Imperium by Robert Harris
A Novel of Ancient Rome

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Synopsis

FROM THE BESTSELLING AUTHOR OF FATHERLAND AND POMPEII COMES THE MOST PROVOCATIVE AND BRILLIANT NOVEL OF ANTIQUITY SINCE I, CLAUDIUS --
IMPERIUM
A CAUTIONARY TALE OF CICERO, THE GREATEST ORATOR OF ALL TIME, AND HIS EXTRAORDINARY STRUGGLE FOR POWER IN ROME.

When Tiro, the confidential secretary (and slave) of a Roman senator, opens the door to a terrified stranger on a cold November morning, he sets in motion a chain of events that will eventually propel his master into one of the most suspenseful courtroom dramas in history. The stranger is a Sicilian, a victim of the island's corrupt Roman governor, Verres. The senator is Marcus Cicero -- an ambitious young lawyer and spellbinding orator, who at the age of twenty-seven is determined to attain imperium -- supreme power in the state.

Of all the great figures of the Roman world, none was more fascinating or charismatic than Cicero. And Tiro -- the inventor of shorthand and author of numerous books, including a celebrated biography of his master (which was lost in the Dark Ages) -- was always by his side.

Compellingly written in Tiro's voice, Imperium is the re-creation of his vanished masterpiece, recounting in vivid detail the story of Cicero's quest for glory, competing with some of the most powerful and intimidating figures of his -- or any other -- age: Pompey, Caesar, Crassus, and the many other powerful Romans who changed history.

Robert Harris, the world's master of innovative historical fiction, lures us into a violent, treacherous world of Roman politics at once exotically different from and yet startlingly similar to our own -- a world of Senate intrigue and electoral corruption, special prosecutors and political adventurism -- to describe how one clever, compassionate, devious, vulnerable man fought to reach the top.
 

About Robert Harris

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Robert Harris is the author of Pompeii, Enigma, and Fatherland. He has been a television correspondent with the BBC and a newspaper columnist for the London Sunday Times and The Daily Telegraph. His novels have sold more than ten million copies and been translated into thirty languages. He lives in Berkshire, England, with his wife and four children.
 
Published September 19, 2006 by Simon & Schuster. 320 pages
Genres: History, Political & Social Sciences, Literature & Fiction, Mystery, Thriller & Suspense. Fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for Imperium

The New York Times

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Robert Harris’s political thriller charts the rise of ancient Rome’s most famous orator.

Oct 22 2006 | Read Full Review of Imperium: A Novel of Ancient ...

The Guardian

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Imperium by Robert Harris Hutchinson £17.99, pp416 It is a recklessly foolish or a colossally self-confident writer who is more than 100 pages into the first book of a trilogy when he puts these sighing words into his narrator's mouth: 'I sense that I am dawdling in this narrative, having alread...

Sep 10 2006 | Read Full Review of Imperium: A Novel of Ancient ...

The Guardian

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Imperium by Robert Harris 342pp, Hutchinson, £17.99 Ever since Walter Scott wrote Waverley, the dominant tradition of the historical novel has been one of obsessive realism.

Sep 02 2006 | Read Full Review of Imperium: A Novel of Ancient ...

Publishers Weekly

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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, ...

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AV Club

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The latter has been lost to the ages, leaving BBC-newsman-turned novelist Robert Harris to make educated guesses in Imperium, a novel detailing two key moments in Cicero's career from Tiro's perspective.

Sep 06 2006 | Read Full Review of Imperium: A Novel of Ancient ...

Historical Novel Society

Harris might be one of the most versatile historical novelists writing today, with successful efforts in alternate history (Fatherland), World War II code-cracking (Enigma, listed as one of Richard Lee’s ten favorites in an early Society publication), a Roman disaster novel (Pompeii), and now a n...

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Bookmarks Magazine

Dennis Drabelle Denver Post 3.5 of 5 Stars "While Harris has created a fascinating novel based on Cicero’s rise to political power, what makes the book resonate is the realization that, in 2,000 years, neither people nor politics have much changed."

Aug 21 2007 | Read Full Review of Imperium: A Novel of Ancient ...

Large Print Reviews

In addition, using Tiro as the narrator of this story was an artful choice, allowing the narrator to provide insights into Cicero's life that would not have been possible if Cicero was the narrator.

Oct 03 2007 | Read Full Review of Imperium: A Novel of Ancient ...

Spectator Book Club

Though recent biographers have tried to rehabilitate him, Cicero was a political toady and trimmer, and at his worst a self-important windbag of over-stylised prose.

Sep 02 2006 | Read Full Review of Imperium: A Novel of Ancient ...

Spectator Book Club

For his fifth novel, Harris has gone back a bit in time from his last, Pompeii, to a subject that is, prima facie, surprising for a novelist of Harris’s hue, the Roman orator and politician Cicero, who was born talking in 106 BC and shut up only in 43 BC when an exasperated Mark Antony had him mu...

Sep 02 2006 | Read Full Review of Imperium: A Novel of Ancient ...

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