Customer Reviews for

Imperium (Cicero Series #1)

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Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 60 Customer Reviews
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  • Posted August 20, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    A fun read and good introduction to the life and times of Cicero

    Imperium is the first in a trilogy of novels about the life and times of Marcus Tullius Cicero, one of Republican Rome's most famous orators. The book is narrated by Tiro, Cicero's slave and secretary, many years after Cicero's death. Tiro existed and lived to be a hundred years old. He was famous for creating a short hand that he used for taking notes and later was adopted by the Senate. There is considerable evidence he wrote a biography of his former master, but those books are lost to history. Harris gives him back his voice.

    The story is primarily a political thriller-there is little physical action and only a scene or two in which there might be some physical danger. Tiro is a wonderful, sympathetic character-intelligent, loyal, hard-working; brave when he needs to be; and, at all times, discreet. His "voice," through Harris, is straightforward narrative with not a lot of reflection or poetry, but excellent descriptions of places and people-what you might expect from a person who spends his life listening, watching and recording.

    Harris does a good job of weaving the historical details into the narrative without boring the reader, but it still helps to have some background. There are plots within plots, shifting factions and loyalties, and the minutia of governing. Cicero walks a fine line trying not to alienate the men in power while not becoming their pawn. But with all his brilliance, he still makes enemies and, by the end, when he wins the imperium he so lusts for, they are lining up on all sides to take him down.

    Harris does us a favor bringing this famous Roman back to the public in such an accessible story. Since Latin is no longer required in high school or college, Cicero is fading from our collective memory, which is a shame-he profoundly affected our U.S. founding fathers. Because so many of his books and letters survived, his work became canon in studying the language and his views on a balanced government suffused the ideas of Enlightenment thinkers and are reflected in the US constitution. John Adams' first and most prized book was his Cicero. I recommend Imperium and will be looking forward to the next installment.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 24, 2009

    Historical Masterpiece

    Robert Harris has created and excellent work of combining history with a story that is suspenseful as well as informative. I believe lawyers as well as lovers of historical fiction would enjoy this book.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 13, 2010

    A good read for ancient history buffs

    Very readable story. Told by Cicero's "secretary" who apparently recorded his almost every word during his rise to power in Ancient Rome. It held my interest because I knew little about this period of history. Am currently reading the second book in the trilogy. It's not a Dan Brown "page turner" but it's worth reading.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 11, 2009

    A Good Story of Ancient Roman Politics

    This is from the viewpoint of the slave of Cicero the orator (Tiro). Tiro invented a shorthand method that allowed him to take down every word of the proceedings that involved his famous master. Pompey and Caesar are characters in the book, but the story is about Cicero and his rise to power. Interesting reading.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 6, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    Excellent book

    This book was truly a page turner. Just as Harris did with Pompeii, the author has written a compelling thriller.
    This seems odd to say, as Imperium by definition deals with ancient history. Yet I was hanging on each page and waiting to read the outcome. Even though most readers are likekly somewhat acquainted with the factual history - whether as a history buff or a Stephen Saylor reader - the history is still written with a fresh edge and cliffhangers. Plus, the narrator Tiro is a fascinating character.
    I hope Harris writes a sequel to cover the remainder of Cicero's life!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 18, 2007

    Cicero oh Cicero

    When I first picked up this book I wasn't sure how it was going to be written more history or more fiction. Well I have to give kudos to Mr. Robert Harris for finding a very good balance always staying true to the historical aspects of the story while interjecting bits and pieces of fiction here and there. I enjoyed the scheme of this book instead of the usual historical fiction about conquering and war that most people associate with Rome he used the incredible politics of the day to arouse the interest of the reader of the book with incredible stories of prosecution, bribery, and at some points investigative work. I enjoy the also the fact that it was written from the point of view of Tiro seeing everything through his eyes is obviously different than seeing these actions through Cicero's. Overall I really enjoyed this book it is worth every cent you would pay for it except the fact that you at some points have an interest in the politics of Rome at the time to keep your interest through tedious points. Other than that I would really recommend this book and commend Mr. Harris for his work of craftmanship.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 24, 2006

    Gladitorial Politics

    If you ever thought politics was an arena for elite, snobbish gentlemen, Robert Harris' 'Imperium' will toss you in with the lions with only your wits as a defence. This is politics on steroids where your life may depend on which side of the fence you are attempting to straddle and the aristocracy is every bit as lethal in a close fight as a gladiator. Harris' is a superb storyteller who deftly handles a subject which is a yawner (for me) and, as in his previous novel 'Pompeii', crafts a real corker of a tale of intrigue and corruption. 'New man' in the arena is the historical Cicero who is an expert litigator with his eye on the top spot in Roman politics. When he states at the beginning that, as defense attorney, his job is to present a vigorous defence and that guilt or innocence is decided by the court you may be tempted to view him as the precursor to all the bad lawyer jokes you've ever heard. But Harris' character layering is excellent and we begin to empathize with Cicero and watching his character development is as rewarding as watching him defend a case or develop his political strategies. As fascinating in it's detail of ancient Roman political, military and domestic life as 'Pompeii', you will come to the end of this first novel of a planned trilogy cheering and looking forward to the second act.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 9, 2012

    Some things never change.

