as I mentioned, Quo Vadis is a book which leans heavily on religion. It glorifies and idealizes Christianity to a point it might become burdensome to a reader who is not as engaged with religion. And the issue here is not that the book lies, or preaches fake morale, on the contrary, it spreads the original version of the New Testament Christianity - love to all, forgiveness for all, good deeds and compassion. It would be a lie if I said that Sienkiewicz urges people to do anything else, because he really does underline the importance of the goodness in people. However, a critical mind can't help but take not only the contents of the book, but also the reality of religion in consideration. Yes, in terms of this book, the author does not say anything of the bad things which have emerged from Christianity, and yes, maybe the world would be a better place if Christians actually followed the true pillars of their religion. But this experiment has been going on for 2000 years, and just as the followers of the Greek and Roman gods, who are greatly demonized in Quo Vadis, have done bad deeds, so have Christians. In fact, no other religion has ever been deadlier. Therefore, I would just accept the sermons in the book without mentioning them, if the book itself was written at a time no one knew where this religion would ultimately lead. Unfortunately, Quo Vadis was written in the 19th century, and Sienkiewicz knew very well that just as Nero was torturing Christians in his book, so did Christians torture, maim and kill countless people in the times of the Crusades, the Inquisition and the witch hunts, even up to our times, and not to even mention issues such as molestation, abortion, and so on. And I know that it might be unjust to bring this up in terms of this particular book, but this is the context of the philosophy of the book, and no matter how much I wished it was possible to take everything out of context, because it would be so much clear, that is not the situation, and when we form an opinion about something, we need to look into the background, as well. That set aside, I would say that Quo Vadis, as a narrative and story, was very engaging and even enticing, because one could anticipate historical events which were made part of the book. Most of all, I enjoyed the final scene of St Peter, as the historical event was beautifully interwoven within the book and as a glimpse both at the future of Nero, but also at the future of Italy and the Vatican much, much later. Actually it was St Peter that was my favourite character in the book overall. He stood aside the romantic events of Vinicius and Lygia's lives and was the symbol of the purest form of faith that one can have. As I mentioned above, if Christians did believe, as he did, wholeheartedly and with absolute devotion, the world but be amazing, wouldn't it?

  13. 5 out of 5

    Josephine (Jo)

    I have just read this book for the third time in my life and still enjoyed it just as much as I did on first reading it in the late 1960s. It is a novel that is set in Rome during the reign of Emperor Nero. And tells the story of the patrician Vinitius and the Christian girl Ligia. The new 'sect' of Christianity is blamed for the burning of Rome and the Christians become convenient scapegoats for the mad Nero who sets out on a campaign of the most horrific torture and murder of anyone who dares I have just read this book for the third time in my life and still enjoyed it just as much as I did on first reading it in the late 1960s. It is a novel that is set in Rome during the reign of Emperor Nero. And tells the story of the patrician Vinitius and the Christian girl Ligia. The new 'sect' of Christianity is blamed for the burning of Rome and the Christians become convenient scapegoats for the mad Nero who sets out on a campaign of the most horrific torture and murder of anyone who dares to admit to following Christ. After his baptism, Vinitius tries to persuade Peter the Apostle to leave Rome with him and Ligia but Peter says that he cannot abandon his flock. Later when finally he is persuaded to leave by Paul, Peter sees a vision of the risen Lord going in the direction of Rome and he asks Christ 'Quo Vadis Domine?' (Where are you going, Lord) Jesus replies 'When you desert my people, I am going back to Rome to be crucified a second time.' A boy called Nazarius who is accompanying Peter cannot see the vision and when Peter turns around and starts to walk the boy, in turn, asks 'Quo Vadis Domine' (Where are you going sir?) 'To Rome,' Peter answers in a low voice. I only re read this again because I so much enjoyed The Blood Of The Martyrs by Naomi Mitchison, it is very similar and they are both fantastic reads

