Robert Harris's first three books were all set in the
20th century. For his fourth book he broke his own mold by taking readers
back in time to the eruption of Vesuvius in the extremely enjoyable
Pompeii; and it appears that he's planning to stay in the Roman Empire for sometime to come, as Imperium is the first volume of a projected trilogy that will span the last 25 years of the Roman republic. Imperium is narrated by the elderly Tiro (103 - 4 BC) formerly
slave/secretary to the famous orator, statesman and political theorist Marcus
Tullius Cicero (106-43 BC) - an
inspired touch as not only did Tiro exist, he was also the inventor of shorthand, a system he invented (or at least refined) in order to record Cicero's speeches verbatim, and
there is evidence that he did actually write a biography of Cicero (which was
sadly lost sometime in the Middle Ages).
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