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)2006 Random House Audiobooks
"Harris deploys the devices of the thriller writer to trace the perils and triumphs of Cicero's ascent.... A finely accomplished recreation of the power struggles of more than two millenniums ago." (Observer)
Amazing story, Cicero on his best. If you enjoy politics affaires and ancient history, you should read it, but before take notice there will be finally three books: 1st Imperium, 2nd Conspirata, 3rd ... not yet published, I think.
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