  14. 4 out of 5

    Andrew

    I know this should be obvious, but the "Da Vinci Code" fury requires that I do mention this: these kinds of books ought to be read for what they are, novels, works of fiction, and not narrative-style histories. If books are read according to their genre, they'll be far more enjoyable and less likely to stir stupid controversy. "Quo Vadis" isn't a history, then, but a work of historical fiction. If you're familiar with the 1951 film starring Deborah Kerr, Robert Taylor and Peter Ustinov, you shoul I know this should be obvious, but the "Da Vinci Code" fury requires that I do mention this: these kinds of books ought to be read for what they are, novels, works of fiction, and not narrative-style histories. If books are read according to their genre, they'll be far more enjoyable and less likely to stir stupid controversy. "Quo Vadis" isn't a history, then, but a work of historical fiction. If you're familiar with the 1951 film starring Deborah Kerr, Robert Taylor and Peter Ustinov, you should most definitely acquaint yourself with the book. It's the story of a Roman patrician, Marcus Vinicius, who falls madly in love with Lygia, a hostage of Rome adopted as the daughter of a Roman general. The story takes place against the backdrop of Nero's bloody reign as emperor and the initial rise of Christianity in the first century. The film largely focuses on the individual love story. However, the book's particular focus is on the spiritual journey of Vinicius from typical pleasure-loving Roman to new believer in Christ. The portrayal of Christians and Christianity in the book is largely through a Roman Catholic filter, as would be expected from the book's Polish author. It's a fascinating, brutal portrayal of early Christianity as a growing, but deeply suspicious movement. While every other aspect of the book is highly romanticized, the portrayal of Christianity is very serious and void of romanticism. I particularly recommend it to any evangelical reader of contemporary Christian fiction: I think it's serious treatment of the problem of evil, why God doesn't always answer every single prayer, and other issues usually avoided by saccharine, sentimentalized evangelicalism. I think people unfamiliar with Christianity might enjoy it as well, but I particularly recommend it to people who - whether believers or non-believers - think they have the Church and Christianity entirely figured out already. There's no hard-hitting, in-your-face agenda in a way that sacrifices story for ideology. The book is not trying to make a Christian out of everybody, though it's pretty clear that the author highly encourages those who think they know everything about this religion to think again.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Lady Clementina ffinch-ffarowmore

    "Nero fiddled while Rome Burned"-Quo Vadis builds on one of the more horrifying rumours of the tale behind this famous expression, in this story of love and faith in Nero's Rome. More horrifying are his descriptions of the gladiator games and "punishments" that Nero devised which are perhaps closer to the truth- and many shades worse than their modern interpretation in Suzanne Collins' Hunger Games. But amidst the excesses and horrors of life in Rome, there is also faith and love that brings to "Nero fiddled while Rome Burned"-Quo Vadis builds on one of the more horrifying rumours of the tale behind this famous expression, in this story of love and faith in Nero's Rome. More horrifying are his descriptions of the gladiator games and "punishments" that Nero devised which are perhaps closer to the truth- and many shades worse than their modern interpretation in Suzanne Collins' Hunger Games. But amidst the excesses and horrors of life in Rome, there is also faith and love that brings to Lygia and Vinicius happiness at last but to most others the strength to face even the worst. But because this was a story of faith, I think, Lygia and Vinicius end up having to face far more adversity than well, they would have ordinarily (in a more "storybook" story that is). [And now my review has ended up sounding very different from what I'd intended!]

  16. 5 out of 5

    Ana

    I still think I was too young when I read this.. I think I was about eleven, and this is surely not a lecture for a kid. Still, after all these years, the expression Quo vadis, Domine? remains embroidered into my brain, with no way of escaping. I don't know why it made such a great impression on me, but I do believe that this is must-read for everyone, a great classic in world literature. I still think I was too young when I read this.. I think I was about eleven, and this is surely not a lecture for a kid. Still, after all these years, the expression Quo vadis, Domine? remains embroidered into my brain, with no way of escaping. I don't know why it made such a great impression on me, but I do believe that this is must-read for everyone, a great classic in world literature.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Mary-jane

    Emperor,Ancient Rome,Nobles and Slaves and above all a Latin title.Deus librorum audivit mea supplicia!

