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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.

Critic Reviews

"Entertaining and enlightening." (Publishers Weekly)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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Fantastic college education into ancient Rome

This extremely well written and well narrated historical novel seemed light on history at first. I mean, how could the author (or anybody) know that much about the Roman Counsel Cicero? Well, thanks to Cicero being a blabbermouth, and thanks to his faithful slave inventing a huge working shorthand system, we know just about everything about Cicero, and so will you when you listen to this great work. Emotionally rich, lip smackingly satisfying. Makes me want to read more about the Roman Republic.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Extraordinary

If you could sum up Imperium in three words, what would they be?

Riveting, suspenseful, enlightening

What about Simon Jones’s performance did you like?

Mr. Jones gives a brilliant, nuanced reading, imbuing each character with their own distinct and easily recognizable voices. One of the finest voice-over artists I've ever heard.

Any additional comments?

Author Robert Harris and reader Simon Jones are a terrific pairing.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Please get Lustrum on Audible

What made the experience of listening to Imperium the most enjoyable?

I Loved This Book. Great narration and fantastic detail. Now I want to listen to the Second Book Lustrum that continues with Caesar and the ides of March. Instead you only have the third book so I will have to read the second.Disappointed.Had I realized this I would not have started with Imperium.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Delightful History

Well written, and my favorite way to absorb history; through an engrossing story! I got it on a whim during an Audible sale, and was delighted with the voice of Tiro, the slave stenographer narrator. The story of Cicero and the more familiar one of Julius Cesar were given a new fuller context, and the politics and social reality of ancient Rome were really fully developed. I always love it when an author manages to make a historical period seem peopled by real people who inhabit the period in a way that neither disdains, nor glorifies it. Well worth the credit! I can't wait for the rest of the series!

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Historical fiction done well

Historical fiction is not easy to pull off especially in audiobook format. This is a good one. Familiar names and characters from a different perspective. Looking forward to listening to the next one in the series.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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At home and at the office...

except in this story the office is the Roman Senate. I enjoyed I, Claudis but feel this is a better listen. It takes the listener not just into the politics and work of the ancient lawyers but into the home and lifestyle. Not just of the wealthy but what we call the middle class. I will listen to this Audible again and will continue with the series.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Steve
  • kaysville, UT, United States
  • 11-22-11

Great story, great reader, highly recommend

This was a great book of historical fiction. Great characters, gripping plot, and the facts it is based on checked out when I read a history of Cicero. The reader is fantastic. Listen to this and then listen to the sequel, Conspirata. Great stuff!

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

Excellent Historical Fiction

I listened to this book immediately following a S. Saylor book. While Saylor's book was VERY entertaining, there were several points in his tale when I said to myself "REALLY? Someone in ancient Rome would have these thought processes?". I'll save that commentary for the Saylor review, but my point is that I felt like Harris' characters were more believable in the context of the times and I enjoyed the descriptions of everyday life in Rome and the Roman Senate. Furthermore, he did an excellent job of building a plot and creating suspense.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

Hostorical Facts With Feet!

I really enjoyed this book. Once I had finished I did a "quick study" on the period of time covered in the book and was pleased to see how I had learned the facts of history from the novel. If the reader is worried that reading this historical novel will make it confusing to understand where history ends and imagination begins, don't be troubled. The facts are not sacrificed. Indeed, they come alive and are given context. And if you finish the book thinking you have somehow gotten inside Cicero's head, it's a good thing, really!

And Simon Jones does an excellent job reading this book. Great combination.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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John Grisham meets Julius Caesar

Robert Harris' novel "Imperium" tells the fictionalized story of Cicero through a first-person account by his servant Tito. This is the first of three novels, recounting Cicero's rise from commoner to high-profile lawyer and professional politician.

Imperium is slow and somewhat rambling story, but manages to create a believable backdrop of life in ancient Roman. Harris has effectively brought to life the white marble and flowing robes so often associated with Rome, and has made them seem elegant and sophisticated. He has used examples of corrupt and power-hungry leaders to create realistic scenarios and believable characters.

Imperium clearly links todays court-room justice and modern politics, with the their roots in the "Pax Romana" model of law.


1 of 1 people found this review helpful