What I’ve just read: Lustrum, by Robert Harris

Tonight, I finished Robert Harris’ Lustrum (released in the US as Conspirata), the second novel in his Cicero trilogy (the first was Imperium). It was an enjoyable, fast-paced read, although I doubt I’ll reread it any time soon. There were two particular things that I liked about the book.

 

One, Caesar is a villain for a change. And as a villain, he makes a fine nemesis for Cicero: menacing, mercilessly hungry for power, capable of bouncing back Hydra-like from every defeat. Making Caesar the villain, I think, also adds a note of dramatic irony to the novels: the reader is perfectly aware that it will be Caesar who has the last laugh by becoming history’s best-known Roman, and that Caesar will be the one who eventually pulls down the Republic.

 

And two, while I still do not know that much Roman history, I am finally reaching the point where I was able to get the most out of the book. You know how sometimes, when you’re a fan of a given work, you might watch an adaptation and be thrilled when you spot a shout-out to the original, or when you know what’ll happen next because you read the book? That was pretty much how I felt. So I was happy to see Lucullus, the successful general turned to decadence in his retirement, showing off his fish ponds. I rubbed my hands together when I read that the rites of the Good Goddess would take place at Caesar’s house, because I had a feeling about what was coming up. I muttered, “Uh oh,” to myself when Fulvia made a cameo. In other words, the book came along at the right time for me, after I had learned a bit about Rome.

 

All in all, the book was well worth the price I paid, and I look forward to the final novel in Harris’ Cicero trilogy.

This entry was posted in Books, Historical Fiction and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to What I’ve just read: Lustrum, by Robert Harris

  1. K. P. says:

    I think this is a very good book! In court litigation, and representation of the era, to me it seems quite credible. Unfortunately, even in Hungary can not get the book Imperium (which is pretty interesting), but I can not wait for that to appear, will remain in the Lustrum reading. www. konyv-konyvek. hu/ book_images/ 39a/ 999641239a.jpg

Leave a Reply