  18. 4 out of 5

    Hazeanni

    What an epic reading journey! For this 2nd reading, I'm more satisfied than before. I had a better concentration, absorption and understanding of the setting and storyline. A bit of background. Quo Vadis was a love story set during the reign of Nero, amid the decadent of the Imperial Court of Rome and a new religious wave, brought by the arrival of Apostle Peter and Paul of Tarsus. The main protagonist, a pagan Marcus Vinicius (fictional) was a son of a Roman Consul by the same name (historical). What an epic reading journey! For this 2nd reading, I'm more satisfied than before. I had a better concentration, absorption and understanding of the setting and storyline. A bit of background. Quo Vadis was a love story set during the reign of Nero, amid the decadent of the Imperial Court of Rome and a new religious wave, brought by the arrival of Apostle Peter and Paul of Tarsus. The main protagonist, a pagan Marcus Vinicius (fictional) was a son of a Roman Consul by the same name (historical). His maternal uncle, Gaius Petronius (historical), was the Arbiter of Elegance; a favorite of the infamous Emperor Nero (historical) who valued his advice. Vinicius love interest Lygia (fictional), was placed under the care of Aulus Platius (historical), a retired army general. Vinicius seek assistance from uncle Petronius to get Lygia transferred to his household. He needed approval to do so, as she was held hostage by the senate. She was the daughter of a king whose state being conquered by the empire during previous war. This lady was a secret Christian. Could love win? During 1st century AD, Christian being dubbed as a religion of poor Romans by the imperial court; considered heretic. Converts risked persecution and various threats. Originally, Quo Vadis first published as a daily series in the newspaper Gazeta Polska from March 1895 till Feb 1896. This was a normal practice at that time for authors to first released their works in daily, weekly or monthly publication. Book format will be released few months after the last installment if public reception was encouraging. Quo Vadis had brought unprecedented success to Henryk Sienkiewicz. The ultimate saw him being awarded with Nobel prize for literature in 1905 for his outstanding merit as an epic author. A centenary after his death, Polish parliament voted to declared 2016 as the year of Henryk Sienkiewicz. The main reason I rated this 5 stars is because, I admire his ingenuity and skills in writing this masterpiece. A genius epic writing craftsman. The author developed plots and storyline involving various historical personages that weaved very smoothly and logically within historical events that blurred the border between facts and fiction. Seamlessly. That's deserved my standing ovation. Without doubt, Quo Vadis has a strong Christian theme. It presented early Roman Christianity in its simplicity with strong elements of forgiveness, compassion, love, patient, and courage. Without conspiracy. Denomination neutral. It's originally written in Polish. To date, there's more than 2000 translated Quo Vadis in various languages. Choose your version wisely as this is a very long story. It needed commitment. Pick one with language style that appeal to you. Make sure it has footnotes as it is needed to understand various Latin terms and historical context. Mine is a synthesized translation by Dr Joe Wheeler. It's a more current version of language style. While stay true to the soul and beauty of the oldest English translation by Jeremiah Curtin, who happened to be a friend to the great author Henryk Sienkiewicz.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Sud666

