The long awaited second part in the trilogy that began with Imperium. The year is 63 BC. In an age of political titans, Cicero stands supreme: the senior consul of the Roman republic. But jealous rivals are determined to destroy him and seize control of the state. To thwart them will take all his guile - and will lead him, and Rome, to the brink of destruction. Robert Harris's Lustrum is a page-turning thriller that pitches the reader into the power struggles and vicious factionalism of the Roman Republic at one of its most tumultuous moments, as Cicero is alerted to a plot to overthrow the government and take over the state. The conspiracy is led by the aristocratic politician Catalina, backed by other, shadowy factions; even Julius Caesar is implicated. Undeterred, Cicero devotes himself to exposing the treachery, and after a bloody struggle emerges triumphant. But the gods are pitiless - and the most talented men over-reach themselves. When the sexually voracious senator and nobleman Clodius is put on trial, accused of entering a sacred women-only religious ritual in pursuit of Caesar's wife, Cicero finds himself embroiled in the case as the reluctant star witness for the prosecution. He has made many enemies, and as Caesar, Crassus and Pompey grasp political power, he discovers that he has sown the seeds of his own downfall ...Meticulously researched and brilliantly written, Lustrum is an entirely self-contained novel, but it is also a continuation of Cicero's story as told in Robert Harris's bestselling Imperium. A third Roman volume will complete the trilogy in 2011.
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The rise of Robert Harris as one of the UK's premier novelists has been something of a phenomenon. His breakthrough book was, of course, Fatherland, and even though the premise (Germany had won the Second World War and occupied Britain) was not original, the treatment was astonishingly assured. From that date onwards, a series of remarkable books flowed from his metaphorical pen: Archangel, Enigma and the much-acclaimed Ghost. But if one element has distinguished Harris’s career, it is his wholly admirable refusal to be typecast with regard to genre. The thriller may be his natural home, but he has shown an immense skill at dealing with historical subjects and the past: one of his most impressive novels was the massive and ambitious Pompeii (recently on the point of being filmed by Roman Polanski before his own past came back to haunt him).
And here's Lustrum, another historical novel that cannily utilises elements of the thriller but attempts something far more challenging than most proponents of that genre. Harris’s continuing theme is the battle for power, and this Rome-set narrative deals with the years around 63BC when Cicero was Consul of Rome, building to the unstoppable accession to power of the canny and ruthless Caesar. Rome, in the process of consolidating its massive empire, resounds to the sounds of a no-holds-barred struggle for influence. The protagonists here are the canny consul Cicero, the equally Machiavellian Caesar, the Republic's eminent general Pompey and the hyper-rich Crassus. These real historical figures (and others, including the psychopathic Catilina) are stirred into a very heady brew by Robert Harris, beginning when the body of a child, grotesquely mutilated, is discovered. The trial and execution that follows plunges the city of Rome into a ferment as destabilising as anything it has faced.
This is Robert Harris at his considerable best, evoking the ancient past with a vividness that few of his contemporaries can muster. But apart from the richly detailed historical pageant on offer in Lustrum, the real coup of the book lies in the creation of the character of Cicero: wonderfully realised, with all the contradictions and charm of his nature acting as the perfect fulcrum for this sprawling but utterly persuasive narrative. --Barry ForshawReview:
"Harris is the master. With Lustrum, [he] has surpassed himself. It is one of the most exciting thrillers I have ever read" -- Peter Jones Evening Standard "Harris communicates such a strong sense of Imperial Rome - the book is awesomely well-informed about the minutiae of everyday life" Guardian "Thoroughly engaging ... The allure of power and the perils that attend it have seldom been so brilliantly anatomised in a thriller" Sunday Times "Harris never makes his comparisons between Rome and modern Britain explicit, but they are certainly there. And that's the principal charm of his ancient thrillers - their up-to-dateness" Sunday Telegraph "Magnificent ... Better than Robert Graves's Claudius novels" -- Allan Massie Standpoint
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Book Description Hutchinson, 2009. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Bookseller Inventory # P110091801303