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Lustrum: A Novel of Ancient Rome (also…

Lustrum: A Novel of Ancient Rome (also titled "Conspirata") (original 2009; edition 2009)

by Robert Harris

Series: Cicero (2)

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1,060497,917 (3.85)62
Title:Lustrum: A Novel of Ancient Rome (also titled "Conspirata")
Authors:Robert Harris
Info:Hutchinson (2009), Edition: First Edition, Hardcover, 464 pages
Collections:Ancient History, Your library, Biography & History

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Lustrum by Robert Harris (2009)


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» See also 62 mentions

English (44)  Dutch (3)  Italian (1)  French (1)  All languages (49)
Showing 1-5 of 44 (next | show all)
Lustrum by Robert Harris - good

Those that know me, know I'm quite obsessive about the near (by that I mean Mediterranean and Middle East) Ancient World and love to travel to see the remains of past glories. Surprisingly though, I know very little about the history of Republican Rome, so this book was very interesting for me as it fictionalises the life of Cicero through the eyes of his slave/secretary Tiro. That some of the characters are real is undoubted and the author has based the books on the speeches of Cicero. The story that is woven around these speeches can only be imagined - as with all historical fiction.

I found that Robert Harris brought the sights, sounds and, sadly, smells of Rome to life for me. I read his book Pompeii years ago in my pre-review era and found it a little far fetched and predictable (and I don't mean because Vesuvius erupted, more about his plotting round it), but also vividly enjoyable.

I didn't necessarily like all the characters that the author gave these people but I did like all the plotting and conniving that he gave them and thoroughly enjoyed reading it.

The only downside: I only realised part way through, that I should have read Imperium (also on my bookshelf) first as it deals with Cicero's earlier life. Ah well, if I leave it long enough it shouldn't spoil it too much to read them in the wrong order.
( )
  Cassandra2020 | Jan 24, 2016 |
This and "Imperium" are really good reads -- well-paced, gripping, and full of well-drawn characters. Looking forward to #3! ( )
  chasing | Jan 18, 2016 |
An excellent read. This novel is set in Rome in 63BC. The political intrigues, power struggles and alliances and betrayals are all brilliantly laid out. All the names can get confusing but there is a list of the main characters as well as a glossary to help the baffled reader. The narrator Tiro, Cicero's secretary does an excellent job and gives the novel an authenticity. Robert Harris brings the Roman Empire to life and gives a good account of how it was run and who did what but always with a focus on Cicero - the novel starts at the point where he takes up his position as Consul for twelve months. ( )
  Tifi | Mar 9, 2015 |
Fictional account of events in Rome, around 63 BC, featuring the Consulship of Cicero and subsequent events, told through the eyes of his slave secretary, Tiro.
Well told and crafted with an interesting cast of characters ( )
  DramMan | Nov 15, 2013 |
Covers some of the same historical grounds as Steven Saylor's Gordianus books. Harris is not as good at capturing the bit of the otherness of classical Rome as Saylor, and his book lacks the humor, lowlife and political sophistication of the Saylor books, but he is also freer of some of the detective story cliche Saylor indulges in. From a historical point of view, I am disappointed that Harris does so little to tell us the situation in Rome. Yes, Caesar would later be the man who takes over Rome by force, but that had already happened with Sulla, and the uneasy, unstable and unjust order of things Sulla imposed is what folks like Catalina are on about (aside from their own personal ambitions). Decent historical fiction, a good story of an important part of Cicero's career,but too absorbed in its main character and lacking in depth of context. ( )
1 vote ehines | Oct 26, 2013 |
Showing 1-5 of 44 (next | show all)
Harris provides through Lustrum great insight into this exciting period of Roman history not only by echoing historical sources but by numerous psychologic zooms: a glimpse or a blink of an eye here, a whisper or a rumor there, and over all the ancient truth of evil omen.
"Harris, whose previous novels include “Pompeii” and the World War II thriller “Enigma,” doesn’t take the path of many other writers of historical fiction and provide copious, painstaking descriptions of meals, wardrobes, palaces and the like to summon a long-ago, far-away past."
Over the two millennia since his death Cicero has been many things to many readers – authoritarian, pedant, vacillator, self-doubting philosophical sceptic. Each generation makes its own Rome and its own Romans, and Harris's version of this endlessly fascinating figure is richly and generously enjoyable. I look forward to the conclusion of the trilogy.

For all its political insights, though, it is as a pure thriller that Lustrum stands or falls. In that respect, it succeeds splendidly. It may not be the best novel written about ancient Rome – I still prefer Gore Vidal and Allan Massie – but it is a damn good one: wry, clever, thoughtful, with a terrific sense of timing and eye for character. And even though I knew how the story ended, I found myself turning the pages faster and faster, a tribute not only to the intrinsic fascination of these extraordinary events, but also to the narrative skills of a master craftsman.
Lustrum is a serious piece of storytelling, enormously enjoyable to read, with an insider’s political tone.

» Add other authors (16 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Robert Harrisprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Barfod, ErikTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Lie, FrankTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Zwart, JannekeTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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We look on past ages with condescension, as a mere preparation for us... but what if we're only an after-glow of them" -J. G. Farrell, "The Siege of Krishnapur"
To Peter
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Two days before the inauguration of Marcus Tullius Cicero as consul of Rome, the body of a child was pulled from the River Tiber, close to the boat sheds of the republican war fleet.
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Lustrum (UK) and Conspirata (US) are the same novel.
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63 BC, the year when Cicero is consul. Most of his time in office is devoted to thwarting a violent conspiracy to overthrow the state. Underlying this is the great rivalry between Cicero and Caesar. As Caesar's power grows Cicero must face the inevitable compromises that come from holding power.… (more)

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