BookBrowse Reviews Imperium by Robert Harris

Summary |  Excerpt |  Reviews |  Beyond the book |  Readalikes |  Genres & Themes |  Author Bio


A Novel of Ancient Rome

by Robert Harris

  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

  • First Published:
    Sep 2006, 320 pages
    Jul 2007, 496 pages

  • Rate this book

Book Reviewed by:
BookBrowse Review Team

Buy This Book

About this Book



Politics and corruption Roman-style. Not to be missed. Historical Fiction

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).

We first ...

Did you know?

  • Tiro's system of shorthand is referred to as Tironian notes. The system was in use in monasteries up until the Medieval period, with the original 4,000 or so signs extended to about 13,000. It declined in use around 1100 AD but still existed in part as late as the 17th century. At least one symbol still lives on - the Tironian symbol for et (and) which looks a little like the number 7 is still used in Irish Gaelic as an abbreviation for "and".
  • You probably know that a Triumph (triumphus) was the highest honor that a military leader could be given. If awarded a Triumph the victor could enter the city riding on a chariot drawn by four horses, to the sound of a trumpet fanfare and would be crowned with a laurel wreath; but did you know that the second-class award was an Ovation (from the Latin "to rejoice"), in which the victor walked in on foot to the ...

Members Only

BookBrowse's reviews and "beyond the book" articles are part of the many benefits of membership and, thus, are generally only available to subscribers, including individual members and patrons of libraries that subscribe.

Join Today

Member Login

Library Patrons

Support BookBrowse

Become a Member
and discover your next great read!

Join Today!

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket: Hag-Seed
    by Margaret Atwood
    There's a scene in The Tempest that many critics have concluded is indicative of Shakespeare&#...
  • Book Jacket: Crossing the Horizon
    Crossing the Horizon
    by Laurie Notaro
    In Crossing the Horizon, Laurie Notaro takes us back to a time when flying was a rare and risky ...
  • Book Jacket
    Auntie Poldi and the Sicilian Lions
    by Mario Giordano
    Munich matron and self-described worldly sophisticate, Isolde Oberreiter, has decided to retire to a...
Book Discussions
Book Jacket
The Bone Tree
by Greg Iles

An epic trilogy of blood and race, family and justice.

About the book
Join the discussion!

First Impressions

  • Book Jacket

    The Next
    by Stephanie Gangi

    Fast-paced, wickedly observant, and haunting in the best sense of the word.

    Read Member Reviews

Win this book!
Win The World of Poldark

Win the book & DVD

Enter to win The World of Poldark and the full first series on DVD.


Word Play

Solve this clue:

One S D N M A S

and be entered to win..

Books that     

 & enlighten

Visitors can view some of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only.

Join Today!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends books that we believe to be best in class. Books that will whisk you to faraway places and times, that will expand your mind and challenge you -- the kinds of books you just can't wait to tell your friends about.


Free Weekly Newsletter

Keep up with what's happening in the world of books:
Reviews, previews, interviews and more!

Spam Free: Your email is never shared with anyone; opt out any time.