Sunday, April 12, 2015

Of political fortunes

By Robert Harris

As promised, I finally got down to reading the last Robert Harris novel, Imperium, after a long interregnum since I read the second part of this trilogy, Conspirata. Ideally, of course, I should have read them in order, but certain practical constraints made that difficult to achieve. Nonetheless, the splendor of ancient Rome that Harris has managed to pain to well was laid open to bear in this great work, with its masterful narration that keeps readers hooked to every page and the winding tale of the political life of Cicero, while making way to bring in what we all know to be the death of Rome as we knew it - the rise of Julius Caesar.

The charm of Harris' historical fiction is that he really gets into the skin of the character, using language that is apt for the times, incorporating sufficient historical accuracy to make it believable but not so much as to turn it into a history textbook. In all his works, except possibly The Ghost, which was a political statement more than a novel, show this streak of genius in him. Indeed, I do look forward to the release of Dictator later this year, as the final tale in the life of Cicero. 

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