    Henryk Adam Aleksander Pius Sienkiewicz lived from 1846-1916. A famous Polish novelist he won international fame for "Quo Vadis". "Quo Vadis" means "Where are you going?", though the full phrase is "Quo Vadis, Domine?" or "Where are you going, Lord?". It is a novel about the time of Nero. The main point of the story is the love between Lygia and Vinicius. Lygia is the daughter of a Roman Client King and is in Rome as a hostage. Vinicius is a Roman Tribune. If that isn't enough of an issue, Lydia Henryk Adam Aleksander Pius Sienkiewicz lived from 1846-1916. A famous Polish novelist he won international fame for "Quo Vadis". "Quo Vadis" means "Where are you going?", though the full phrase is "Quo Vadis, Domine?" or "Where are you going, Lord?". It is a novel about the time of Nero. The main point of the story is the love between Lygia and Vinicius. Lygia is the daughter of a Roman Client King and is in Rome as a hostage. Vinicius is a Roman Tribune. If that isn't enough of an issue, Lydia is a Christian. This then is the story of Nero's madness, the rise of Christianity and the eventual burning of Rome and the persecution of the Christians. With this as the background, the two lovers must overcome a great deal of difficulty to survive the purges of Nero. The story is vast and I enjoyed the way the story started. While the entire story is well written and a pleasure to read, the entire book is very pro-Christian (though in this case, it'd be Catholic). To the point it can get annoying reading pages devoted to the "love of Christ". It is ironic that the underpinnings of Christianity are no more real than the Roman gods, the devotion level is not the same. The sheer silliness of the logic- Peter saw Jesus and the miracles ad Peter said it so it must be true. Not to mention the endless bloviation on the benefits of Christianity and how the world's troubles will go away as soon as worldly rulers are Christian. Uh-Huh. Sure. But, it is idiotic to expect a Polish writer of the late 1800's NOT being heavily Catholic. Thus do factor that in. Lygia is not much of a character other than being used as a foil to promote Christianity. Vinicius is a dolt. A terrible person who converts to get the girl and I think it's doubtful he would have stayed converted if Lygia had died. But it is in the figure of Gaius Petronius the "Arbiter of Elegance", where I found a historical figure that I loved. In real history he is considered the author of "Satyricon" and was known as the "arbiter elegantiarum" or "Arbiter of Elegance". Petronius' intellect, as well as his superb "devil may care" attitude is praiseworthy. By far the most interesting of the characters, save mad Nero himself. In comparison to the mental disorders of Nero, the religious fanaticism and nuttery of the Christians and the general corruption of Rome- he stands apart. Both in character and diction, his love of the good things yet tastefully is inspirational. I found his passionate refutal of Christianity and why he has no desire to indulge in it prior to his death, stands as far more testament to humanity than the feeble gibbering lies of the Christian characters. A very interesting tale and a well written one. The overwhelming level of Chritianity, this reads almost like a Cathloic pamphlet, can be offputting, but the book is truly an interesting pleasure. I shall explore more of Sienkiewicz's works such as his trilogy on Polish history and his book on the Teutonic Knights.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Kay Robart

    I was frankly uninterested in either Vinicius or Ligia, who are cardboard characters, and I couldn’t care less about whether they got together. I know that Quo Vadis was extremely popular in its time (it was published in 1896) and contributed toward Sienkiewicz winning the Nobel Prize for Literature. I also know that Sienkiewicz was capable of creating more interesting characters and writing more exciting scenes. Perhaps the times have just changed too much since this book was written for it to I was frankly uninterested in either Vinicius or Ligia, who are cardboard characters, and I couldn’t care less about whether they got together. I know that Quo Vadis was extremely popular in its time (it was published in 1896) and contributed toward Sienkiewicz winning the Nobel Prize for Literature. I also know that Sienkiewicz was capable of creating more interesting characters and writing more exciting scenes. Perhaps the times have just changed too much since this book was written for it to appeal to a wide audience now. See my complete review here: http://whatmeread.wordpress.com/tag/q...

