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3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (6,131 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Robert Harris Narrator: Oliver Ford Davies Publisher: Simon & Schuster Audio Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Related: The Cicero Series Release Date: September 2006 ISBN: 9780743561846
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From the bestselling author of Pompeii comes the most provocative and brilliant novel of Rome and its power struggles since I, Claudius.

Of all the great figures of the Roman world, none was more fascinating or charismatic than Marcus Cicero, the greatest orator of all time, who at the age of twenty-seven was determined to attain imperium—supreme power in the state. At his side was the ever-present Tiro, the confidential secretary and slave, whose celebrated biography of his master was lost in the Dark Ages. Imperium is the re-creation of Tiro’s vanished masterpiece, recounting in vivid detail the story of Cicero’s extraordinary quest for glory.

Tiro’s cautionary tale begins on a cold November morning, when he opens the door to a terrified stranger, a victim of Sicily’s corrupt Roman governor, Verres. The stranger’s arrival sets in motion a chain of events that will eventually propel Tiro’s master into one of the most suspenseful courtroom dramas in history, pitting Cicero against some of the most powerful and intimidating figures of his—or any other—age: Pompey, Caesar, Crassus, and the many other powerful Romans who changed history.

Robert Harris, the world’s master of innovative historical fiction, lures us into a violent, treacherous world of Roman politics at once exotically different from and yet startlingly similar to our own—a world of Senate intrigue and electoral corruption, special prosecutors and political adventurism—to describe how one clever, compassionate, devious, vulnerable man fought to reach the top.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “Meticulous, absorbing, and informative.” 

    New York Times Book Review

  • “An entertainingly vivid picture of one of history’s most fascinating elected officials.” 

    USA Today

  • “Harris’ zest for political machinations serves the material well.” 

    Washington Post

  • “Mesmerizing…With sometimes haunting verisimilitude, Robert Harris skillfully recreates Tiro’s lost masterpiece about his master, evoking the full sweep of Rome’s treacherous political scene…A timeless tale told with elegance and a telling sense of detail.” 

    Barnes & Noble, editorial review

  • A New York Times Bestseller

Listener Opinions

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Julia | 2/18/2014

    " A really good read. Interesting and thoroughly enjoyable. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Marcus | 2/13/2014

    " The book is a great account of the life of Marcus Cicero as told by his servant Tiro. Cicero was the only man every to have risen to rank of Imperator without family connections, wealth or an army at his back. A fascinating read that has a surprising amount of parallels with the current political situation in the US. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Matthew Gatheringwater | 2/10/2014

    " This is an historical novel based upon the career of the great Roman orator, Cicero, as recounted by his slave. It is non-challenging comfort reading with just enough historical detail to keep it interesting. Even I, a non-expert on Roman history, recognize many anachronisms in the text, but it did help me get through a nasty cold and so I'm grateful to the author. Books don't have to be great to be enjoyable. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Lucii | 2/6/2014

    " Such a sick book. Really well written imho and true to history without a dull moment. Plus I got brownie points with my Latin teacher ^_^ "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 John Dancy | 1/26/2014

    " Tedious. Not particullarly believable, or enlightening. Pales in comparison to Pompei. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Marsha Altman | 1/21/2014

    " Really terrific Roman historical fiction from the POV of Tiro, the real-life secretary and slave of Cicero at the Republic. Full of interesting historical research without being weighed down by the information. I was surprised that it did not deal with his death, only with his early political career and then his campaign for consul, but still a great book. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Rishi | 1/16/2014

    " Loved it. I couldn't have found a more perfect accompaniment to Latin 100/101, in which we translated the prose of Cicero. (I imagine it would be very entertaining even if you haven't ever taken Latin - fantastic book.) "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Sylvia | 1/10/2014

    " A real page-turner, this novel is about the rise to power of the Roman orator Marcus Cicero. Who would have thought that a portrayal of all-consuming ambition within Roman politics could be so gripping? It also gives a fascinating insight into Roman life and their world assumptions. Loved it! "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Robbah | 12/29/2013

    " I didn't finish this one, not sure if it ended up not what I was in the mood for or if it just didn't grab me enough. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Joant | 12/20/2013

    " If you like books about ancient Rome you will like this. I got a clear understanding of Roman government structure, too. I loved the character of Tiro, and Cicero's character development is fun to read. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Shaun | 12/19/2013

    " Great story, well written. What a great way to learn about the last years of the Roman Republic and such a great historic figure as Cicero. I loved this book. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Lisa Arreola | 12/11/2013

