I truly enjoyed this novel. I did not feel that it was necessary to have begun the series with the first installment, I did not and never felt that I was at any disadvantage because I had begun the series with the second installment. Colossus begins as Nero is wielding his particular type of ruthlessness amongst the citizens of Rome and David does a splendid job weaving not only the well to do Romans within his narrative, but he also includes the Israelites, currently held as slaves within the Roman empire. I suppose in the end I took away from my reading the idea that somehow, someway life carries on. Citizen's, whether free or not, forge a life for themselves, hold onto their own religious or personal beliefs, find love for others and carve out a life for themselves. To this reader it was this that was the moral of the story. No matter how strange, debased, violent, oppressive and corrupt the rule of Rome and the Caesar's became the citizens, all of them, persevered. Of course, the details of the excesses of Nero, the politics which brought about four emperors in a year were rivetingly interesting, nearly nail biting in each's melodramatic crescendo, but in the end still it was a novel which emphasized that the fabric holding society together was the bond of family, as prone to intransigence and imperfect as it is - it is nevertheless the building block of all civilization.