David's Reviews > Imperium: A Novel of Ancient Rome

Imperium by Robert   Harris
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's review
Oct 21, 2009

really liked it
bookshelves: completed
Read in October, 2009

Harris does an outstanding job of creating the type of political machinations and dirty tricks one would expect in Rome. Cicero, the hero of the novel,is portrayed by his secretary Tiro as a clever man with great insecurities. At times, Cicero burns with a passion for justice. At others, justice must take a back seat to politics.

Interestingly enough, Cicero is almost an anti-hero. He reminds me somewhat of the old Bret Maverick character, except instead of running con games to steal money, Cicero is setting into motion policitical games bent on obtaining politial power. His plots and machinations are clever.

Harris does a believeable job with the dialogue-- using an upper class English that reeks of Elizabethan tone while maintaining a modern usage. Meaning, there was no cause to go and look up Archaic words, etc. but the feeling of an Ancient time was present in the dialogue.

Okay, one complaint-- this one left me wanting more. Perhaps Harris stopped the story where he did on purpose. Perhaps this was the high point of Cicero's life. Or perhaps, a sequel will be written some day. This one was well-written with a careful pacing that wasa proper balance between a Nascar race and a snail's pace. I really enjoyed it.

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Comments (showing 1-3 of 3) (3 new)

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Johnny Ooh! I'm curious about this one.

David Thus far has been quite interesting. The book is about the rise of Cicero. Thus far has dealt with the conflict between Cicero and Verres, the corrupt governor of Sicily... Very well written, thus far.. only quibble-- use of what I think is likely a much more modern phrase "For pity's sake" used in dialogue.. Just finished the first third of the book and it has been a fine read thus far.

Johnny Here's a citation to remove your quibble.

In a letter to Terentia, Cicero wrote, "per fortunas miseras nostras, vide ne puerum perditum perdamus."

This is most commonly translated as, "For pity's sake, pitiable that we are, don't let our unfortunate boy be utterly ruined." To me, it appears to be, "for fortune though we are miserable, see that our cursed boy isn't cursed." (or some such).

Anyway, it could easily be legitimate to have Cicero say, "For pity's sake."

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