Nicole's Reviews > Imperium

Imperium by Robert   Harris
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's review
Mar 20, 2010

really liked it
Recommended for: People who love both history and intrigue
Read from March 17 to 20, 2010 — I own a copy

I'm a history junkie. Harris has crafted a novel here that (like Pompeii) gives a vivid impression of life in ancient Rome, which was neither as elegant nor as lawful as many would think. It begins with a mystery, as do many of Harris' books, but the mystery in this case takes a back seat to the bare-knuckle politics of the end of the Roman republic.

Tiro, our narrator, is largely a stand-in for the author. The central character in this story is Cicero, the legendary orator, who is shown with all his flaws, and good qualities, intact.

My only complaint is that it felt like there should have been another chapter summing up what came next. If you know Roman history, you know exactly what happened next and the ending is somewhat ominous. If not, it feels strange for Harris to stop there.

I think this should be required reading for high school students learning about ancient Rome. It's a lot more interesting than the names and dates in many history books, and could intrigue them enough to make them engage more with historical material.

ETA:Upon research, it seems there's a sequel, called Conspirata in the US. Well, that explains why it felt like it left off before the end...

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