In Augustus, his third great novel, John Williams took on an entirely new challenge, a historical narrative set in classical
Rome, exploring the life of the founder of the Roman Empire. To tell the story, Williams turned to the epistolary novel, a
genre that was new to him, transforming and transcending it just as he did the western in Butcher s Crossing and the campus
novel in Stoner. Augustus is the final triumph of a writer who has cometo be recognized around the world as an American master."