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Imperium: A Novel of Ancient Rome (Cicero #1)

3.97 of 5 stars 3.97  ·  rating details  ·  11,078 ratings  ·  840 reviews

When Tiro, the confidential secretary (and slave) of a Roman senator, opens the door to a terrified stranger on a co
Published September 19th 2006 by Simon & Schuster Audio (first published September 7th 20)
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Ward Muylaert The author says there's no need for this. I'm starting Lustrum as we speak and I reckon having read Imperium will be helpful with the extra background…moreThe author says there's no need for this. I'm starting Lustrum as we speak and I reckon having read Imperium will be helpful with the extra background on several of the characters.(less)
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3.0 stars. This book did exactly what I expected it to do. It was a both a solid, enjoyable read and at the same time an unremarkable story that will be forgotten as quickly as my self respect inhibitions on Tequila. To put it in the shell's nut, this was good entertainment but likely won't earn a hallowed place among your list of favorites.

I did appreciate that this book lent itself extremely well to audio because the story is VERY easy to follow and the narrative is not jammed with dense exp

Historical fiction writers are cursed. They are not Robert Graves.

Nonetheless, this is an entertaining attempt with a provoking figure as the main focus to visit Ancient Republican Rome. The book deals with the fascinating life of the political animal and great thinker, Marcus Tullius Cicero.

This novel is the first in a Trilogy. The second has a different title for the English Lustrum and American editions Conspirata. The third one has not been published yet. I have so far read only this first
Jun 19, 2008 Mary rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: historical fiction enthusiasts
Well, I just finished listening to "Imperium" by Robert Harris. Once more, Harris delves into the inner workings of the Roman Empire only this time, he retreats back to the Republican era and creates a fictional biography of Marcus Tullius Cicero as seen through the eyes of his slave secreatary, Tiro.

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
Harris has done something really smart here: if he'd published a three-volume biography of Cicero, no one would have read it. (Well, I wouldn't have.) So instead it's a trilogy of historical novels, which sounds way more fun. But it comes down to nearly the same thing, right? This is a very detailed, carefully researched work about Cicero.

It's told first-person by Tiro, Cicero's scribe, who's a real guy who wrote a real biography of Cicero (now lost). It's a clever gambit by Harris; it allows hi
I have never really been all that interested in Roman political history. After all, I am barely interested in modern politics. This is why I have owned this book for a few years and have put off reading it. But, having now taken that step and read it, I should not have put it off so long.

The book is written in an endearing style and the word I often used while reading it was 'jolly'. It seemed the one word I could think of to encapsulate its feel. I do not mean comedic, or silly, or slapstick, I
[The following review was written three years ago, when I read the book the first time. I expected to change my opinion of the book, and at least take one star off my rating. However, it is a good book, and was not damaged by a second reading. Therefore, I'll let the review and the rating stand.]

Before I start I must say that I enjoy Robert Harris books. I picked up Fatherland in one of those "buy three books get the fourth free" promotions. I had no intention of getting it but you know how it i
Executive Summary: I really enjoyed the first 50% and the last 15% or so, but the third in between got kind of slow. 3.5 stars rounded rounded down for the lull.

Audio book: Simon Jones does an excellent job with the narration, and seems like a great fit.

Full Review
I used to love history. I used to watch the history channel for hours. I'm not sure why I never really got into historical fiction, or even nonfiction for that matter.

I don't remember much about Rome however. I looked up Cicero and T
I loved this book. Harris has written a novel that combines a good political potboiler with solid historical fiction, based on real events in the life of the famous Roman senator and consul Cicero.

Narrated by Cicero's slave and scribe, Tiro, who invented an early elaborate version of shorthand so he could take down speeches and debates as they occurred, the novel joins Cicero as a young man, and then takes us through his landmark prosecution of Verres, a corrupt governor of Sicily (and you wonde
I have read three books by Robert Harris recently; this one, Pompeii and Enigma. Notwithstanding anything I might have found previously to say about his works, one thing I have to give him is that the man does his research quiet well. He does not rely on heavy words like some authors to veil an otherwise paper thin plot (that is, if there is one to start with), but he trusts his immaculate research to speak for his work with a clean narration. As a result, the reader is exposed to a very well re ...more
Dean Lombardo
Call it a prequel to Robert Harris' "Pompeii," if you like, "Imperium" follows the brilliant career of Roman senator, advocate and philosopher, Marcus Cicero as he outdazzles his political rivals in a decades-long display of words and wit, without having to resort to the threats and violence that his enemies do. The tale is narrated by Tiro, Cicero's scribe, who appparently really did exist, though his scrolls were lost. "Imperium" tries to recapture the content of those lost scrolls through Har ...more
Nov 26, 2007 Ollie rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: lovers of History
A reviewer called this novel "Labour in Togas" because of the many parallels one can draw between Tony Blair's ascent and Cicero's career. Both men stood against the "aristocracy" and represented the common people; both men had to change the laws of their governments because of "terrorists"; and both men eventually found themselves shaking hands with their enemies in order to maintain their power. Imperium is a historical novel that builds its thrills much like a John Grisham courtroom thriller. ...more
Nov 02, 2010 Ed rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Roman History Fans
Part One of an intended trilogy, this is a fictional biography of Marcus Tullius Cicero, as told by his personal secretary and slave Tiro. Tiro did actually write a biography of Cicero but it was lost during the Middle Ages.

