'Masterful' SUNDAY TIMES
Ancient Rome. 70 B.C. The height of the Republic.
A city rippling with power - and with no shortage of men who'd do anything to wield it...
When Tiro, the confidential secretary of a Roman senator, opens the door to a terrified stranger on a cold November morning, he sets in motion a chain of events which will eventually propel his master into one of the most famous courtroom dramas in history.
The stranger is a Sicilian, a victim of the island's corrupt Roman governor, Verres. The senator is Cicero, a brilliant young lawyer and spellbinding orator, determined to attain imperium - supreme power in the state despite his low birth and implacable opposition from the republic's elites. This case will be his way in.
Imperium takes us into the violent, treacherous world of Roman politics, and the quest of one man - clever, compassionate, devious, vulnerable, and above all Roman - to reach the top.
A stunning novel of power and ambition from Robert Harris, the number one bestselling author of Fatherland, Pompeii, The Second Sleep and V2
Bestselling British author Harris (Pompeii; Enigma) returns to ancient Rome for this entertaining and enlightening novel of Marcus Cicero's rise to power. Narrated by a household slave named Tiro, who actually served as Cicero's "confidential secretary" for 36 years, this fictional biography follows the statesman and orator from his early career as an outsider a "new man" from the provinces to his election to the consulship, Rome's highest office, in 64 B.C. Loathed by the aristocrats, Cicero lived by his wits in a tireless quest for imperium the ultimate power of life and death and achieves "his life's ambition" after uncovering a plot by Marcus Crassus and Julius Caesar to rig the elections and seize control of the government. Harris's description of Rome's labyrinthine, and sometimes deadly, political scene is fascinating and instructive. The action is relentless, and readers will be disappointed when Harris leaves Cicero at the moment of his greatest triumph. Given Cicero's stormy consulship, his continuing opposition to Julius Caesar and his own assassination, readers can only hope a sequel is in the works. Until then, this serves as a superb first act. 350,000 announced first priting; 10-city author tour.
Great book. The first one of this trilogy. Harris provides us with one of the pictures of Roman politics. Although a fictional book, it gives us an excellent panorama of Ancient Rome.
Brilliant book. Well worth reading if you are fascinated by the ancient roman republic as I am!!
Imperium: Hard Work
I am a real Robert Harris fan, however I found Imperium hard work.
There is no doubt that the book is beautifully researched and that it brings the Roman era and it's political intrigues alive, it's just that the story did not grip me the way that other work by this author has.
There are times when the tension mounts and the plot seems to be heading to some kind of finale, only to peter out in a back room political settlement.
I only felt truly gripped on a couple of occasions and that's not my normal experience when reading Robert Harris.
It's beautifully written, but a bit plodding for my taste.
I will however keep reading Mr Harris, as he's an extremely talented author.