Newest Review: ... this book. The hardback book was published in 2009 and retailed at 18.99 pounds. However this book is available new for 9.64 pounds on Amaz... more
Lustrum, well written fiction title about Roman times
Lustrum - Robert Harris
Member Name: julwhite
Lustrum - Robert Harris
Advantages: Comparisons with modern day politics fascinating
Disadvantages: May not appeal to everyone
This review is for the book "Lustrum" by Robert Harris. The book is the sequel to Imperium, but can be read separately, and is the second in the series of three titles, the third of which is expected to be published in late 2010.
Robert Harris is an author specialising in political and historical fiction, and this book is no different, merging the two concepts together. The book is set in Roman times, around the 63 BC period. The book focuses on the character of Cicero, who is the Consul of Rome. He obtained this position in the previous book in the series, and this book starts off from his taking over office.
In terms of prices, there are a range of options for anyone wanting to purchase this book. The hardback book was published in 2009 and retailed at 18.99 pounds. However this book is available new for 9.64 pounds on Amazon at the time of writing, and if you are happy with a second hand copy, can be purchased for around eight pounds including postage from sites such as eBay and Amazon.
I found the book to be fast flowing and well written. I've noticed that some people have been able to make slight complaint about the historical accuracy of the title, but I found it to be well researched and wouldn't have noticed any differences (not that I'm an expert in Roman history!). The book is absorbing and interesting, and is readable on its own without reading the prequel to the title.
The book is written from the perspective of Cicero's secretary, effectively a slave, Tiro. This is a real character who really existed and who did actually write a biography of Cicero. I liked the writing of events from Tiro's point of view, it made it easier to watch the politics in the book develop, and watch as Cicero was about to handle the various decisions and challenges which he faced.
I don't think it stretches reality too much to suggest that the book was partly written to comment on modern day political situations. Whatever period of history you read about, there are surprising comparisons with the reality of political life, and this book is no different, and indeed, the parallels are often not that subtle, especially with respect to the expenses issue which is raised in the book. It also looks how different figures believe they should be treated and respected by the "average" person.
Recently published, in early 2010, is the large paperback version of the book. This costs 12.99 pounds, but is available new for £6.38 from Amazon at the time of writing. If you can wait until July 2010 (or are reading this afterwards!) then you can buy the standard sized paperback version, which will retail at 7.99 pounds, but is available on pre-order from Amazon for 5.99 pounds.
I haven't yet read the first book in the series, Imperium, but will do so now, and look forward to the third in the series. As the book has just been released, the book can't be obtained for the usual cheap prices that second hand books often go for on eBay and Amazon, but in my mind, if you like books which are based in politics and history, give this one a try!
Summary: If you like books which mix history and politics, try this!