There is much written in fact and fiction on the Roman Empire, and this book is a glorious blend of exactly that, fact and fiction. It is full of the ..Show More »jargon and phraseology of the systems, ranks, and legalese that are the basis of the federal rule that is the government system of the day in Rome. The book is set at a time that is pre Julius Caesar who enters the book as a lowly senator prior to his greatness becoming a matter of history, but as the book is written the secondary part that Julius plays, leaves you in no doubt that julius Caesar is one to watch!
The main part of the story told through the eyes of a slave with privileges, tasked with acting as a secretary for a man named Cicero, following him wherever he goes and acting at times as his friend and sounding board for the sometimes radical thinking that Cicero is prone to use. Cicero is a senator, and lawyer with less power than those he seeks to challenge, he uses his gifts of clear argument, and a huge gift for articulation, in writing and delivery of those speeches to win over those who wield the real power. Amongst the common man Cicero holds almost rock star status because of those gifts and as such when he does speak the people listen, and with that gift comes much responsibility which Cicero accepts with dignity and commitment, as essentially a good and honest man and never forgetting that at the heart he is but a citizen of Rome.
The story follows Cicero's rise in both power and influence. He however is an honourable and honest man at his heart and often comes into conflict with those who hold the real power and who are clever enough to use that power and influence to manipulate the majority for their own selfish ends. Cicero, does not let these doyens of wealth and power get away corruption theft and manipulation and fears no one in the delivery of justice and honesty in all things he touches.
The narrator for the book brings a great deal to the story and the writing which is littered with the words and phraseology of the forum,it's ranking and political positioning which Bill Wallis delivers these sometime complex phrases and words with confidence and clarity. His characterisations are consistent and well developed and as a narrator in this novel was for me the perfect choice for a book that would I think be at times a difficult read without him there. I like this book a lot for its assumed and educated approach, the story that unfolds and the intrigue and political sculduggery that develops and held my interest as it is both educational and entertaining, and as such I have difficulty finding anything negative to say, well done Robert Harris and well read Bill Wallis.
“I may have lost the past and lost the present, but I might yet win the future.”
Cicero and Tiro when in his last days discussing his letters..Show More » and that is Cicero’s conclusion of how they will represent him and when Tiro asks what letters they should choose Cicero responds, all “I must stand naked like a greek statue”.
This has been a long journey that has seen this great man triumph and fall stand again, change, grive, and fight for his beliefs and ultimately suffer at the hands of treason, paying the ultimate price.
This for me was the most humane of this volumes, showing more facets to this man life than any of the other volumes, it bring his humanity, his frailty, and his love to the front, making him a greater person than a politician or a great orator. It shows him at his best, and perhaps at his worst as a politico manipulating and plotting at a tremendous cost of lives for what he thinks should be. We also see his tremendous love for his daughter drag him to despair and ultimately to the heights of creativity, he also demonstrates his true friendship to Tiro with many actions that show even a modicum of humility.
This is an amazing era with important protagonist and events that resonate through time, made more clear by this exceptional books that exposes us to the story of power that is part of our culture, showing us at every turn that we are still making the same mistakes and suffering the same destinies that power and politics conjure up with their black magic.
A book for lovers of history and fiction because the truth in this book has not been surpassed by any fiction.