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Cicero Books In Order

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Publication Order of Cicero Books

Imperium (2006)Description / Buy at Amazon
Conspirata / Lustrum (2009)Description / Buy at Amazon
Dictator (2016)Description / Buy at Amazon
Imperium: The Cicero Plays Backstage View (2017)Description / Buy at Amazon

Cicero by Robert Harris
Author Robert Harris wrote the “Cicero” trilogy of historical fiction. It began publication in the year 2006, when “Imperium” was released by Hutchinson. Harris concluded his trilogy in the year 2015, when “Dictator” was released.

In Harris’ summary, “Imperium” is his rise to power, while “Lustrum” is his years in power, and “Dictator” is the repercussions of his power.

The series focuses on Marcus Tullius Cicero (106-43 BC), a politician, lawyer, and orator. He was the first and greatest politician that Rome had. His life was extraordinary, even by the age’s hectic standards. He came from much lower origins than his aristocratic rivals and despite a lack of interest in military matters, deployed his skill as an orator as well as the brilliance of intellect he rose at meteoric speed through the Roman political system. That concluded, against all odds, he was finally elected consul at forty-two, which is the youngest permitted age.

Each of the books in the series are narrated by Tiro, Cicero’s secretary, having been imagined as biographies written by Tiro. Tiro was born a slave on the family estate and was three years younger than his master, however he long outlived him, and survived (according to Saint Jerome) until he was a hundred years old.

All three books in the trilogy were adapted for the stage in the year 2017 by Mike Poulton. “Imperium” was serialized as the Book at Bedtime on BBC Radio 4 September 2006.

“Lustrum” was shortlisted for a Walter Scott Prize in the year 2010.

“Imperium” is the first novel in the “Cicero” series and was released in the year 2006. Out of all the great figures from Roman times, none of them were more attractive or fascinating than Marcus Cicero. He launched himself right into the treacherous and violent world of Roman politics at the age of 27.

He was determined to get imperium, which was the supreme power in the state. Beside him at all times in this struggle to the top, the office of Consul, was Tiro, his confidential secretary. Tiro was an accomplished man, who wrote many books and the inventor of shorthand. He wrote one about Cicero, however, it was lost during the Dark Ages.

In the novel Robert Harris recounts Tiro’s vanished masterpiece, recounting in exacting detail the tale of Cicero’s climb to the top, from a radical young lawyer to Rome’s first citizen. And competing with men like Caesar, Cato, Pompey, and Crassus.

This is a carefully researched and extremely detailed story about Cicero. This is a wonderfully written novel with some superbly depicted characters and suggests that Machiavelli’s got nothing on this master of politics. Harris delivers an excellent read for anybody that is interested in the machinations of ancient Rome and the art of politics.

“Lustrum” is the second novel in the “Cicero” series and was released in the year 2009. The year is 63 BC. Cicero, during an age of political titans, stands supreme as the senior consul of the Roman republic. Jealous rivals are determined to ruin him and take control of the state. To stop them is going to take all of his guile. It will also lead him, as well as all of Rome, right to the brink of destruction.

These are the power struggles and savage factionalism of the Roman Republic during one of its most tumultuous moments. All while Cicero is alerted to one plot to overthrow the government and take the state over. It is led by Catalina, an aristocratic politician that is backed by some other shadowy factions. Even Julius Caesar is implicated in it. Cicero is undeterred and devotes himself entirely to exposing this treachery, and after one bloody struggle comes out triumphant. Gods are pitiless, and the most talented men over-reach themselves.

Clodius, the sexually voracious nobleman and senator, is put on trial, having been accused of enter a sacred women-only religious ritual to pursue Caesar’s wife. Cicero finds that he is caught up in the case, playing the reluctant star witness for the prosecution. He’s made quite a few enemies, and while Pompey, Caesar, and Crassus all grab at political power, he finds that he’s sown the seeds of his own downfall.

Harris has the ability to tell a compelling story and manages to weave seamlessly historical fiction with fact. Caesar and Cicero are both famous characters that become wholly fleshed out characters rather than just the two-dimensional names from history. Conversations in the novel are well-crafted revealing the historical player’s idiosyncrasies and serves to enhance the plot of the novel.

“Dictator” is the third novel in the “Cicero” series and was released in the year 2015. The novel is told from Tiro’s perspective, chronicling Cicero’s final fifteen years. It starts with Cicero as he flees Publius Clodius Pulcher and his mob in Rome before he goes into exile in Thessalonica. He is able to return to Rome after over a year with the promise that he will support Julius Caesar.

Once he’s back in Rome, he tries reviving the Roman Republic, however, the opposition to this are much to strong. Rule by a triumvirate, Pompey, Julius Caesar, and Crassus, ends up becoming rule by one when Caesar takes over control with a civil war.

Caesar ends up becoming to powerful and gets killed by this group led by Marcus Junius Brutus, Gaius Cassius Longinus, and Decimus Junius Brutus. The Senate fails in its efforts to take control and Mark Antony is able to take over control. Cicero puts all his hopes in the young Octavian, however, once Octavian strikes his deal with Marcus Aemilius Lepidus and Antony, Cicero is doomed and the Republic’s days are over. Tiro relates some personal and family matters during the last years of Cicero’s life.

These books all do a great job of surveying all of Cicero’s life, and each one is incredibly readable and very well written. Cicero is depicted as being a deeply flawed individual, despite being praised for his own morals, whose own vanity led to some crucial mistakes. Robert Harris does a great job in each of these books of using a more modern approach in telling these stories and makes it work incredibly.

Book Series In Order » Characters » Cicero

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