Synopses & Reviews
From the bestselling author of Fatherland
comes the most provocative and brilliant novel of antiquity since I, Claudius
a cautionary tale of Cicero, the greatest orator of all time, and his extraordinary struggle for power in Rome.
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 twenty-seven 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, competing 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 world's 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 a world of Senate intrigue and electoral corruption, special prosecutors and political adventurism to describe how one clever, compassionate, devious, vulnerable man fought to reach the top.
"Harris's work provides an interesting glimpse into the lives of the rich, famous, corrupt, and powerful of Rome during the age of Julius Caesar, Pompey, and, of course, Cicero himself." Library Journal
"[Q]uite possibly his most accomplished work to date." Los Angeles Times
"Harris...returns to ancient Rome in this historical tour de force....A brilliant fictional biography of one of antiquity's most complex and triumphant characters." Booklist
"The author paints a vivid picture of everyday life, and the courtroom dramas are, at times, riveting. Readers will recognize other famous Romans who pop up in the story, including Julius Caesar and Pompey. They may also recognize the timelessness of the pursuit of power." School Library Journal
"[A] fascinating novel....Harris' novel succeeds because he breathes life into the history by revealing the game's high stakes and holding the outcome close until the final moments of revelation." Denver Post
"[Harris] brilliantly captures the physical, political and moral ambience of Rome....His storytelling is, as always, gripping, and even those who did not read Cicero in high school Latin class will find themselves comfortable in the Roman's company." Dallas Morning News
"[E]ngrossing....Imperium is meticulous, absorbing and informative a gripping novel about ancient Rome with barely a net or a trident in sight." Marcel Theroux, The New York Times Book Review
"The result is not short on interesting historical tidbits....Yet, perhaps hamstrung by the truthiness of his task, Robert Harris fails to breathe much life into his characters. (Grade: B-)" Entertainment Weekly
About the Author
Robert Harris was born in Nottingham in 1957. He has been a BBC journalist, Political Editor of the Observer, and a columnist for The Sunday Times and Daily Telegraph. In 2003 he was named Columnist of the Year in the British Press Awards. He is the author of the number one bestsellers Fatherland, Enigma, Archangel, and Pompeii, as well as five non-fiction books.