    Marcus T Cicero is a great character for this novel. Being a story told by his servant makes this an intriguing read. If you enjoy politics and are aware of the behavior of history's leaders you should read this book. You'll compare it to our current house/senate.

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  • Posted December 11, 2011

    There is Nothing New Under the Sun

    This is a wry overview of Roman history at the time of Cicero served with dry wit and style. The political machinations could be taken from today's pages of the Washington Post ex the Roman murder and torture part. (No, wait, we have that too!)Always amusing and well written, this is more than escapist fiction. I highly recommend for those with an interest in history and politics.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2011

    Highly recommended

    If you like Lindsey Davis you'll like this. A very readable story set in a great historical backround

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 8, 2011

    Excellent historical fiction!

    Excellent novel! Tons of Roman history tied into an amazing story line that keeps you guessing!

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  • Posted July 17, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    A very slow but thorough potential version of Roman life.

    Its really hard to give a review on this because, although interesting at times, this book reads like an encyclopedia. I liked it....I think.....at least a little. Ancient Roma ploitics could be riddled with action and to a point this tale had action but it was all verbal which seemed tedious. I loved Fatherland by Harris bu have been less thrilled with all his other works so far. This didn't live up to the hype and my expectations.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 1, 2009

    Attention Holding

    I didn't think I would really enjoy this book until I got past the first couple of chapters. Politics in ancient Rome before Christ: this book will hold you captive. If you liked "I, Claudius", you will like this book. A run for the Roman Senate is more captivating and exciting than a run for the US Senate. I've also read The Ghost by Robert Harris. I could not put that book down!!

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  • Posted March 9, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Oh, those Romans...

    Interesting approach to the machinations of ancient Rome's political scheming by telling the story through Cicero's secretary. A little dry.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 13, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    Great for history lovers.

    This novel was well done. Robert Harris admittedly inserted some things from his imagination, but they were well within the realm of things that could have taken place in ancient Rome. It follows Marcus Tullius Cicero, who was a real Roman politician, on his way through the ranks of The Republics governing system from a servants point of view.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 6, 2007

    Roman Politics -- No different from ours today!

    Ancient Rome provides names such as Caesar, Crassus, Pompey, Verres, Tiro and Cicero. These are all great men in history except for the slave, Tiro. It is from this slave¿s viewpoint that this audio book, IMPERIUM, is written. Tiro becomes Cicero¿s private secretary by developing shorthand that is used to take down every word spoken when Cicero needs it done. The story takes Cicero from a simple lawyer to the very top of Roman rule. While I am not a great history buff and don¿t remember much of what I did read in school, I know my husband who is such a buff will love this CD. The politics of Rome is no different than the politics of today as the story takes you through the twist and turns of the wealth and greed of the greatest men in Rome. There are descriptions of how voting was done at that time and of the great homes. It also tells how Cicero managed to climb his way up in the political arena with his great speeches and a mind that was quick to find the pieces needed to sway those in greater power to his side. The reader, Simon Jones, has a British accent that adds to the fact that he is reading about Rome. His is clear and easy to listen to and provides different accents for the different characters. If you love courtroom drama and Roman history, this CD will provide you with many hours of great listening.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 25, 2007

    Politics in Ancient Rome

    Cicero was one of the great orators and statesmen of ancient Rome. This fictional biography, from the point of view of his slave and secretary Tiro, covers the first forty years of his life. It chronicles his rise through the ranks of the Senate to the ultimate office of consul. It's well-written, yet because I'm not crazy about politics, I didn't enjoy it as much as the author's earlier work, Pompeii. Apparently there will be a sequel to this in the future, which I assume will be as well-researched as this novel. Recommended for fans of the machinations of politics - in any day and age.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 31, 2007

    Meh

    The story in this book is great. Cicero is a captivating man, and the story of his life is an interesting read. However, the book is poorly written, with the narrator constantly thrusting himself into the story as if you will forgot who tells it (and truthfully, if he did not do that you WOULD forget who tells it). Worth the read for the story of Cicero's life, but not worth spending the money. Borrow it if you can.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 24, 2007

    What a great gift.

    I recieved this book as a christmas gift and gave it a little time before it found its way to being read. I was so taken by it's storyline that I was compelled to learn more about the life of Cicero and the art of shorthand. It is a great book-perhaps one of the best I've read in a long time.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 15, 2007

    are you not entertained

    This was my first robert harris novel, but it won't be the last. Looking forward to the next two in the cycle!

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