    " Not my cup of tea because I've never had an interest in ancient Rome. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Chrissy | 12/3/2013

    " This one just wasn't as engaging as Pompeii. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Rishita Paruchuri | 11/5/2013

    " Very interesting.Got me hooked to it till the last page.Cicero character simply rocks!For all folks who are interested in history fiction, don't miss out on this. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Josh | 10/29/2013

    " I simply loved this book. But as a Classics minor that is rather low in the surprise category. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Elise | 4/6/2013

    " Sticks closely to Cicero's biography. Wonderful details. Super interesting. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Itzehoe | 3/10/2013

    " a very vivid tale "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Rob | 1/31/2013

    " Not bad for popular historical fiction. 3 stars and I'll finish the series b/c I love Cicero. Harris is above average as a genre fiction writer, but he's not spectacular. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 David Todd | 1/19/2013

    " Good kind of courtroom drama and political strategizing in the Roman republic. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Bulqiss natsir | 12/19/2012

    " if u want to become a good politician with a good strategy, read 'diz book.. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 LDuchess | 12/1/2011

    " read in 2008. Too much Roman history--not nearly as good as Pompeii. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 William Herbst | 10/7/2011

    " Well written book on a favorite subject of mine - Cicero "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Lisa Silverman | 9/7/2011

    " A fun read if you have an interest in ancient Rome; probably not worth it if you don't. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Aaron Crofut | 9/5/2011

    " Excellent historical fiction about my favorite Roman. Very readable and well researched. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Alvin | 8/3/2011

    " Great stuff. Part I is very well done. As an aspiring writer I wish I could pull off dialog and plotting as well as Harris does. And the historical backstory? Wow, what a great achievement. Whole heartedly recommend this. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Pavlin | 5/16/2011

    " one of the best history novels i ever read. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Jk1982 | 4/29/2011

    " The best political thriller I've read. One of the most insightful books ever. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Rob | 4/3/2011

    " Meh. I love Cicero. I adore Roman history. But this book was not even as good as Lustrum (Imperium) and even that was meh. I'm not sure I will have the energy to finish the trilogy when the final book comes out this year. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 David | 2/26/2011

    " I love reading Robert Harris but for some reason struggled in parts with this one. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Patricrk | 2/20/2011

    " set in the period that sees the rise to power of Julius Ceaser. Interesting but from this side of history some of the decisions made don't seem to make sense. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Quinn | 2/16/2011

    " Sequel to Imperium - the rise and decline of Cicero - a must read "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Claire | 1/31/2011

    " The sequel to Imperium, Cicero peaks and declines. Political intrigue in Roman. You can't fail to be impressed and feel sorry for Cicero "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Linda | 1/15/2011

    " Harris brings Cicero alive! Although I know what happens, I can hardly wait to read the third and final novel of this trilogy! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Angelo | 1/10/2011

    " It was really intersting to continue to read the history of Cicero narrated by Robert Harris. Through the storyline you can also discover the intense and writhed politic net during the Roman Age, which brought the Great Julio Cesar to the power. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 David | 1/7/2011

    " The beginning of the end for the Roman Republic and for Cicero "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Mark | 1/5/2011

    " Good, tells the story of the Roman Republic we all know from the perspective of Cicero's secretary slave. Does a good job of blending fact and fiction. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 F.S. | 12/30/2010

    " I've enjoyed many of Robert Harris' books, but couldn't get into this one. Too bad. I got bogged down somewhere toward the middle and never surfaced again. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Lauren | 12/20/2010

    " Very much enjoyed this book. You really get a feel for the abject poverty of the plebes and the debauchery & intrigue of the wildly wealthy. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Rishi | 12/6/2010

    " Continues the story of Cicero and the downfall of the Republic. Excellent book once again, if a little less 'Latin' than Imperium. "

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About the Author
Author Robert Harris

Robert Harris is the author of ten best-selling novels: Fatherland, Enigma, Archangel, Pompeii, Imperium, The Ghost Writer, Conspirata, The Fear Index, An Officer and a Spy, and Dictator. Several of his books have been adapted to film, including The Ghost Writer, directed by Roman Polanski. His work has been translated into thirty-seven languages.

About the Narrator

Oliver Ford Davies has, over the last forty years, become one of the world’s most esteemed actors. He spent twelve years with the Royal Shakespeare Company and won the Olivier Award for Best Actor while at the National Theatre. His television work includes Kavanagh QC, Inspector Morse, David Copperfield, and Sparkling Cyanide; his films include The Mother, Johnny English, Mrs. Brown, and Atonement.