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' most accomplished novel to date.
Author: Robert Harris
Category: Historical fiction
Of all the great figures of Rome, none was more fascinating than Marcus Cicero. Brilliant lawyer and orator, famous wit and philosopher; he launched himself, at twenty-seven, into the treacherous world of Roman politics, determined to attain imperium, the supreme power in the state. Beside him in his struggle to reach the office of Consul u was his confidential secretary, Tiro: the inventor of shorthand, author of numerous books, including a famous life of Cicero, which vanished in the Dark Ages. Robert Harris has recreated Tiro's lost masterpiece, to tell in vivid detail the story of Cicero's rise to power, from radical young lawyer to first citizen of Rome, competing with men such as Pompey, Caesar, Crassus and Cato. This is a world exotically different, and yet very similar, to ours; a world of Senate intrigue, electoral corruption, special prosecutors, political hostesses, in which free speech and liberty are being threatened by military adventures abroad. Harris's Cicero is an outsider; ambitious, vulnerable, highly intelligent, compassionate, frequently devious but always human - the world's first professional politician. Robert Harris: 'What makes this book unusual is not that it draws the parallel (a clich now) between the US and Rome, but that it goes back to the beginnings of what makes politics so fascinating - oratory, strategising, electioneering, manipulation of public opinion. I follow politics as others might follow football; Cicero is fascinating to me because he's the ultimate professional in the ultimate sport. It's this universality which is important.'