‘Laws are silent in times of war.’
There was a time when Cicero held Caesar’s life in the palm of his hand. But now Caesar is the dominant figure and Cicero’s life is in ruins.
Exiled, separated from his wife and children, his possessions confiscated, his life constantly in danger, Cicero is tormented by the knowledge that he has sacrificed power for the sake of his principles.
His comeback requires wit, skill and courage – and for a brief and glorious period, the legendary orator is once more the supreme senator in Rome.
But politics is never static and no statesman, however cunning, can safeguard against the ambition and corruption of others.
Riveting and tumultuous, DICTATOR encompasses some of the most epic events in human history yet is also an intimate portrait of a brilliant, flawed, frequently fearful yet ultimately brave man – a hero for his time and for ours. This is an unforgettable tour de force from a master storyteller.
The closing volume of British bestseller Harris's Ancient Rome trilogy, following Imperium and Conspirata, is as skillful as it is sobering. In 58 B.C.E., Cicero, the brilliant 49-year-old author and orator who was Rome's undisputed leader only five years before, is punished with exile for his principled resistance to the triumvirate that now controls Rome. Making a reluctant peace with the trio most notably Julius Caesar allows him to return to Rome and his family, but even his political genius cannot return the republic to stability. The triumvirate collapses, civil war ensues, and Caesar seizes power, declaring himself dictator and god. Cicero lauds Caesar's assassination as an act of liberation; though he is swept back into power afterward, he can neither restore the Roman government he views as "mankind's noblest creation" nor save himself from betrayal. The perfect foil to the passionate and sometimes paradoxical protagonist, Cicero's quietly capable secretary Tiro (a slave Cicero frees in one of the book's most poignant scenes) remains an appealing narrator, offering readers a shrewd and stable perspective on the tumult Cicero embraces. With its complex historical context and searing scenes of violence, Dictator is not easy reading. Yet its gripping dramas and powerful themes the fragility of democracy and the fallibility of human beings among them richly illuminate the conflicts of its era and our own. 100,000-copy first printing.
Customer ReviewsSee All
This is simply a terrific read, based as it is on historical fact, but here there is flesh on the bones of history. Read all three volumes of the trilogy, and be both thrilled and moved at the conclusion. I was sad to end Cicero's journey.
The culmination of a brilliant trilogy...
.... Though not sure why this same book on its day of publication is £4 more expensive on iBooks than in a rival e-book seller's online store. It is, moreover, £3 more expensive than buying the hardback edition! Disappointing.
Although I don't agree with Harris entirely in his portrayal of the great man, it's fair to say that the author has successfully captured the feel of the decaying Republic, without over-egging the details. A brilliant and accessible way for the uninitiated to enjoy the political thrills of this critical period in Western history.