Dictator by Robert Harris

Dictator (Book Three) - Robert Harris

This is the third part of Harris' Cicero series - and it doesn't make much sense without having read the previous 2 novels, Imperium and Lustrum since it picks up right where Lustrum left off and runs through the final 20 years of Cicero's life: his exile and return, Pompey vs Caesar, Caesar's dictatorship, Caesar's assassination, the 2nd triumvirate and the end of the republic.


"Raise, praise, and erase."


But as much as especially the second half  of Lustrum captivated me, this book rushed through major events - and unfortunately also showed that Cicero, in all his idealism, didn't really learn from past events. He again put faith in people who betrayed him and/or turned out to have quite different agendas. He again tried to manipulate events, not realizing that it was he that was manipulated. In that way much of what happens with Octavian and Marc Anthony - even the ill-thought through assassination of Caesar (which Cicero had no part in but sympathized with) -, didn't offer more than what history books teach. Frankly, in some parts, there's more introspection about Tiro than about Cicero. Granted, Tiro is the narrator, but the book is about Cicero.


So, yes, this is a good book, and it concludes this trilogy in an engaging manner - but the undisputed highlight remains Lustrum where the inner workings of politics are actually put to the stand, including democracy vs the rule of the mob vs the rule of one, and Cicero's personality as a politician and as a human-being is defined.