Dictator: Book summary and reviews of Dictator by Robert Harris

Dictator

Cicero Trilogy #3

by Robert Harris

Dictator by Robert Harris X
Dictator by Robert Harris
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  • Published in USA  Jan 2016
    416 pages
    Genre: Historical Fiction

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Book Summary

Imperium ... Conspirata ... and now Dictator - the long-awaited final volume of Robert Harris's magnificent Ancient Rome Trilogy

At the age of forty-eight, Cicero - the greatest orator of his time - is in exile, separated from his wife and children, tormented by his sense of failure, his great power sacrificed on the altar of his principles. And yet, in the words of one of his most famous aphorisms, "While there is life, there is hope."

By promising to support Caesar - his political enemy - he is granted return to Rome. There, he fights his way back to prominence: first in the law courts, then in the Senate, and finally by the power of his pen, until at last, for one brief and glorious period, he is again the preeminent statesman in the city. Even so, no public figure, however brilliant and cunning, is completely safeguarded against the unscrupulous ambition and corruption of others. 

Riveting and tumultuous, Dictator encompasses some of the most epic events in ancient history - the collapse of the Roman Republic and the subsequent civil war, the murder of Pompey, the assassination of Julius Caesar. But the central problem it presents is a timeless one: how to keep political freedom unsullied by personal ambition, vested interests, and the erosive effects of ceaseless, senseless foreign wars. In Robert Harris's indelible portrait, Cicero attempts to answer this question with both his thoughts and his deeds, becoming a hero - brilliant, flawed, frequently fearful yet ultimately brave - both for his own time and for ours.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"Starred Review. The book is charming as well as engrossing, largely due to the immensely likable person of Cicero, who is wise but not pedantic, moral but not sanctimonious, courageous but wary of the grandstanding of the martyr." - Kirkus

"With its complex historical context and searing scenes of violence, Dictator is not easy reading. Yet its gripping dramas and powerful themes - the fragility of democracy and the fallibility of human beings among them - richly illuminate the conflicts of its era and our own." - Publishers Weekly

"The cast is extensive, but the plotting is brisk, and Harris never loses sight of his themes, or his protagonist's relevance for today." - Booklist

"A remarkable literary achievement ... A trilogy that is likely to stand alongside the works of Robert Graves and Mary Renault as an enduring imaginative vision of the ancient world." - Stephanie Merritt, The Guardian

"There's a huge amount to enjoy in this Roman romp." - Sam Leith, Financial Times

"[Harris is] the king of the political thriller. His dense plots, in which he deploys a masterly ability to organize complex material, require readers to pay close attention to elaborate twists and intricacies; his cool, crisp, unadorned style elevates the genre to a status that bridges the gap between commercial and literary fiction." - Caroline Baum, The Sydney Morning Herald

"A tremendous creation ... Harris always tells a great story." - Natalie Haynes, Independent (London)

"With Dictator Robert Harris brings his Cicero trilogy to a triumphant, compelling and deeply moving conclusion. The three novels are surely the finest fictional treatment of Ancient Rome in the English language." - Allan Massie, The Scotsman

"Masterful ... Harris rises dramatically to the occasion ...[Dictator] makes a moving end to Harris's superb trilogy, which 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." - Peter Jones, Evening Standard

"There is never any shortage of fiction about Ancient Rome, but Harris, in this book and its prequels, makes nearly all his competitors seem slightly simple-minded and unsophisticated." - Nick Rennison, The Sunday Times

"A fitting end to a magnificent trilogy... Does not disappoint- Dictator is just as sinuous, clever and compelling as the earlier books... . Hugely moving." - Paul Connolly, The Metro

"Harris is not only a hugely successful writer of popular novels but a powerful writer about political practice." - Peter Stothard, The Spectator

This information about Dictator shown above was first featured in "The BookBrowse Review" - BookBrowse's membership magazine, and in our weekly "Publishing This Week" newsletter. In most cases, the reviews are necessarily limited to those that were available to us ahead of publication. If you are the publisher or author and feel that the reviews shown do not properly reflect the range of media opinion now available, please send us a message with the mainstream media reviews that you would like to see added.

Any "Author Information" displayed below reflects the author's biography at the time this particular book was published.

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Author Information

Robert Harris Author Biography

Robert Harris, the son of a printer, was brought up in Nottingham, England. He has been a television correspondent with the BBC and a newspaper columnist for the London Sunday Times and The Daily Telegraph. His novels have sold more than ten million copies and been translated into thirty languages. He lives in Berkshire, England, with his wife and four children.

He got started as a writer of books when he won a contract to write a biography of John le Carré; but le Carré said the book could not be published until his death, so Harris started roughing out a novel exploring what would have happened if the Nazis had won the war.

He sent a few chapters to his American agent and didn't hear from him for two weeks. Then a call came through to tell him that there was to be an ...

... Full Biography

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