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.This is the starting-point of Robert Harris's most accomplished novel to date.
Compellingly written in Tiro's voice, it takes us inside the violent, treacherous world of Roman politics, to describe how one man - clever, compassionate, devious, vulnerable - fought to reach the top.
Sometimes it is foolish to articulate an ambition too early - exposing it prematurely to the laughter and scepticism of the world can destroy it before it is even properly born. But sometimes the opposite occurs, and the very act of mentioning a thing makes it suddenly seem possible, even plausible.
That was how it was that night. When Cicero pronounced the word 'consul' he planted it in the ground like a standard for us all to admire. And for a moment we glimpsed the brilliant, starry future through his eyes, and saw that he was right: that if he took down Verres, he had a chance; that he might - just, with luck, go all the way to the summit...'
©2006 Robert Harris (P)2014 AudioGo Ltd. Published by Random House Audiobooks
Just goes to show you; human nature remains intact over the centuries.
Author Harris animates the politics and human foibles of ancient Roman civilization, while bringing to believable life the greatness of Cicero.
As noted by another reviewer, narrator Bill Wallis's pronunciation of uncommon terms is perfect. As always, his narration lends elegance to the printed word.
Beautifully written book. I could visualize every scene as if i was there personally. As a person who was already familiar with what happened in this story, the author was able to keep me in suspense over what was going to happen.
Amazing performance!!! The best ive heard!! He manipulates his voice slightly as he switches between characters, but enough to make you feel each one.
Tiro!! Who else but the narrator and the one who witnessed it all.
Great book for those familiar with this period or Roman history and those who are completely unfamiliar with it.
There is much written in fact and fiction on the Roman Empire, and this book is a glorious blend of exactly that, fact and fiction. It is full of the jargon and phraseology of the systems, ranks, and legalese that are the basis of the federal rule that is the government system of the day in Rome. The book is set at a time that is pre Julius Caesar who enters the book as a lowly senator prior to his greatness becoming a matter of history, but as the book is written the secondary part that Julius plays, leaves you in no doubt that julius Caesar is one to watch!
The main part of the story told through the eyes of a slave with privileges, tasked with acting as a secretary for a man named Cicero, following him wherever he goes and acting at times as his friend and sounding board for the sometimes radical thinking that Cicero is prone to use. Cicero is a senator, and lawyer with less power than those he seeks to challenge, he uses his gifts of clear argument, and a huge gift for articulation, in writing and delivery of those speeches to win over those who wield the real power. Amongst the common man Cicero holds almost rock star status because of those gifts and as such when he does speak the people listen, and with that gift comes much responsibility which Cicero accepts with dignity and commitment, as essentially a good and honest man and never forgetting that at the heart he is but a citizen of Rome.
The story follows Cicero's rise in both power and influence. He however is an honourable and honest man at his heart and often comes into conflict with those who hold the real power and who are clever enough to use that power and influence to manipulate the majority for their own selfish ends. Cicero, does not let these doyens of wealth and power get away corruption theft and manipulation and fears no one in the delivery of justice and honesty in all things he touches.
The narrator for the book brings a great deal to the story and the writing which is littered with the words and phraseology of the forum,it's ranking and political positioning which Bill Wallis delivers these sometime complex phrases and words with confidence and clarity. His characterisations are consistent and well developed and as a narrator in this novel was for me the perfect choice for a book that would I think be at times a difficult read without him there.
I like this book a lot for its assumed and educated approach, the story that unfolds and the intrigue and political sculduggery that develops and held my interest as it is both educational and entertaining, and as such I have difficulty finding anything negative to say, well done Robert Harris and well read Bill Wallis.
5 stars all the way for me!
"Best narrator I've ever had"
Absolutely fantastic novel, brilliant storytelling, excellent narration.
Deeply moving, and a fascinating insight into the fall of the Roman Republic.
"Superb story, utterly superb narration."
Takes you back to the politics of Rome, in a totally captivating story. An enthralling book, which must have been lovingly researched. It's a joy to listen to, as Bill Wallis is brilliant narrating it.
Fascinating story, superbly constructed and written by Robert Harris and narrated brilliantly by Bill Wallis.
Absorbing story, great characterisation and all set to the backdrop of hugely interesting historical events.
This felt like a rare Classic, but. I have yet to read Lustrum and Imperator so there may be more goodies to come!
This is a thoroughly exhilarating read, and a great revelation if, like me, you know nothing much about this period of history. I loved it.
Well written and very well read What more do you want ? The gripping plot held my interest from start to finish and rekindled my interest in The Glory That Was Rome. I shall move directly onto Dictator.
"Enjoyable and informed"
A very enjoyable beginning to the series. It's a period of history I know pretty well and I wasn't once jolted by inaccuracy so that I could relax and enjoy the storytelling.
I suppose that the one jarring point was that given the narrative style, there is a lot of 'telling' rather than watching events unfold through dialogue, which can become a bit tiresome.
I'm not an avid reader of thrillers or historical novels so this was a departure for me, but was a perfect book to use my audible credit on as it was so compelling a listen I couldn't wait to get back to it and listened to the whole book within a week.The writing was excellent, the dialogue believeable and the characters were well drawn.I have ordered the next two although will have a break before listening to enjoy them all the more-
Great story that totally consumes you, beautifully narrated. Couldn't fault it. Can't wait to get the next one!
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