It begins when Cicero is twenty-seven and is determined to attain Imperium, the highest office in the Roman Republic, that of Consul. It ends some twenty years later with a surprising election. In between there is suspense and danger as Cicero works his political magic to ac
I love reading about ancient Rome. It's a period I have become very interested in and learned about primarily though fiction (films as well as books). I have also enjoyed the Robert Harris books I've read in the past, which, although certainly intelligent and well-written, have been fast-paced, dramatic and quick reads. Thus while the Roman setting of Imperium intrigued me, I expected it to be light and easy to read, and probably heavily embellished. In actual fact, it's really quite a serious n ...more
This was a fun, engaging and quick read for a Latin teacher on the beach, with broader appeal too. There's good reason he's a bestseller. Imperium tells two episodes from the life of famous Roman lawyer & orator Cicero from the eyes of his personal scribe, Tiro. First, the lawsuit that gave him fame, his successful prosecution of the corrupt Verres, who extorted millions while governor of Sicily. Second, the back-room dealings and political drama leading up to Cicero's election as consul in ...more
Politik… selalu penuh korupsi, suap menyuap, saling menjilat dan bersilat lidah….

Pengalaman yg ditulis tiro tentang cicero serasa membawa peristiwa yg tjd lebih dari 2000 tahun yg lalu ke masa kini. Tetap sama. Situasi pergerakan politik demi memperebutkan kekuasaan tak pernah berubah. Akan tetap diwarnai tarian indah dan keluwesan dalam memainkan na.

Ada beberapa buku yg menceritakan tentang ketidakadilan yg dipandang dari sudut pandang penerima ketidakadilan. Namun pd kisah ini ditampilkan sudu
Sam Quixote
Set in the dying days of the Roman Republic, Marcus Cicero begins his ascent through the ranks of the senate to become one of the most powerful men in Rome. But the path to becoming the famous orator we now know is strewn with dangerous men who would see a high-minded lawyer dead in a ditch to get what they want. Men like Pompey and Julius Caesar who are looking to destroy democracy for a military dictatorship and absolute power.

Robert Harris writes another fantastic novel, his second Roman nov
Indah Threez Lestari
145 - 2014

#Program BUBU

Pertama kali dibeli dan dibaca pada tanggal 3 Maret 2009.


Novel ini seperti mesin waktu yang membawa kita kembali ke masa kejayaan Republik Romawi. Mengikuti lembar demi lembar kisah orator ulung Cicero meniti kariernya dari bawah hingga mencapai puncak kekuasaan, kita akan menyadari betapa besar pengaruh kebudayaan Romawi di masa modern ini. Betapa banyak istilah hukum dan pemerintahan yang masih digunakan saat ini (terutama hukum dan pemerinta
Excellent. A very timely study of how republican government can gradually give way to dictatorship, and how that can be facilitated by a relatively virtuous individual if he is interested enough in attaining power for its own sake.

The characterizations are not that probing or vivid, and I thought there were missed opportunities with the narrator, the slave Tiro, who is so self-effacing I often forgot it was not Cicero himself who was narrating, and with Terentia and her relationship with Cicero
This has been my first book from this author and I have been very favorably impressed. I’d like to say that I should have read a book by him sooner but I have so many I want to read that I’d just be fooling myself if I thought I would have.
The story is told or actually written by Cicero’s loyal slave Tiro at the end of his life. This part of the tale is of Cicero’s climb to the top of Roman politics.
I found the portrayal of Cicero and Roman life very real. The depiction of Cicero as both a man
Patrick Gibson
Imperium charts the fictionalized political life of the Roman orator Cicero, and in doing so pushes the limits of historical fiction from drama, to mystery to political thriller. It reads quickly, and you'll find that you know the names of many of characters, which helps to keep from confusing the Roman names. And while the reader will get a healthy dose of Roman political vocabulary, Harris takes care to explain it all, and lends terminology enough context to keep the reader from having to turn ...more
This is a tremendous examination of the final days of the Roman Republic as told through the fictional recollections of Cicero’s personal secretary. As an attorney, I enjoyed charting the course of Cicero’s rise to greatness through the Roman courts as he employed many of the legal tactics still in use today. As a historian, I delighted in the depictions of the plodding Pompey, the crass Cassius and the brash young Julius Caesar all struggling to play the people against the aristocrats, usurp th ...more
Karl Jorgenson
Robert Harris has been replaced by an alien doppelganger, probably the same alien who wrote Iron and Rust, pretending to be Harry Sidebottom. Both these books from my favorite authors are endless summary, endless telling with little showing, and endless, endless, impenetrable Roman names, hundreds of characters, most of whom mean nothing.
I think Harris' problem is, in writing about the real Cicero and what really happened, he felt constrained to tell us all the boring crap that is true, and fail
Cicero, Rome's best known orator and wiley politician, earned his reputation for public speaking by taking on the most unwanted court cases and winning them. For a man without the benefit of an aristocratic background or the glory of military victories to smooth his path, he rose to the pinnacle of Roman Republican power on his intellect, his sharp wit, and his able tongue.

