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“Dictator” by Robert Harris – Book review

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This is the third and last book on the three book series following the life and times of Cicero in ancient Rome. The story is told through the eyes and fictional writings of a particularly interesting character called Tiro.

    He starts out as one of Cicero’s slaves but through their long association he rises to become a valued assistant, secretary, confidant, and finally a close friend, and ultimately a free man.

    Tiro is a credited with inventing an early form of shorthand and one can believe that too, as Cicero is constantly throwing out rapid fire comments as they criss-cross the Roman world, words that he demands Tiro immediately takes down, sometimes incredibly witty, other times cutting and biting, and words that one day might come back to haunt him.

    But always at the back if it all is Cicero’s desire to protect the freedoms that the citizens of the republic enjoy. Much of Cicero’s thoughts and writings included here are attributable to the man himself through Robert Harris’s amazing research and dedication.

   This book was twelve years in the making and I can believe that too. It’s a whopping 520 pages of a rollicking good read as Cicero ducks and dives around the machinating Caesar, Pompey, Crassus, Brutus, Cato, Marc Antony, Octavian, and all the rest.

   It was a dangerous time to be alive, especially if you dared to become involved in politics and statesmanship. So many of the big names of the day were to experience early and violent deaths, facts that are certain to keep the story boiling and running.

   If you have any interest in ancient Rome then this is a must read for you. In many ways it’s a Godfather gangster book from two millennia ago, when the world was both so very different, but also so incredibly similar to today. Of course I enjoyed it, that goes without saying, and I am sorry that Mister Harris’s Roman chronicles appear to be over.

   And here's some video of the man himsef talking about "Dictator".       

 

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