Dictator

A Novel
Narrated by: David Rintoul
Series: Imperium, Book 3
Length: 13 hrs and 45 mins
Categories: Fiction, Historical
4.5 out of 5 stars (882 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

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

Critic Reviews

"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)

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Rerecord with Simon Jones

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..

17 people found this helpful

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"Where there is life, there is hope."

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.

8 people found this helpful

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Very engrossing

This is a wonderful concluding work to a very good trilogy and narrator is superb

3 people found this helpful

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I have put out my books & now my house has a soul.

“I have put out my books and now my house has a soul.”
― Robert Harris, The Dictator

Dictator is the best book in Harris' Cicero trilogy★★★1/2, but that is largely due to how disappointed I was in Imperium: A Novel of Ancient Rome ★★★ and Conspirata ★★. Oh well. What did I like? I liked that Cicero's later life was narrated by Tiro, Cicero's slave, secretary, friend(?). Harris did a lot of work with Cicero's character. I'm a fan of Cicero, and Harris' trilogy does a good job of surveying Cicero's life, the late Republic and early Roman empire.

What did I not enjoy? I'm not a fan or Harris' prose. And, while it is obvious Harris loves Roman history, I am starting to see a pattern. Harris writes better WWII era or political novels, than Roman historical novels. Sometimes, passion for a topic doesn't translate into brilliance.

6 people found this helpful

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Perfect

As expected, and after a 7 year wait, this book was excellent and did not disappoint. The performance of the narrator was also great.

2 people found this helpful

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A compelling conclusion to a masterful trilogy

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.

2 people found this helpful

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Outstanding

I have eagerly been awaiting this final part of the trilogy for several years as the first two books were excellent. To be honest I was concerned at the beginning of Dictator when I discovered that Simon Jones was not narrating this final part. Simon Jones is one of the finest narrators in the audio book business and I was very accustomed to his characterizations so when it was announced that David Rintoul would be narrating this one I was disappointed – however, I must say that on listening to “Dictator”, I think Rintoul did a wonderful job. Robert Harris, in my opinion is the premier author of Historical fiction – the books of this trilogy are among my favorites because they are so well researched and detailed and he brings the characters to life in a way that most authors are unable to pull off.

In listening to this entire series, Harris seems to imply that the Roman Republic was doomed, the only question being by whose hand it would fall - by Caesar, Pompey, Catalina, Antony or Clodius. The intrigues that are so integral to this story are fascinating, a real life Game of Thrones. Told through the eyes of Tiro, the story is able to reveal character flaws and even strengths in all of the main characters. Cicero attempts to navigate through all of the moves of the various schemers and paradoxically he ultimately contributes to the final dissolution of the Republic and to the beginnings of the Roman Empire.

Dictator is a fitting end to the trilogy. It is thrilling, informative and one of the best books that I have listened to in quite a while. If you enjoy Roman History, I would strongly recommend this book as well as the other two books in the series (Imperium & Conspirata). Well worth the credit.

2 people found this helpful

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Outstanding narrator

Excellent book reinforced by a narration tour de force - it takes quite a narrator to bring to life the speeches of Cicero!

2 people found this helpful

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Not read by Simon Jones.

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.

4 people found this helpful

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"THE END OF LIBERTY"

I went back and listened again to the first two books before embarking on this one, which is a brilliant end to a magnificent trilogy about a monumental man. Cicero is portrayed in all his aspects, positive and negative, and the author often lets the story tell about Cicero's weaknesses and indecisions rather than pointing them out from an authorial perspective.

Although some reviewers have quibbled (some strongly) about the change of narrator, I found the reading of David Rintoul excellent in all ways; I particularly liked the way he created the overall tension before Caesar's assassination and the stupefaction of the witnesses afterwards. As well written as the scene might have been in printed form, I cannot imagine it would have had the same thrust (so to speak) of horror and surprise that Mr. Rintoul conveyed. He is close to being my favorite narrator, and I have ordered books simply because of his imprimatur. My only cavil about his performance comes when Cicero makes his final speeches, trying to arouse both the Senate and the public; he seemed much more the demagogue than before, although that may have been the narrator's intention. It certainly would have made sense, given the crises that assaulted Rome at that time.

The entire trilogy is so good it's hard to find the words to recommend it as highly as I think it should be. If there were a thousand stars for the rating, that's what I would give.

1 person found this helpful