Imperium...Conspirata...and now Dictator - the long-awaited final volume of Robert Harris' magnificent Ancient Rome trilogy
At the age of 48, Cicero - the greatest orator of his time - is in exile, separated from his wife and children, tormented by his sense of failure, his great power sacrificed on the altar of his principles. And yet, in the words of one of his most famous aphorisms, "While there is life, there is hope."
By promising to support Caesar - his political enemy - he is granted return to Rome. There, he fights his way back to prominence: first in the law courts then in the Senate and finally by the power of his pen, until at last, for one brief and glorious period, he is again the preeminent statesman in the city. Even so, no public figure, however brilliant and cunning, is completely safeguarded against the unscrupulous ambition and corruption of others.
Riveting and tumultuous, Dictator encompasses some of the most epic events in ancient history - the collapse of the Roman Republic and the subsequent civil war, the murder of Pompey, and the assassination of Julius Caesar. But the central problem it presents is a timeless one: how to keep political freedom unsullied by personal ambition, vested interests, and the erosive effects of ceaseless, senseless foreign wars. In Robert Harris' indelible portrait, Cicero attempts to answer this question with both his thoughts and his deeds, becoming a hero - brilliant, flawed, frequently fearful, yet ultimately brave - both for his own time and for ours.
©2016 Robert Harris (P)2016 Random House Audio
"A remarkable literary achievement.... A trilogy that is likely to stand alongside the works of Robert Graves and Mary Renault as an enduring imaginative vision of the ancient world." (Stephanie Merritt, The Guardian)
"[A] superb novel...compelling...thrilling.... Informed by Harris's wide reading of classical texts and his intimate knowledge of current intrigue, [Dictator] proves that when it comes to ruthless politics, there's nothing new under the sun. It confirms Harris' undisputed place as our leading master of both the historical and contemporary thriller." (Nigel Jones, The Daily Mail)
Long awaited end of spectacular trilogy. A good ending, would have been better with Simon Jones reading. David did a noble job trying to stay true to the delivery of the previous narrator in voice and style. I applaud him for that. For those who would want to give him harsh critique, do not. He narrated An Officer and a Spy by Robert Harris and was marvelous.
The story was littered with its many twists and turns. For anyone who listened to the trilogy, I felt like finishing a course in suspecting the unexpected, lesson of patience and executing at opportunities' door. Paraphrasing, whenever your faced problem and can't see the outcome. Start a fight and an answer will be presented.
I'm going to start a fight.. Support this comment if you want a 2nd recording with Simon Jones as narrator.
There are many audio books recorded for the same works.. Why not this one..
This is the third and final installment of Robert Harris's account of the life and times of Cicero, the great Roman orator. It is gentler and more philosophic Cicero that we meet in the last two decades of his life, as seen and recorded by his scribe, Tiro than in the earlier two books. I don't think Dictator works as a stand alone book, unless you are an ancient Rome junkie/scholar of some kind. I missed Simon Jones who definitely doesn't narrate this book (Hello, Audible, what's up with that?) I enjoyed the entire series and highly recommend them, especially if you find yourself confusing Cicero and Seneca and the difference between the Republic and the Empire and so on. This brings Ancient Rome to life and the characters (Cicero, Julius Caesar, Pompey the Great, Cato, etc) parade across the pages as individuals much as they do the pages of history. Very well done.
Well produced... however, the narrator is changed from the first two books in the series
Third in the "Cicero" Series.
This is NOT NOT Simon Jones....New narrator does a good job but after listening to the the first two books of the series you become accustomed to the voice characterizations and cadence of Simon Jones...David Rintoul is good but Simon Jones IS Cicero (and Tiro...and Caesar...and Pompey and....)
Too much "exposition" (especially for fans of the first two book) early on. This is designed to allow it to be more of a stand-alone book and is likely by insistence of the editor/publisher.
If you are a big fan....you may sense the drop-off....sometimes it feels as if Robert Harris is going through the motions to finish the series.....it is entertaining but not on the (spectacular) level of the first two in the series.
Of course Robert Harris is phenomenal. The story, I am sure, is riveting. I wouldn't know, however. I couldn't finish the first chapter without Simon Jones. I may end up having to read the book, but I returned the audiobook.
I am an avid eclectic reader.
This is the last book in Harris’s trilogy of Cicero. I am fascinated and amazed at this tremendous creation of Cicero. Harris stays meticulously close to Cicero’s own words. About 900 of Cicero’s letters have survived, many to his friend Atticus, his brother, Quintus and his wife Terentia. I love this quote from Cicero written two thousand years ago “I have put out my books and now my house has a soul”.
As in the first book of the trilogy “Imperium” Tiro, Cicero’s slave (later freeman) remains the narrator of the story. This book covers from 58 B.C. when Cicero goes into exile to his death in 43 B.C. . . I believe that Harris had more difficulties with this book as the latter years of the Roman Republics were impossibly complex, with an enormous cast of characters. Cicero’s later years were reduced to a small part as the conflict took place on the battle field instead of the court of law and the senate. Harris effectively tells the part of the battles via letters.
The book is well written and meticulously researched. Harris is a fabulous story teller. It took Harris twelve years to write this trilogy. According to the author’s notes, Tiro outlived Cicero and really did write a multi-volume biography of Cicero and as noted in “Imperium” he really did invent a form of shorthand some of which is still in use today, such as the use of “etc.” and other abbreviations from the Latin. This is historical fiction at its very best. David Rintoul did a good job narrating this trilogy.
Great book, with compelling characters, plot, and fast pacing. The narrator's habit of dropping his voice whenever there's a lull in the action or dialogue is maddening, however.
This telling of the life of Cicero and his final days overseeing the end of the Republic and the birth of the empire is a compelling and thrilling version of the events that history is so long recorded. Cicero's encounter with many of the Great historical figures and his own character and life make this a tour-de-force of the major turning point of the Roman Empire.
At least this book wraps up the trilogy and for that I am happy. The first two books were excellent...excellent! This was interesting and framed events in coherent way but always stayed in an observation mode. The author's excellent writing was hampered by the leaps forward in time and place. There are many familiar names and places but never an engaging , descriptive sense of the world they lived in.
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