Dictatorial

26 05 2018

Dictator by Robert Harris

 

‘Laws are silent in times of war.’
Cicero

There was a time when Cicero held Caesar’s life in the palm of his hand. But now Caesar is the dominant figure and Cicero’s life is in ruins.

Exiled, separated from his wife and children, his possessions confiscated, his life constantly in danger, Cicero is tormented by the knowledge that he has sacrificed power for the sake of his principles.

His comeback requires wit, skill and courage – and for a brief and glorious period, the legendary orator is once more the supreme senator in Rome.

But politics is never static and no statesman, however cunning, can safeguard against the ambition and corruption of others.

Riveting and tumultuous, DICTATOR encompasses some of the most epic events in human history yet is also an intimate portrait of a brilliant, flawed, frequently fearful yet ultimately brave man – a hero for his time and for ours. This is an unforgettable tour de force from a master storyteller.

Yet again it’s all about the politics. It is all a bit up and down for Cicero in the most challenging of times but he nevertheless remains a compelling central character to the very end. A terrific finale to a wonderful trilogy.

 

Advertisements




Cicero goes large

20 05 2018

Lustrum by Robert Harris

Rome, 63 BC. In a city on the brink of acquiring a vast empire, seven men are struggling for power. Cicero is consul, Caesar his ruthless young rival, Pompey the republic’s greatest general, Crassus its richest man, Cato a political fanatic, Catilina a psychopath, Clodius an ambitious playboy.

The stories of these real historical figures – their alliances and betrayals, their cruelties and seductions, their brilliance and their crimes – are all interleaved to form this epic novel. Its narrator is Tiro, a slave who serves as confidential secretary to the wily, humane, complex Cicero. He knows all his master’s secrets – a dangerous position to be in.

From the discovery of a child’s mutilated body, through judicial execution and a scandalous trial, to the brutal unleashing of the Roman mob, Lustrum is a study in the timeless enticements and horrors of power.

It’s all about the politics and the battle for power. The struggles between Caesar, Pompey and Crassus, with Cicero in the middle, is skilfully portrayed and the narrative is thoroughly gripping as Rome spirals into crisis.

It’s another corker from Harris.





Serious things happened on the way to the Forum

13 05 2018

 

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.

Have recently re-read this and found it as compelling as the first time around. The portrayal of Cicero and all of his political allies and opponents is excellent and the Roman backdrop is impressively painted. Whilst there is much rich historical detail here the thing which makes it genuinely gripping is the political ebb and flow around Cicero. It’s all politics at the end of the day and it is almost impossible not to draw parallels with contemporary political life too.

Just outstanding and highly recommended.








%d bloggers like this: