Dictator

Dictator

Book - 2016
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Imperium . . . Conspirata . . . and now Dictator --the long-awaited final volume of Robert Harris's magnificent Ancient Rome Trilogy
 
At the age of forty-eight, Cicero--the greatest orator of his time--is in exile, separated from his wife and children, tormented by his sense of failure, his great power sacrificed on the altar of his principles. And yet, in the words of one of his most famous aphorisms, "While there is life, there is hope."

By promising to support Caesar--his political enemy--he is granted return to Rome. There, he fights his way back to prominence: first in the law courts, then in the Senate, and finally by the power of his pen, until at last, for one brief and glorious period, he is again the preeminent statesman in the city. Even so, no public figure, however brilliant and cunning, is completely safeguarded against the unscrupulous ambition and corruption of others. 

Riveting and tumultuous, Dictator encompasses some of the most epic events in ancient history--the collapse of the Roman Republic and the subsequent civil war, the murder of Pompey, the assassination of Julius Caesar. But the central problem it presents is a timeless one: how to keep political freedom unsullied by personal ambition, vested interests, and the erosive effects of ceaseless, senseless foreign wars. In Robert Harris's indelible portrait, Cicero attempts to answer this question with both his thoughts and his deeds, becoming a hero--brilliant, flawed, frequently fearful yet ultimately brave--both for his own time and for ours.
Publisher: New York :, Alfred A. Knopf,, 2016.
Edition: First United States edition.
ISBN: 9780307957948
Branch Call Number: FICTION
Characteristics: xix, 385 pages ; 25 cm

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tjdickey
Jul 08, 2017

The third and culminatory installment in Harris' Cicero series takes us through the Triumvirate, the Roman Civil War, and the aftermath of the murder of Julius Caesar, and reminds us that dirty politics are not new! On the contrary, Harris' eloquent defense (in the words of Cicero) of the freedoms of a democratic republic, and for the rule of law and the division of powers, resonate as loudly more than two thousand years after the seismic shocks to Western civilization depicted in the Fall of the Roman Republic.

w
whitcombs2do
May 22, 2017

I'm stealing a section of a lengthy review I wrote for Colleen McCullough's Masters of Rome 7 book series. I loved her books, and said of them:

" If you're interested in popularized Roman history, this is a treasure. The writing is good, if not quite up to the standard of Robert Graves' two volume set "I, Claudius," and "Claudius the God," or Robert Harris' Cicero trilogy. If you have read and enjoyed any of these, however, you MUST read them all - in chronological order, of course. It is particularly interesting that McCullough seems more or less in the Caesar-worshipping camp. He was a prodigy; he was too good at too many things, which in the end had a lot to do with his downfall. But what a magnificent creature he was!

However, Cicero was Caesar's mortal enemy, and Robert Harris' books tell much of the same story as we find in McCullough - from a diametrically opposed point of view."

And it's true, Harris is a more subtle and nuanced narrator. Perhaps it has partly to do with the narrator's voice, which is that of Tiro, Cicero's secretary. It lends immediacy and personal intensity, and can be an excellent literary device. Remember Watson and Holmes, Archie Goodwin and Nero Wolf.

I wish Harris had stretched it to four books.

f
frankmorris
Nov 16, 2016

Great read of the "couldn't put it down" variety. Harris has a knack for bringing these ancient names to life. They seem very modern indeed. Harris' principles of power, sprinkled throughout, are thought provoking.

b
Basileus
Aug 05, 2016

Enjoyable final novel in the Cicero trilogy which deals with the end of the Roman Republic and how Cicero handles a situation which has become beyond his control.

Mardian Feb 22, 2016

Really satisfying to read the third of the trilogy and find it even better that the preceding two.

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