  21. 4 out of 5

    ☘Misericordia☘ ⚡ϟ⚡⛈⚡☁ ❇️❤❣

    read it in polish original

  22. 4 out of 5

    K.D. Absolutely

    Rome under the rule of emperor Nero, AD 64. The Polish author, Henryk Sienkiewicz (1846-1916), went to Rome to observed for a couple of years during the writing of this book (published as a book in 1896). He won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1905. Quo vadis is Latin for "Where are you going?" and alludes to a New Testament verse (John 13:36). The verse, in the King James Version, reads as follows, "Simon Peter said unto him, Lord, whither goest thou? Jesus answered him, Whither I go, thou ca Rome under the rule of emperor Nero, AD 64. The Polish author, Henryk Sienkiewicz (1846-1916), went to Rome to observed for a couple of years during the writing of this book (published as a book in 1896). He won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1905. Quo vadis is Latin for "Where are you going?" and alludes to a New Testament verse (John 13:36). The verse, in the King James Version, reads as follows, "Simon Peter said unto him, Lord, whither goest thou? Jesus answered him, Whither I go, thou canst not follow me now; but thou shalt follow me afterwards." In the story, Peter went back to Rome, sacrificed himself that resulted to the triumph of Christianity. The story mainly revolves around a number of characters: Marcus Vinicius a patrician soldier who is a nephew of Nero's right hand and former governor of Bithynia, C. Petrocius. Vinicius fell in love with a beautiful Christian lady, Lygia who is a hostage of the Roman empire. The wife of Nero, Poppaea Sabina tries to make a pass on Vinicius who despises her. Hurt, Poppaea Sabina makes Lygia's life in the palace like a hell. Ultimately, Lygia was put in jail for being a Christian. At that time in Rome, being a believer of Christ is punishable by cruel death. In the book, there are scenes when the Christians are made to wear clothes made of animal skins and put in the gladiator arena. Then the emperor and the spectators release the different wild animals from hungry dogs and lions to boars, bears, etc. There is also another type of watch-for-fun game when Christians are put in the same arena and they are killed by the Roman gladiators in any kind of weapon that they could think of. Those scenes are really depressing and although I watched movies similarly set during this time like Gladiators, Ben Hur, etc., the way Sienkiewicz captured the scenes in the book is really breathtaking and it was enough for me to have fewer nights of sleep during this Holy Week. On the plus side, the characters of the old St. Peter and St. Paul were a delight to read. We all know their lives as two of the 12 disciples of Jesus as narrated in the Holy Bible. However, in this book, they are already old and converting many Roman citizens to Christian fold like the lovers Lygia and Marcus Vinicius. Their faith is steadfast and their sermon and messages are clear and nice to reflect on. It is like having to know a part of their twilight years when Christianity was finally spreading in Rome and throughout the world. The only difficulty I have reading this book is my limited knowledge of Ancient Rome. There are many words and terminologies that I had to look up to in the dictionary or Google. It made my reading slower. However, I did not regret spending 6 days on this book as it is one of the things that made my Holy Week this year more meaningful and memorable.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Shala Howell

    Note: glancing at the reviews below, the translation you read really seems to matter here. The Version I read was by Jeremiah Curtin. I thought it was fascinating. Very much enjoyed the tensions between the decadence of Nero, the aestheticism of Petronius, and the early schisms in the interpretations of Christian faith as represented by the Apostle Peter, the bishop Crispus, and Paul of Tarsus. The love story was tangential for me. I was far more interested in the machinations at court and the ri Note: glancing at the reviews below, the translation you read really seems to matter here. The Version I read was by Jeremiah Curtin. I thought it was fascinating. Very much enjoyed the tensions between the decadence of Nero, the aestheticism of Petronius, and the early schisms in the interpretations of Christian faith as represented by the Apostle Peter, the bishop Crispus, and Paul of Tarsus. The love story was tangential for me. I was far more interested in the machinations at court and the rising conflict between the Christian philosophy and the societal structure of the Roman Empire. Oh, and Petronius' last letter to vinicius is masterful. As was the description of the great fire of Rome. Finally, I should probably add that I read a lot of books written in the 1800s on a fairly regular basis, so slower pacing plotwise doesn't faze me. The second half of the book (post Rome burning) is much more engrossing plotwise than the first.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Dana

    I think this is the first book I ever read that upon finishing the last page I immediately wanted to start over again on page 1. A captivating story, well written, with a lot to think about. A fascinating look into Rome and the early Christians. My favorite aspect of the book was the conversion of the main character and the way he changes over the course of the book. I also found myself really loving the character of Petronius and wanting to stop and pray for his salvation! I don't want to say a I think this is the first book I ever read that upon finishing the last page I immediately wanted to start over again on page 1. A captivating story, well written, with a lot to think about. A fascinating look into Rome and the early Christians. My favorite aspect of the book was the conversion of the main character and the way he changes over the course of the book. I also found myself really loving the character of Petronius and wanting to stop and pray for his salvation! I don't want to say anymore because some of my loved ones have not yet finished this book. This is definitely in my top ten fiction books of all time list.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Michael Perkins

