Under Tiberius, by Nick Tosches (Boston: Little, Brown and Company, 2015, ISBN 978-0316405669). 336 pp. Hardcover, $26.00.
As Under Tiberius draws to a close, its narrator, Gaius Fulvius Falconius, knows he is dying. Bedridden and in pain, Falconius holds no hope for an afterlife. And though he sees the world that he is about to depart as one where culpability and forgiveness “are mere fancies," Falconius finds that he is haunted by both. “Such was the end of my friend," he laments, invoking the man, now long dead, once his coconspirator, of whom his story is told. “He is dust, as I soon will be ashes, unremembered." That man, whom with the power of oratory Falconius had groomed from a petty thief into an illusion to which others had “offered up their purses as eagerly as they offered up their souls," was Jesus of Nazareth.