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Imperium: From the Sunday Times bestselling author (Cicero Trilogy, 4)

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Un homine novo, que venía a significar un recién llegado del pueblo llano, un hidalgo de provincias que ascendió a lo más alto gracias a su retórica, su conocimiento del derecho romano y las intrincadas y complejas relaciones humanas y la caprichosa naturaleza del poder. Cicero aspired to become consul, but he seemed satisfied with the overall structure of the Roman Republic.

La vida de este político y estadista, uno de los mejores oradores de todos los tiempos, que vivió tiempos convulsos de la república romana, da para no una, sino las tres novelas que RH le dedica. Told by his servant, Tiro, who invented his own shorthand for recording his master’s words, as he spoke them. Esta, en concreto, se divide en dos partes, la primera hasta su elección como edil, y la segunda hasta su nombramiento como cónsul. A rising young lawyer, backed by a shrewd wife, he decides to gamble everything on one of the most dramatic courtroom battles of all time. He just has Tiro say something like, "And I am certain that the above speech is exactly as he told it, because I wrote it down myself and the record still survives.For indeed the plot is a political plotting in which Harris has intricately mixed the moral beliefs with the political personal ambitions of his main character. No, Harris (and his like) fill the gaps with what they imagined was done and said by the real-life protagonists and weave this into a proper story. Since I was originally seduced into my passion for learning about the Roman Empire by Colleen McCullough and her "Masters of Rome" series of novels, I naturally began this investigation of the life of Cicero with misgivings since Cicero is less than heroic in McCullough's books that tend to present Julius Caesar as the more admirable character. Luckily, Tiro also invented his own version of Latin shorthand, without which we may not have had such top quality records of Cicero’s speeches.

Harris presents an absorbing study of politics and the culture of power in the late Roman Republic and I find "Imperium" to be a worthy successor to Harris' "Pompeii". Despite being set in antiquity it reads like a contemporary legal thriller such as you might expect from John Grisham, and the book really takes off. a Roman Governor pillages Sicily, working in league with pirates, and abducting and killing ship passengers.

The focus shifts from the wisdom and teachings of Greek civilization to the power and politics characteristic of the Roman Empire. Cicero is summoned to the house of Metellus Pius, pontifex maximus, and requested to prosecute Catilina over his extortion as governor in Africa. At times it seemed so fraught with failure that I came to find it amusing and would chuckle and roll my eyes and think "of course! Events take a turn for the worse when Publius Clodius Pulcher lays charges against Lucius Sergius Catilina for the crimes he committed in Africa and Cicero thinks about defending Catilina.

Anyway, the story is a fictional biography centering on the legendary orator, Cicero, as told by his private secretary, Tiro. It holds those eyes and hearts of Roman sensibilities during change in the republic, both in its aristocrats, and in its plebs - incredibly well.

I had also always assumed that the aristocrats opposition to Caesar's proposed land reforms was based on greed. At a meeting in the Senate Pompey's arrival is greeted with boos and jeering and Piso and the other aristocrats attack him for wanting to be a second Romulus in their determination to vote down the lex Gabinia. Discover the joy of reading with us, your trusted source for affordable books that do not compromise on quality. This is the first book of a trilogy, illustrating Cicero’s rise in the Roman political scene, as narrated by his scribe Tiro.

Speeches could make or break a Roman politician in those times, and Robert Harris gave Cicero's speeches the necessary background and build-up to make it an engrossing read. The US has often been compared, and occasionally compares itself, to Rome, right down to using a term like “senator”. I found it unevenly written and paced, and while the plot starts quite tight it ends up meandering all over as if it's not quite sure what it wants to be about. This book covers the last fifteen years of Cicero's life, a period marked by personal and political turmoil.For a far better fictional evocation of ancient Rome, stronger characters, and a real sense of history I would recommend Colleen McCullough's Masters of Rome series far above this.

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