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Imperium: A Novel of Ancient Rome | [Robert Harris]

Imperium: A Novel of Ancient 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.
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Publisher's Summary

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 27 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, as he competed 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 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.

©2006 Robert Harris; (P)2006 Simon and Schuster, Inc. All rights reserved.

What the Critics Say

"Entertaining and enlightening." (Publishers Weekly)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

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Performance
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  •  
    Trustme CO 11-26-06
    Trustme CO 11-26-06 Member Since 2006

    notapundit

    HELPFUL VOTES
    135
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    "Very enjoyable"

    This one is squarely in the the colorful, gossipy Roman tradition of Robert Graves & Colleen Mccullough. Political intrigue combined with courtroom drama and a fully realized cast of historic characters are are hard to beat. A very effective narration too. You don't have to be the Pontifex Maximus to predict there will be more volumes in this story. I look forward to them.

    10 of 11 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Melanie 05-16-12
    Melanie 05-16-12

    I love words that can take me into other worlds.

    HELPFUL VOTES
    165
    ratings
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    Performance
    Story
    "Bringing History to Life"

    Really good historical fiction is a rarity. Most books calling themselves historical fiction are simply modern murder mysteries or romance novels with a bit of period detail thrown in. But now and then a marvelous book comes along that takes you into the past in with an honesty and intimacy in a way a pure history book never could. Think of Wolf Hall, I Claudius, or The Red Badge of Courage. Imperium is definitely in that category.

    This compelling story, beautifully narrated by Simon Jones, brings Cicero and his world alive. You can practically smell the decaying odors of Rome in the final days of the Republic. You are gripped by his scheming, even as you know the ultimate outcome. It takes a great writer to urge you along even when there is no mystery. I highly recommend this audio book to anyone who loves history, politics, biography, or just a plain good story.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jean Santa Cruz, CA, United States 03-26-12
    Jean Santa Cruz, CA, United States 03-26-12 Member Since 2015

    I am an avid eclectic reader.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    Story
    "Harris brings Ancient Rome to life"

    This is the story of Marcus Cicero as written by Tiro Cicero's secretary/slave. The book starts with a young Cicero who has completed his studies in law and is working on his speech making abilities. The book covers court room drama and how Cicero changed the way the prosecutor presents his case. The people in the story such as Pompey, Caesar, Crassus and Atticus read as the who is who of Rome. This is a historical fiction that shows the violent treacherous world of Roman politics (how little has changed) in an interesting and dramatic way. I am now going to read the second book in the series entitled Conspirata, as Audible has it. If you like historical fiction about ancient Rome you will enjoy this book. Simon Jones did a great job narrating the book.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    David 04-29-10
    David 04-29-10
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Great Book"

    This was my first exposure to Robert Harris' work, and it has led me through three other books as well. I've yet to be disappointed. If you love language, argument and political intrigue laced with high-brow humor you'll love this book. It is well-read and good enough I'll probably return to it again.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Simon Windsor, United Kingdom 04-21-10
    Simon Windsor, United Kingdom 04-21-10 Member Since 2015
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Not his best - too legal/political"

    Im definitely a Robert Harris fan. His mix of historical thrillers are excellent. I am no historian and as such am unaware how accurate or otherwise his portrayal of events are.
    This is one of his poorer attempts - of course very similar to the next in the series - Conspsirita. The main reason is the emphasis on not just one, but multiple court room 'dramas'. There is little drama as such but a lot of political intrigue. Fine if you like that. You need to pay attention to the multitude of different characters that come, and go. However narration is perfect and you will become attached to the main 'master and servant'.
    I would give 3.5 stars if I could. Great narration and good enough to finish, but not 'page turning'.


    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    J. Smolen 03-16-07
    J. Smolen 03-16-07 Member Since 2005
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    "Outstanding"

    This is a compelling novel about one of the most remarkable persons in ancient history. I was lucky enough to "read" Cicero in high school latin. However, the astounding impact of this orator is lost when one is struggling through line by line. "Imperium" shows the life of Cicero in all its grandeur (and flaws). I waited breathlessly every time Cicero starting winding up for a speech, just wondering what bombshell he would deliver. This one is a real keeper!

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jane Kremmling, CO, USA 01-31-07
    Jane Kremmling, CO, USA 01-31-07
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Great read!"

    The ancient Roman world springs to life in Harris' narration. Cicero is seen as a very real "hero," warts and all. The intrigue, pride, ambition of politics was just as true in ancient Rome as it is today. Harris portrays all this with a wonderful realism that will make you sorry when the book ends. If your only memory of Cicero is high school Latin or Shakespeare's JULIUS CAESAR, you are in for real enjoyment with this book. I just hope there will be a future volume, continuing the involved destinies of Cicery with Caesar.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jeff littleton, CO, USA 10-16-06
    Jeff littleton, CO, USA 10-16-06 Member Since 2002
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Latin"

    Stunningly good - now I wish I'd been more attentive in Latin class!

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Tom Chino, CA, United States 09-04-07
    Tom Chino, CA, United States 09-04-07 Member Since 2013
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    "Excellent-History Comes Alive"

    Fans of Kathleen Mccollough "1st Man in Rome " series will love this book. The author makes history come alive, lot's of political intrigue.
    The narrator was perfect too.

    6 of 7 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Joseph Simi Valley, CA, United States 07-15-11
    Joseph Simi Valley, CA, United States 07-15-11 Member Since 2008
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    "Transporting"

    I did not want this tale to end. Thank goodness it is part of a trilogy. The story brings history alive and renders Cicero a man any of us could understand and some of us could know. The wonderful intrigues and twists are infused with insights into the character of the man, into the human condition, into the political dynamics of a republic that seemed incapable of living up to its challenges.

    Simon Jones could read the phonebook and I would want to listen. Outstanding voice, Shakespearean, rounded, solid, reliable, and able to bring the characters emotions to life.

    Wonderful experience. I look forward to more.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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