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Publisher's Summary

On the eve of Marcus Cicero's inauguration as consul of Rome, the grisly death of a boy sends ripples of fear through a city already wracked by civil unrest, crime, and debauchery of every kind. Felled by a hammer, his throat slit and his organs removed, the young slave appears to have been offered as a human sacrifice, forbidden as an abomination in the Roman Republic.
For Cicero, the ill forebodings of this hideous murder only increase his frustrations and the dangers he already faces as Rome's leader: elected by the people but despised by the heads of the two rival camps, the patricians and populists.
Caught in a political shell game that leaves him forever putting out fires only to have them ignite elsewhere, Cicero plays both for the future of the republic and his very life. There is a plot to assassinate Cicero, abetted by a rising young star of the Roman senate named Gaius Julius Caesar - and it will take all the embattled consul's wit, strength, and force of will to stop it and keep Rome from becoming a dictatorship.
In this second novel of his Roman trilogy, following the best-selling Imperium, Robert Harris once again weaves a compelling and historically accurate tale of intrigue told in the wise and compassionate voice of Cicero's slave and private secretary, Tiro. In the manner of I, Claudius, Harris vividly evokes ancient Rome and its politics for today's listeners, documenting a world not unlike our own - where the impulse toward dominance competes with the risk of overreach, where high-minded ideals can be a liability, and where someone is always waiting in the wings for a chance to set the world on fire.
Friends, Romans, countrymen, lend us your ears: listen to another Novel of Ancient Rome.
©2010 Robert Harris (P)2010 Simon & Schuster
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Critic Reviews

"Republican Rome, with all its grandeur and corruption, has rarely been made as vivid....The allure of power and the perils that attend it have seldom been so brilliantly anatomized in a thriller." ( The Sunday Times, London)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
5 out of 5 stars
By David on 04-29-10

Enjoyable Read

Having listened to Imperium, I hoped for a similar tone and pace and was not disappointed. The political intrigue was brilliantly described, and the perspective of Tiro nicely used to add a common man's commentary to the historical events portrayed. I've read Harris (The Ghost and Pompeii) and find nothing is lost in the audible version of his books. The narration is first rate. The only criticism is that the gaps between chapters seem to be a tad too long-- causing me to thing my battery had drained mid-story. I highly recommend this book.

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12 of 12 people found this review helpful

5 out of 5 stars
By Bobby on 03-02-10

An exciting and moving story of ancient Rome

I've always been interested in ancient Rome, and thought I had an understanding of its politics and history. But I was amazed at how little I knew of the persons and events that led up to the fall of the Republic and its transformation into the Empire.

But my experience with this superb novel was not just a history lesson- far from it. Harris takes you through these epic events in a very personal way. Tiro, Cicero's secretary, narrates and I developed a fondness both for him, Cicero, and their allies.

The main plot arts through one of the most pivotal and intriguing periods in history, yet the sub-plots and characters keep the novel intimate and personal.

I thoroughly enjoyed this story and am now downloading the first novel in the series (perhaps I should have started there). I'd recommend it to anyone with an interest in history, Rome, politics, or simply rich character stories full of courage, betrayal, friendship, and drama.

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10 of 10 people found this review helpful

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