Rome, 63 BC. In a city on the brink of acquiring a vast empire, seven men are struggling for power. Cicero is consul, Caesar his ruthless young rival, Pompey the republic's greatest general, Crassus its richest man, Cato a political fanatic, Catilina a psychopath, Clodius an ambitious playboy.
The stories of these real historical figures - their alliances and betrayals, their cruelties and seductions, their brilliance and their crimes - are all interleaved to form this epic novel. Its narrator is Tiro, a slave who serves as confidential secretary to the wily, humane, complex Cicero. He knows all his master's secrets - a dangerous position to be in.
From the discovery of a child's mutilated body, through judicial execution and a scandalous trial, to the brutal unleashing of the Roman mob, Lustrum is a study in the timeless enticements and horrors of power.
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Harris is the master. With Lustrum, [he] has surpassed himself. It is one of the most exciting thrillers I have ever read - Evening Standard
Harris communicates such a strong sense of imperial Rome - the book is awesomely well-informed about the minutiae of everyday life - Guardian
Thoroughly engaging ... The allure of power and the perils that attend it have seldom been so brilliantly anatomised in a thriller - Sunday Times
Harris never makes his comparisons between Rome and modern Britain explicit, but they are certainly there. And that's the principal charm of his ancient thrillers - their up-to-dateness - Sunday Telegraph
Magnificent ... Better than Robert Graves's Claudius novels - Standpoint
A read to be savoured - Scotland on Sunday
Wry, clever, thoughtful, with a terrific sense of timing and eye for character. - Observer
Thrillingly paced and narrated ... What grips most about Lustrum is the seriousness with which the political issues at stake are taken, and the vividness of the characterisation
Offers great insight into the psychology of political calculation
Deeply satisfying, impeccably researched and spectacularly topical ... This is a thriller to die for ... The pace never falters, and the politics are sharply relevant - Daily Mail
A fascinating world, a world of subtle political machinations and fine oratory and nuanced debate, and complex legislation, and intrigue ... Extremely absorbing - Independent
as sleek and well-crafted as any classic of the genre...a timeless political thriller - Sunday Telegraph
A historical thriller of rare ambition - Independent
Vivid, so beguiling ... Lustrum is assiduously researched, and it conjures a trick often missed by historical novels: flavoursome facts give a sense not just of a place and time but of developing lives. Harris remembers that we all exist in our own past and in visions of our future as well as in the present ... It is this concertinaing of history into a series of cogent, life-changing memories that gives Lustrum its concentrated excellence - The Times
No one delivers thrilling yet timeless games of power, sex, fame and Rome like Robert Harris. - Sunday Telegraph
Robert Harris brings the cut-throat republic to life... He understands politics and how to dramatise them - Financial Times
Harris has replaced John le Carre ... stupendous plots, good characters and lightly applied erudition - New Statesman
Lustrum is a serious piece of storytelling, enormously enjoyable to read, with an insider's political tone which makes the dedication much more than a matter of convention or duty - TLS
Harris has taken the DNA of Cicero's great speeches and animated them with utterly believable dialogue...Harris's greatest triumph is perhaps in the evocation of Roman politics, the constant bending of ancient principles before the realities of power, and in his depiction of what it was like to live in the city: the mud, the guttering lamps, the smell of the blood from the temples ... I would take my hat off to Harris, if I hadn't already dashed it to the ground in jealous awe. ***** - Mail on Sunday
Gripping ... A compelling narrative, full of plots, murder, lust, fear, greed and corruption ... No writes is better at creating excitement over political theatre - Daily Express
The thrilling pace of the narrative does not let up from start to finish. Lustrum is an utterly engrossing, suspense-filled read - Irish Times
Dripping in detail it brings ancient Rome to vivid life, yet the political intrigue has echoes in today's ruling classes. And while the pace gallops along, the action is reined in just enough to crank the tension up. ***** - News of the World
Conspiracy, betrayal and political upheaval are the keys that turn this brilliantly researched page-turner - Woman & Home
For a page turner...I would go for Lustrum (Hutchinson, £18.99) the second volume of Robert Harris's semi-fictional trilogy on the life of the Roman politician Cicero. The oldest stories really are often the best! - The Scotsman
Harris is one of the consummate storytellers of the age, a master of narrative who - whatever genre he tackles - delivers books that are definitions of the word compulsive. In Lustrum, we have the mechanics of the thriller applied to ancient Rome, with immensely powerful results - The Good Book Guide
A fine achievement: a hefty, politically serious thriller that effortlessly reanimates the dusty quarrels of Roman government while casting ironic and instructive sidelight on those of our own - Literary Review
Supreme story-telling - Daily Mail
Deeply satisfying, impeccably researched and spectacularly topical ... a thriller to die for ... Harris brilliantly evokes Rome on the edge of political chaos through the eyes of Cicero's slave Tiro, who acts as his mater's secretary ... The pace never falters, and the politics are sharply relevant for today - Daily Mail
Robert Harris is the author of Fatherland, Enigma, Archangel, Pompeii, Imperium and The Ghost, all of which were international bestsellers. His work has been translated into thirty-seven languages. After graduating with a degree in English from Cambridge University, he worked as a reporter for the BBC's Panorama and Newsnight programmes, before becoming political editor of the Observer and subsequently a columnist on the Sunday Times and the Daily Telegraph. He is married to Gill Hornby and they live with their four children in a village near Hungerford.