The year is 63 BC. In an age of political titans, Cicero stands supreme: the senior consul of the Roman republic. But jealous rivals are determined to destroy him and seize control of the state. To thwart them will take all his guile - and will lead him, and Rome, to the brink of destruction.
Robert Harris's Lustrum is a thriller that pitches the listener into the power struggles and vicious factionalism of the Roman republic at one of its most tumultuous moments, as Cicero is alerted to a plot to overthrow the government and take over the state. The conspiracy is led by the aristocratic politician Catalina, backed by other, shadowy factions; even Julius Caesar is implicated. Undeterred, Cicero devotes himself to exposing the treachery, and after a bloody struggle, emerges triumphant.
But the gods are pitiless - and the most talented men over-reach themselves. When the sexually voracious senator and nobleman Clodius is put on trial, accused of entering a sacred women-only religious ritual in pursuit of Caesar's wife, Cicero finds himself embroiled in the case as the reluctant star witness for the prosecution. He has made many enemies, and as Caesar, Crassus, and Pompey grasp political power, he discovers that he has sown the seeds of his own downfall.
Meticulously researched and brilliantly written, Lustrum is an entirely self-contained novel, but it is also a continuation of Cicero's story as told in Robert Harris's best-selling Imperium. A third Roman volume will complete the trilogy in 2011.