Saturday, December 13, 2003

Trajan & Plotina: A Review

Novel by David Corson
Review by Irene Hahn

Based on Julian Bennett's excellent imperial biography Trajan: Optimus Princeps, the novel is a fount of information about the reign of Trajan. However, it is curiously lifeless at times. This may be due to the characters of Trajan and Plotina, which do not lend themselves to much drama or tension, especially as Mr. Corson chose to ignore ancient gossip about Plotina and Hadrian, and accepts Plotina's quiescence to a sexually unfulfilled marriage. Had he not done this, the story might have had a bit more spark. Among the other characters, only Hadrian comes through as a more complex personality.

The author unfortunately passed away during the--apparently--final draft stage of the book, and the book was published by iUnverse, and thus lacked an attentive editor, who might have tightened the story somewhat.

Nonetheless, for those readers interested in Trajan and his times without wanting to plod their way through a learned biography, the book should be a good read.

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