Lustrum, by Robert Harris

Lustrum is the second of the Cicero trilogy, following on the story of one of the greatest orators of the late Roman Republic. Having energetically fought for his consulship in the first novel, Lustrum now tracks Cicero’s equally masterful term in office. Threatened by force, by wealth and by the Roman mob ever baying for blood, Cicero proves that even a new man can surpass his enemies and rise to the very heights of power in Rome.

Whilst Cicero’s tale is one of bravery, it also one of sorrow, for when the rewards of glory and valour are presented even he struggles to resist his share. Like so many others throughout humanity’s history, his story proves that it is not the victory that makes the man, but the struggle to attain it. Unfortunately for our protagonist, there are also those who will stop at nothing to seize it all.

As ever, Harris’s style is entirely immersive, leaving the reader experiencing the turmoil of the mob, the roar of the crowds and the streets of Rome as though truly there. From the eyes of the slave Tiro, our narrator, we see the final Republican Senate casting their great speeches into the bounds of history.

This is truly one for any interested in this period of history, witnessing the likes of Pompey the Great and Gaius Julius Caesar. Harris provides a fast paced and in depth narrative of the events of their early careers, leading to their eventual moments of glory now set in our history. Yet another addictive addition to my growing collection of Robert Harris novels, I look forward to adding the third and final in the trilogy to my collection soon.

Length: 444 (Hutchinson)
Rating: 5 stars

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Author: Jack Jakins

A recent graduate of history, now an aspiring writer and general cynicist

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