Though the first one hundred or so pages are a bit difficult to muddle through, the authors character development is such that the balance of the book is a delight. Historical figure Nero's mad egocentrism and Petronius' satiric manipulation of him were my favorites. The love interest couple can be tedious but even there, Vinicius' conversion to Christianity from a haughty and cruel aristocrat is well done.
The descriptions of the myriad tortures of the early Christians are surprisingly realistic for such an old book. Even though it may seem to some dated, this book well deserves the Nobel Prize for Literature it won in the early 1900s. I was very pleasantly surprised.