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Publisher's Summary

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)2006 Random House Audiobooks

Critic Reviews

"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)

What members say

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Superb!

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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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • S P Hall
  • 02-19-18

The Cicero Trilogy (Book 1)

The book is written as a reflection of Cicero’s life in the voice of Tiro his faithful servant, scribe and friend. He looks back on Cicero’s rise to prominence in Roman society through a series of tactical and very risky manoeuvres, taking on some particularly nasty vengeful characters. At first he seems to be a champion of the underdog, friend of the people, but as time goes on you see the emergence of something else where political ambition is everything.
Fascinating stuff, can’t wait for Lustrom.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • The Starry Plough
  • 07-23-15

Excellent storytelling

Robert Harris excels in this wonderfully researched and intelligently written book.
Characters, intrigue and political chicanery fill every 'page'.
Oliver Ford-Davies provides the oral gravitas with the addition of perfect comic timing.
Sweeping in both the subject and authorial accomplishment it's a fascinating listen .
Robert Harris has triumphed.

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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Dasmon
  • 07-31-09

Outstanding!

I hope there is a sequel to this because I was drawn into it from the first few minutes.

What I found amazing is how the dirty tricks of politics have not changed to this day, and Cicero's cutting wit is even funnier now because of how our politicians behave.
Great read.. er listen.

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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Elizabeth
  • 08-01-09

Superb narration

Oliver Ford Davies delivers a wonderful reading of this fascinating book.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful