Dictator

Dictator

Book - 2015
Average Rating:
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Random House, Inc.
The concluding part of the Cicero Trilogy that began with Imperium, from the No. 1 bestselling author of Fatherland, An officer and a Spy, Enigma, Archangel, Pompeii and The Ghost.
     Aged 48, Marcus Cicero, the greatest orator of his time, is to all appearances a broken man. Out of power, exiled to the eastern Mediterranean with his faithful secretary, Tiro, separated from his wife and children, his possessions confiscated, he spends his days tormented by his failure.
     But, to quote one of his own famous aphorisms: 'while there's life there's hope'. By promising to support his political enemy, Caesar, he manages to win his return to Italy. Once home, he gradually fights his way back: first in the law courts, then in the senate, and finally by the power of his pen, until at last, for one brief and glorious period, he is once again the dominant figure in Rome.
     The long-awaited final volume of Robert Harris's Cicero Trilogy, Dictator encompasses some of the most epic events in human history: the collapse of the Roman republic, the subsequent civil war, the murder of Pompey and the assassination of Julius Caesar. Its theme, however, is timeless: how is political freedom to be safeguarded against the triple threats of unscrupulous personal ambition, of an electoral system dominated by vested financial interests, and of the corrupting impact of waging ceaseless foreign wars?
     But above all, it is the very human figure of Cicero, beset by family problems, which makes the story so compelling: brilliant, flawed, frequently fearful and yet ultimately brave -- a hero for his time, and for ours.

Publisher: London : Hutchinson, c2015
ISBN: 9780099522683
9780091752101
Branch Call Number: FIC HAR
Characteristics: xii, 449 p. :,maps ;,25 cm.

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tjdickey
Jul 08, 2017

The third and culminatory installment in Harris' Cicero series takes us through the Triumvirate, the Roman Civil War, and the aftermath of the murder of Julius Caesar, and reminds us that dirty politics are not new! On the contrary, Harris' eloquent defense (in the words of Cicero) of the freedoms of a democratic republic, and for the rule of law and the division of powers, resonate as loudly more than two thousand years after the seismic shocks to Western civilization depicted in the Fall of the Roman Republic.

w
whitcombs2do
May 22, 2017

I'm stealing a section of a lengthy review I wrote for Colleen McCullough's Masters of Rome 7 book series. I loved her books, and said of them:

" If you're interested in popularized Roman history, this is a treasure. The writing is good, if not quite up to the standard of Robert Graves' two volume set "I, Claudius," and "Claudius the God," or Robert Harris' Cicero trilogy. If you have read and enjoyed any of these, however, you MUST read them all - in chronological order, of course. It is particularly interesting that McCullough seems more or less in the Caesar-worshipping camp. He was a prodigy; he was too good at too many things, which in the end had a lot to do with his downfall. But what a magnificent creature he was!

However, Cicero was Caesar's mortal enemy, and Robert Harris' books tell much of the same story as we find in McCullough - from a diametrically opposed point of view."

And it's true, Harris is a more subtle and nuanced narrator. Perhaps it has partly to do with the narrator's voice, which is that of Tiro, Cicero's secretary. It lends immediacy and personal intensity, and can be an excellent literary device. Remember Watson and Holmes, Archie Goodwin and Nero Wolf.

I wish Harris had stretched it to four books.

f
frankmorris
Nov 16, 2016

Great read of the "couldn't put it down" variety. Harris has a knack for bringing these ancient names to life. They seem very modern indeed. Harris' principles of power, sprinkled throughout, are thought provoking.

b
Basileus
Aug 05, 2016

Enjoyable final novel in the Cicero trilogy which deals with the end of the Roman Republic and how Cicero handles a situation which has become beyond his control.

Mardian Feb 22, 2016

Really satisfying to read the third of the trilogy and find it even better that the preceding two.

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