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Imperium: From the Sunday Times bestselling author (Cicero Trilogy, 4)

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They met when he was twenty-four years old and Cicero twenty-seven on the family estate in the hills of Arpinum. Tiro is dispatched off to meet with Caelius Rufus, who is now working for Crassus, to find out what his plans are. To calculate the overall star rating and percentage breakdown by star, we don’t use a simple average. Of course their personalities and dialogue is all fiction or at least embellished/inferences on the author's part. I also found the characters and the narrative compelling enough that I will likely continue on with the series to see what happens next.

Harris also simplifies the politics of this period and, very oddly, makes Cicero something quite different from the historical record: Harris' Cicero is constantly described as being on the side of the 'radicals' as a 'revolutionary', as a man of the people and against the 'aristocrats'.Compellingly written in Tiro's voice, it takes us inside the violent, treacherous world of Roman politics, to describe how one man - clever, compassionate, devious, vulnerable - fought to reach the top. Many names, many placements, numerous procedural expanses of litigation language parsed over dozens of offices for many years.

The confrontations in the courtroom, the senate and the frenzied voting pens of the Campus Martius provide as much tension as a Roman battlefield and Harris does a masterful job of peopling these scenes with memorable characters.I had kind of come to admire Catalina as the misunderstood sometimes-rascal presented in Steven Saylor's Gordianus the Finder mystery, "Catalina's Riddle".

Unfortunately, Harris seems to abandon historical authenticity toward the end of Imperium; without giving too much away, the intrigue behind the climactic race for consulship is completely invented. As his private secretary, Tiro went everywhere with Cicero, and tells the story of his master’s investigation in Sicily, complicated political games and agile legal work in great detail. It also gives a fascinating early glimpse of Julius Caesar, who is a young, ambitious politician in this novel.Pero conseguir un resultado similar, atractivo para todos los públicos, que se lea con agilidad e interés, a partir de la vida de un orador, de un político romano… no parece en absoluto tan sencillo. There is a conspiracy to take down the Republic and create an absolute ruler, an Emperor, which we know will be Julius Caesar, and so there is endless discussions over elections, bribing voters, legal discussions of ruling, and so on that become the main focus of this second part. However, the two men intensely dislike each other and Cicero refuses to support Crassus's request for a triumph. I found the description of Roman life as it is presented in Pompeii: The Life of a Roman Town by Mary Beard to be clearer.

Rather oddly, Harris mixes up contemporary with historical so, for example, he talks about Cicero's 'drawing room', his 'valet', and describes men with 'pomaded hair' in the Forum! Pompey himself does not want to be caught in the middle of a civil war between the people and the senate.Robert Harris tells a compelling story not just about Cicero but about the last days of the Roman Republic. However, despite the fact that Cicero was not a sympathetic protagonist, I came to admire his tenacity in the face of social discrimination. It's context is NOT defined in language of 21st century emotive, declarative, or relative culture or morality. By the way, I could have just said ancient Rome but Triumvirate is such a tasty word that I thought it needed some air time. He brilliantly chooses Cicero's slave Tiro to be the narrator of the story, a man who was Cicero's right hand man but also created short-hand so that it seems plausible that so much detail could be put into the book when someone who was there could conceivably have recorded it all.

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