by Robert Harris Book : Fiction  |  1st Simon & Schuster hardcover ed
In this sequel to Imperium, Cicero has been elevated to a one-year position of Consul, the highest elected political office during Rome's republican period. Told from the point of view of Tiro, Cicero's slave and secretary, this novel is the story of that year. The backdrop is Rome 63 B.C.E., a time of political and social unrest, war and conquest at the far reaches of the empire, and corruption, bribery, and treachery. Though politically powerful, Cicero is portrayed as essentially an isolated and lonely man: "but in all the crowds I cannot find one person with whom I can exchange an unguarded joke or let out a private sigh." VERDICT Harris has written a meticulously researched historical novel that is far from being a dry recitation of mere dates and events. His exploration of the brilliant mind and sometimes dubious motives of Cicero, arguably one of history's greatest orators, historians, and statesmen, is absolutely riveting. Readers who enjoy the complexities of Steven Saylor's historical Roman mysteries and the historical detail of Colleen McCullough's "Master of Rome" series will want to make room on their shelves for Harris's latest. Jane Baird, Anchorage Municipal Libs., AK for Library Journal 1/10
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