Imperium, by Robert Harris

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Politics, corruption, power – Imperium.

Imperium is told from the perspective of a highly able and literate slave, Tiro, following the story of his master Marcius Tullius Cicero, a great orator, lawyer and above all politician. The pair bear witness to the classic strive to ultimate power within the great Roman Republic, highlighting the dark deals, bribery and sheer ingenuity required to make it to the top. This is certainly in likeness to a Roman ‘House of Cards’, bearing the same dramatic trials and tribulations which make for highly compelling drama.

In the final decades of the Republic, Harris tracks this demise through a detailed narrative of its orcastrators. Legendary historical figures such as Pompey the Great and Julius Caesar are characterised in their glorious nature, but also in what was likely their true selves: ambitious, dangerous and entirely unstoppable.

Harris has an absorbing writing style, placing his reader in the heart of Roman life. Great events remembered throughout history are delved into more deeply, unearthing the corruption and strifes necessary for their accomplishment.

With a wealth of historical knowledge, and the use of Cicero’s own recorded speeches and letters, Harris captures real historical fact within the compelling compound of literature. Imperium is a thrilling narrative, which will have you following the exhilarating political manoeuvres from over two thousand years ago as attentively as if they were occuring today.

Length: 403 (BCA)

Overall Rating: 5 stars

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Pompeii, by Robert Harris

After my recent read of The Ghost by Robert Harris, I was interested to see how he approached his historical themed novels which I have also been highly recommended. Pompeii certainly didn’t disappoint.

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Following its key protagonist, Marcus Attilius, an engineer for the aqueduct of the Aqua Augusta, Pompeii delves into a gripping tale spanning the few days before this major historical event. With the inevitability of the disastrous eruption, Harris faced  the evident challenge of creating a tale of which all would know its end. In this aspect, Harris did a remarkable job of imagining a wider fictional narrative, offering a refreshing ground perspective on something emphatically distanced by history. Exacting his distinct knowledge on the period, Harris perfectly merges fiction with fact.

 

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