Many of the character's names are familiar to even the most casual reader of history: Julius Caesar, Pompey the Great, Mark
Arun Divakar
First and foremost, Imperium is a tale of the mad scramble for power in a militaristic and economically strong then-republic of Rome. The tale chronicles the transition of one of the most shining luminaries of the Roman pantheon, Cicero as he comes up from the ranks of a common lawyer to the position of Imperium ( the power of life and death over fellow humans) in his role as a Consul.

I have read in many a review that the most interesting and fascinating part of the tale is the fact that it is d
Marcus Tullius Cicero is one of those names that you know is historically significant, but can't really think of what he is famous for. Part of the reason is that unlike many of the other historical figures of that era, he did not earn his fame by commanding victorious Roman legions or purchase power by being part of the Roman aristocracy. Instead, Cicero, coming from a wealthy, but not powerful family, made history through the use of his wit and amazing skills as an orator, rising through the R ...more
Ariyati Lestari
A political novel with time setting during the glory of triumph of Pompey the Great and when Julius Caesar was still a junior in the Roman senate.

The story narrated by a slave of a statesman, his name was Tiro. He invented the art of shorthand, this of course provide a huge support to his master, the public orator – Cicero. Some of the work still kept in Loeb classical library.

Cicero himself was a lawyer and newbie on the Roman senate- well, much older than Caesar though. Having no aristocrat na
You know Cicero?

Yes, Cicero, the Roman statesman who is known by us today as the guy who talked and talked and did a lot of stuff with law. And oh yeah, talked. You probably had to read something by him in high school or college, so you likely have pretty bad and boring memories related to the name Marcus Tullius Cicero.

So when I read that Imperium by Robert Harris was about Cicero, I gave an internal groan.

A premature assumption of boredom that turned out to be totally wrong.

Imperium is a great
Imperium, Harris’s second novel set in Ancient Rome, follows the early career of Cicero, Roman senator, lawyer, orator, as he navigates the complex world of Roman politics. Like Pompeii before it, the details are just right and the plot immediately engrossing. You care nearly as much about the trial of Verres as Cicero must have. After the novel reaches its first climax with the outcome of Verres’s trial, the book meanders a little before finding its footing again amid the intricate power play o ...more
Sep 08, 2007 Femmy rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: lovers of historical fiction, courtroom drama, and politics
Last year my editor at Gramedia presented me with three choices for my next translation project, and after reading their synopses at Amazon, I chose this one. After two-three years returning to full-time translating, I've found that I prefer translating novels with a non-modern-American setting, especially fantasy and historical fiction. This one fits the bill.

I never regretted my choice. Imperium was a joy to translate. I dove into the world of Ancient Rome Republic in the first century BC and
It’s déjà vu all over again as we travel back with author Robert Harris to Republican Rome just before it became Imperial Rome. In America, in 2013, we complain about corruption. We wonder about conspiracies. We brood darkly on the failure of government to address issues of inequality. We deplore the bribery of officials. The world, we say, is going to Hell.

Except that government went to Hell a long time ago and you could easily argue that government — all government — was always hellish. Compar
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New Up and Coming Authors? For example, see the book the topic is 'about' 1 10 May 29, 2014 10:08PM  
Who wants to enter politics? 2 20 Oct 31, 2013 09:51AM  
When does the next one in this series come out? 13 103 Oct 31, 2013 07:57AM  
Goodreads Librari...: Combine editions 2 16 Jun 20, 2012 02:15PM  
  • Caesar's Women (Masters of Rome, #4)
  • Arms of Nemesis (Roma Sub Rosa, #2)
  • Caligula (Rufus, #1)
  • The King's Gambit (SPQR, #1)
  • Terra Incognita (Gaius Petreius Ruso, #2)
  • Rome: The Emperor's Spy (Rome, #1)
  • Eagle in the Snow
  • Fire in the East (Warrior of Rome, #1)
  • The Forgotten Legion (Forgotten Legion Chronicles, #1)
Librarian Note: There are several authors in the GoodReads database with this name. See this thread for more information.
Robert Dennis Harris (born 7 March 1957 in Nottingham) is a best-selling English novelist. He is a former journalist and BBC TV reporter. He specialises in historical thrillers noted for their literary accomplishment. His books have been translated into some thirty languages.
More about Robert Harris...

Other Books in the Series

Cicero (3 books)
  • Lustrum (Cícero, #2)
  • Dictator (Cicero, #3)
Pompeii Fatherland An Officer and a Spy Enigma The Ghost

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“Power brings a man many luxuries, but a clean pair of hands is seldom among them.” 22 likes
“Cicero smiled at us. 'The art of life is to deal with problems as they arise, rather than destory one's spirit by worrying about them too far in advance. Especially tonight.” 17 likes
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