Dictator: (Cicero Trilogy 3) Hardcover – 8 Oct. 2015
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"Robert Harris’s Cicero trilogy ends in grand style…the culmination of 12 years work and a remarkable literary achievement" (Observer)
"The book works…more than that; at times it sings… Thrillers are supposed to thrill, but few really do raise your heart rate and short-circuit your critical faculties…Exhilarating…This trilogy deserves the highest compliment that can be paid to a work of historical fiction" (The Times)
"Robert Harris completes his wonderful trilogy based on the life of Cicero. I haven’t enjoyed Roman history more since Robert Graves’s I, Claudius" (Anthony Horowitz Guardian, Book of the Year)
"Harris’s fascination with politics galvanises his impressive knowledgeableness into compulsive fiction" (Peter Kemp The Sunday Times, Books of the Year)
"Harris is brilliant at the political then-as-now, giving Caesar with a hint of Blair – and also of Thatcher" (Peter Stothard Spectator)
"Staying close to the sources, Harris picks his way masterfully through Cicero’s personal and political dilemmas…superb…does full justice to one of Rome’s most interesting complex and humane statesmen, whose pragmatic political treatises proved so influential during the renaissance and enlightenment" (Evening Standard)
"Harris skilfully navigates these fraught years in Cicero’s life … Dictator triumphs" (The New Stateman)
"A superior historical thriller" (Fiona Wilson The Times, Books of the Year)
"Harris’ version of Cicero is a tremendous creation" (Independent)
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Once again this book has been historically very well researched and the details are described in a most immaculate way.
Just like its two predecessors this book is once again narrated by Tiro, former slave but now Cicero's secretary.
What I would like to mention also, is that Tiro was the inventor and thus the first man to use a shorthand system to record speech, and until to this day certain traces of it are still surviving and still in use, and this same man who according to legend will become 100 years old, what a man!
This book contains the last fifteen years of the Roman stateman's life, with all the ups and downs, and this is all brought to us in a most thrilling fashion by the author.
You must also remember that Cicero was a man from lowly origin, but eventually also a man who will become, with the skill of a brilliant orator and also his huge intellect, consul at the youngest permitted age of forty-two.
The story of Dictator begins after Cicero has fled Rome due to the fact that he opposes the triumvirate of Julius Caesar, Pompey the Great and Marcus Crassus, and the story will unfold further in a most exciting way right till the end.
What follows is a story of unbelievable quality, simply because after his return to Rome Cicero will become a glorious and powerful man, but again life in politics also means betrayal and treachery from various sources, and after the death of Julius Caesar, life in Rome is in turmoil because of the struggle of who will take the power in Rome, and finally in the end Cicero is assasinated by his enemies.
So this is the story of Cicero, a brave and brilliant but also a fearful man, who died because of his principals and opinions, in the hard and brutish world of the Republic of Rome.
Highly recommended, for this is a superb Roman creation with "A Thrilling and Brutal Conclusion"!
The trilogy as a whole seems to me an exceptionally fine achievement. few have brought the Roman world so potently to life.
Top international reviews
Das Buch ist natürlich, trotz dieser Mängel, weiterhin sehr gut und liest sich genauso locker wie die Vorgänger. Ich denke aber, dass die Zeitspanne von Ciceros Leben, die das Buch hier abdecken will, einfach zu groß ist. Waren es bei den ersten beiden Teilen eher ein paar Jahre, umfasst es hier Jahrzehnte. Da bleibt der Spannungsbogen doch etwas auf der Strecke. Auch Tiros Geschichte und seine Liebe zu einer Sklavin, die er im zweiten Band frei kauft, wird nur ganz kurz abgehandelt, was doch schade ist. Schließlich liest man Ciceros Leben drei Bücher lang aus seiner Perspektive.
Kurzum: Sicherlich ein gutes Buch und garantiert kein Fehlkauf. Auch ein guter Abschluss der Biographie. Aber das Gewisse etwas, die Liebe zum Detail, die vor allem das erste Buch ausgezeichnet hat, fehlt leider.
Auf jeden Fall ist “Dictator“ ein mehr als würdiger Abschluss dieser genialen Serie. Es ist tatsächlich fraglich, ob es seit damals jemals wieder eine Zeit gegeben hat oder geben wird in der so viele grosse Charaktere gleichzeitig in der gleichen Stadt koexistiert haben, bis sie sich dann gegenseitig einer nach dem anderen von der Weltkarte, aber ganz sicher nicht aus der Weltgeschichte ausradiert haben.
Ganz klar 5 Sterne für die gesamte Trilogie!
In counterpart, we have suspense. Dictator is a real thriller whose main characters are Caesar, Pompey, Clodius, Octavius before he becomes Augustus. Spread through 15 years, it shows an age of massacres, military putsches, treasons and lies that make our present days seem peacefull. Cut heads are common, bystanders play balls with cut heads, entire gallic tribes are mutilated (two hands cut) or killed. To kill 2 or 300 000 people is not a problem if you are to become the head of state.
Personal relations are not better, of course, and betraying his best friend to make a quick buck is the most natural thing to do. In the middle of this era of turpitude stands the figure of Cicero who believes in the preeminence of the law of the old Republic through is oratory art and intelligence -- without money nor great lineage. Once you begn such a book, there is no way back until the death of Cicero.
Interestingly enough, Tiro is the author of the first stenographic system of the Western civilization. This allowed him to register Cicero's interventions in the Senate. In regular English, we still use parts of his system, the symbol &, the abbreviations etc, NB, i.e., e.g.
Cicero and (of course) Tiro are skillfully brought up to life in this novel, and, although with much less attention, the other characters are developed with all their complexities. You tend to grow up with the knowledge that Cicero was a bore, or Caesar all good (or totally evil), and the same with characters such as Pompeius, Octavianus, Caesar's assassins or Marcus Antonius; this book makes it clear that all of them may have had some lofty ambitions, and at the same time were driven by their desire to grow more powerful or even to just stay alive. And this creates all the personal inconsistencies, political turnarounds and surprising twists that make up the stuff for a good historical novel.
Dictator was not quite as good as its two predecessors, and that probably has to do with the amount of time covered in the book. Imperium and Lustrum, although covering some extra time, were basically each dealing with one particular event. Dictator instead covers the final 15 years of Cicero's life, and therefore cannot hope to go very deep into the detailed developments of what was going on. It therefore gives you the feeling of being a bit rushed, although it certainly would not have done to split up this period of Cicero's life into even more volumes.
Packend wie die ersten beiden Teile.
In this chapter Harris novelises the role of Cicero in the last jagged years of the Re Publica Romanae: from the death of Pompeo the Great to the rise and the death of Ceasar... till the advent of Augustus and the beginning of the Empire!
The story is always told in third person: Tiro, the most trusted and loyal Cicero's servant, is the narrator.
Loved all the trilogy! Simply unforgettable!!