    I need to mention up-front that I am style-sensitive, and that's always a factor in my assessment of fiction. I have come to rue the fact that I know I am missing something good in certain books because something has been lost in translation. When I encounter this, I can keeping going if I feel I am understanding what's going on. If not, I have to desist. This book was originally written in Polish. The translation into English does not seem to have to come off well. The sentence structure was very I need to mention up-front that I am style-sensitive, and that's always a factor in my assessment of fiction. I have come to rue the fact that I know I am missing something good in certain books because something has been lost in translation. When I encounter this, I can keeping going if I feel I am understanding what's going on. If not, I have to desist. This book was originally written in Polish. The translation into English does not seem to have to come off well. The sentence structure was very awkward to the point that, sometimes, I could not understand what was meant and, needless to say, there was no rhythm in the writing.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Simon

    This may be the worst book I have ever read that didn't have the words "Danielle Steele" somewhere on the cover . ..until you hit the description of Nero's burning of Rome. For about 30 pages it is terrific, and then reverts back to some of the worst prose and suppressed erotic perversity I have ever laid eyes upon. Those nutty early Christians spend a LOT of time looking at golden-haired maidens in diaphanous gowns, and there is a moment where Petronius has his slave Eunice whipped instead of d This may be the worst book I have ever read that didn't have the words "Danielle Steele" somewhere on the cover . ..until you hit the description of Nero's burning of Rome. For about 30 pages it is terrific, and then reverts back to some of the worst prose and suppressed erotic perversity I have ever laid eyes upon. Those nutty early Christians spend a LOT of time looking at golden-haired maidens in diaphanous gowns, and there is a moment where Petronius has his slave Eunice whipped instead of dosing her with saltpeter that is just . . .wow.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Marcus

    It is obvious that Henryk Sienkiewicz was an expert first century Rome. The city and the monarchy come alive in Quo Vadis in an amazingly tangible way. Even though not all the events are historically accurate, I don't see how a better job could be done of recreating the time and place.  The description of the Roman circus with its gladiators and Christian massacres is the strongest section of the book. It is awful. I hadn't thought more than superficially about what went on in the ampitheatres bu It is obvious that Henryk Sienkiewicz was an expert first century Rome. The city and the monarchy come alive in Quo Vadis in an amazingly tangible way. Even though not all the events are historically accurate, I don't see how a better job could be done of recreating the time and place.  The description of the Roman circus with its gladiators and Christian massacres is the strongest section of the book. It is awful. I hadn't thought more than superficially about what went on in the ampitheatres but after reading this, it is clear to me that any complaining about how morals are worse now than ever can easily be answered by referring to the Romans. Two thousand years ago, shortly after the death of Christ, humanity had already plumbed the  depths of depravity. How does a society get to the point where the slaughter and violation of women and children whose only crime is their religion is viewed as acceptable entertainment? Gladiators are vaguely comprehensible to me. I can see how a people that prizes strength and valor in war could come to idolize it to the point of recreating it artificially in games; it's sick but understandable. But when it comes to releasing men, women and children to be torn apart by animals while thousands of onlookers enjoy the spectical, it is hard to see how that can be justified in any context. It is strange that the famous philosophers and historians of Rome weren't more vocal in condemning the arena. Was life really so little valued? Are people really so easily blinded by their surroundings? Outside the descriptions of damnatio ad bestias, Quo Vadis has its moments but it repeatedly comes close to greatness without ever really reaching it. The primary focus of the plot, the love story between Marcus Vinicius and Ligia, is melodramatic and sometimes so overdone that it is almost nauseating. At other times in the story there is compelling and real relationship there, but it is overshadowed by the prevailing sappiness. Early Christians are portrayed as the embodiment of "turn the other cheek" and "lambs to the slaughter," completely unwilling, even when able, to defend themselves. Maybe that's how they were, I don't know. Either way, it makes for a frustrating story. Thinking about the book while writing this review makes me realize that Quo Vadis is impressive for the amount of information it conveys about Rome, Nero and the environment of early Christianity. Maybe it deserves another star, but I didn't read it for the history, I read it for the story and the story is definitely only 3 stars.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Adam Marischuk

