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Conspirata: A Novel of Ancient Romeby Robert Harris
Synopses & Reviews
On the eve of Marcus Cicero's inauguration as consul of Rome, the grisly death of a boy sends ripples of fear through a city already wracked by civil unrest, crime, and debauchery of every kind. Felled by a hammer, his throat slit and his organs removed, the young slave appears to have been offered as a human sacrifice, forbidden as an abomination in the Roman Republic. For Cicero, the ill forebodings of this hideous murder only increase his frustrations and the dangers he already faces as Rome's leader: elected by the people but despised by the heads of the two rival camps, the patricians and populists.
Caught in a political shell game that leaves him forever putting out fires only to have them ignite elsewhere, Cicero plays both for the future of the republic and his very life. There is a plot to assassinate Cicero, abetted by a rising young star of the Roman senate named Gaius Julius Caesar — and it will take all the embattled consul's wit, strength, and force of will to stop it and keep Rome from becoming a dictatorship.
In this second novel of his Roman trilogy, following the bestselling Imperium, Robert Harris once again weaves a compelling and historically accurate tale of intrigue told in the wise and compassionate voice of Cicero's slave and private secretary, Tiro. In the manner of I, Claudius, Harris vividly evokes ancient Rome and its politics for today's readers, documenting a world not unlike our own — where the impulse toward dominance competes with the risk of overreach, where high-minded ideals can be a liability, and where someone is always waiting in the wings for a chance to set the world on fire.
"In this gripping second installment to his ancient Rome trilogy (after Imperium), bestseller Harris proves once again that politics is an ugly game. Beginning in 63 B.C.E. and told by Cicero's slave secretary, Tiro, this complex tale continues to chronicle Cicero's political career as he charms, co-opts, and bribes his way into the exalted position of consul, ruler of Rome. Although Cicero is known as a brilliant politician and philosopher, he was also a slick manipulator and shameless schemer, competing with equally sneaky rivals Caesar, Pompey, and Crassus. Cicero realizes that as the empire expands, the greatest threat to Rome comes from within, plotted by well-financed conspirators bent on turning the republic into a dictatorship. With fabulous oratory and trickery, Cicero uncovers and crushes an insurrection, exposing himself to great danger and possible assassination. Riots, murder, civil unrest, corruption, treachery, and betrayal mark Cicero's political legacy, resulting in a battle between him and Julius Caesar. Throughout, however, Tiro remains loyal and remarkably astute, recognizing that it is 'an act of madness for a man to pursue power when he could be sitting in the sunshine reading a book.'" Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"There will be no deus ex machina creature to come swooping in at the close of volume three and alter the unalterable; of that we can be certain, which makes the gripping nature of Harris' narrative all the more remarkable. It is a first-rate performance, one that bodes well for the denouement to come." Nicholas A. Basbanes, The Los Angeles Times
"Readers new to the series can pick up Conspirata and enjoy it without having to read the earlier title. And, once they finish, they'll soon snap up a copy of Imperium anyway. In Harris's capable hands, arcane history and long-dead political machinations roar to life." Christian Science Monitor
"Republican Rome, with all its grandeur and corruption, has rarely been made as vivid....The allure of power and the perils that attend it have seldom been so brilliantly anatomized in a thriller." Nick Rennison, The Sunday Times (London)
"Thrilling and thought-provoking." The Spectator (London)
Harris's acclaimed Roman trilogy continues with a historical saga in which the future of democracy is decided, and revenge is the coin of the realm.
• Internationally bestselling Author - Imperium was hailed as “quite possibly Harriss most accomplished work to date” ( Los Angeles Times ) and has received rave reviews from across the globe. Robert Harriss novels have sold more than 10 million copies and have been translated into thirty-seven languages..
• Powerful protagonist: Cicero returns to continue his struggle to grasp supreme power in the state of Rome. Amidst treachery, vengeance, violence, and treason, this brilliant lawyer, orator, and philosopher finally reaches the summit of all his ambitions. Cicero becomes known as the worlds first professional politician, using his compassion, and deviousness, to overcome all obstacles..
• Compelling historical fiction at its best: Harris employs historical detail and an engrosing plot to give readers a man who ?is by turns a sympathetic hero and compromising manipulator who sets himself up for his own massive, violent ruin. This trilogy charges forward, propelled by the strength of Harriss stunningly fascinating prose..
About the Author
Robert Harris is the author of Pompeii, Enigma, and Fatherland. He has been a television correspondent with the BBC and a newspaper columnist for the London Sunday Times and The Daily Telegraph. His novels have sold more than ten million copies and been translated into thirty languages. He lives in Berkshire, England, with his wife and four children.
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