Sunday, 17 March 2013

Where There's Life, There's Hope - IMPERIUM by Robert Harris

Imperium by Robert Harris
I have never really been all that interested in Roman political history. After all, I am barely interested in modern politics. This is why I have owned this book for a few years and have put off reading it. But, having now taken that step and read it, I should not have put it off so long.
The book is written in an endearing style and the word I often used while reading it was 'jolly'. It seemed the one word I could think of to encapsulate its feel. I do not mean comedic, or silly, or slapstick, I mean simply jolly. The longer version of that? A light hearted narration with much unintentional humour wrapped in its prose.

The narrator is Tiro. The private secretary of the famous orator, Cicero.
Tiro recounts his life from a young man to a great age as he served Cicero - not as a freeman but as his slave - and aided him in his passionate rise from Senator to...well...I can not really say can I? You may know the details of Cicero's rise, but many won't. Cicero's rise through the ranks of Roman political theatre is one you must experience freshly through the book alone, if you choose to read it. Let me just say that since he was not born to an Aristocratic family, his climb through the ranks was not an easy one. At times it seemed so fraught with failure that I came to find it amusing and would chuckle and roll my eyes and think "of course!" on many an occasion.

I felt the book was let down by it having been split into two very different halves. I was not expecting it and when Part One tied up and Part Two began I found myself feeling like I was starting a new book. This threw me and I could not recover.
I was so disappointed by the two very different Parts that I longed to give the book 3 stars to punish it. But how could I give 3 stars to a book that amused me as much as this one? Despite the Part Two not being as good as Part One (for my tastes), it was still entertaining enough to make me want to continue with the series. or perhaps it is meant to be a trilogy. I am not certain on that.
 I have been assured that the second book is even better and that is temptation enough for me!

4 out of 5 stars

- MM


  1. I can't wait to get to this one as everyone is so positive about the writing. Perhaps going into it with the knowledge that there are two parts might also allow others to react to it accordingly. For that I thank you for mentioning it. :)

    1. Hey D,
      I wish someone had told me in advance. :)
      I could not agree more about knowing about it going in. If I had known about the two very different parts I would not have nose dived so much.
      It felt like I spent half the book getting my head in the game, and then suddenly I had to start all over and get my head into a different game.
      As long as you are prepared for that change over you will be fine. :)