    This book won a nobel prize in literature back when nobel prizes in literature actually meant something. It initiated a style of historical epic novel that has been often imitated and never duplicated. To compare it to the movie Braveheart does the novel a disservice though both are epics of the first order. Unfortunately for me, I had read Wilbur Smith's River God before reading Quo Vadis and after reading Quo Vadis, I felt like I had seen the movie before reading the book. River God must have b This book won a nobel prize in literature back when nobel prizes in literature actually meant something. It initiated a style of historical epic novel that has been often imitated and never duplicated. To compare it to the movie Braveheart does the novel a disservice though both are epics of the first order. Unfortunately for me, I had read Wilbur Smith's River God before reading Quo Vadis and after reading Quo Vadis, I felt like I had seen the movie before reading the book. River God must have been inspired by Quo Vadis but Sienkiewicz's strength is the truth while Smith plays with an invented history. Sienkiewicz masterfully transports the reader to the time of Nero and the persecution of the early Christian community. The book gives an accurate sense of the age. I can only think of a negative with which to compare it to: remember watching old hollywood classics where the background seems like a stage production, something between movie and theatre? Well, this book is the opposite. The historical background is so vivid and well-integrated that Sienkiewicz could have won the nobel for writing history instead of literature (if Nobel prizes for history existed). Petronius, a Roman nobleman has many parallels in history but the ones who leap to my mind are Boethius, Abelard and Thomas More for some reason. Perhaps it is the romantic aspects mixed with service, loyalty and suffering. The characters come to life, history and the big questions about life (romance, meaning, love in all forms, sacrafice, belonging, God) all come together by an expert craftsman.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Nooilforpacifists

    The title tips the ending--as the author intended. A great story told in too many words; written in 1895 -- the author won a Literature Nobel -- a modern editor would have cut a third while losing little. Still, the main thesis blazes through…which I won't spoil. But most of the characters were cardboard: Petronius, Nero and St. Peter (perhaps) aside. The lead characters are young lovers; the promise of a detective story in the "fish symbol" she draws in the ground at their first meeting all too The title tips the ending--as the author intended. A great story told in too many words; written in 1895 -- the author won a Literature Nobel -- a modern editor would have cut a third while losing little. Still, the main thesis blazes through…which I won't spoil. But most of the characters were cardboard: Petronius, Nero and St. Peter (perhaps) aside. The lead characters are young lovers; the promise of a detective story in the "fish symbol" she draws in the ground at their first meeting all too quickly revealed--the mystery solved. There's a "Rosencrantz and Guildenstern" single character; yet he's no comic Thereafter it's a race between Christians, lions, and lucky and simple (in every sense of the word) who want to escape from the grander of Rome for a hardscrabble peace in a quiet corner of the Mediterranean. The twists turn on whether that's possible. The great merit here is the early and accurate recognition that the teachings of Christianity were the enemy of the Roman Empire--so much so that the two could not live side-by-side.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Kirsti

    Christians! Lions! Romans! O r g i e s! Mayhem! Wow! I can see why this book has been translated into more than 50 languages. Although it was originally published in 1895, it doesn't seem dated. The plot moves quickly (even frantically sometimes), and I thought the main characters were well developed. Because this book is in the public domain, you can read it for free via Project Gutenberg (www.gutenberg.org) or BookBot (book-bot.com). Christians! Lions! Romans! O r g i e s! Mayhem! Wow! I can see why this book has been translated into more than 50 languages. Although it was originally published in 1895, it doesn't seem dated. The plot moves quickly (even frantically sometimes), and I thought the main characters were well developed. Because this book is in the public domain, you can read it for free via Project Gutenberg (www.gutenberg.org) or BookBot (book-bot.com).

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