Review: Lustrum by Robert Harris

Posted February 7, 2020 by Stephanie in Uncategorized / 8 Comments

Title: Lustrum
Author: Robert Harris
Series: Cicero #2
Publication: October 21, 2015 by Arrow
Genre: Historical Fiction
Purchase it on: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository | Google Play | Kobo
Rating: 4/5โ˜…

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 (US: Conspirata) is a study in the timeless enticements and horrors of power.

To avoid confusion, Lustrum is the UK title and Conspirata is the US title of the second Cicero book. I also haven’t reviewed book one but I really wanted to review Lustrum for some reason so here we go.

Stories based on real historical figures are my absolute favorite. It’s the kind of historical fiction that I will always be more drawn to than any other. Ever since I learned about Cicero I’ve been kind of obsessed with him. I’ve only read nonfiction about him so this series is the first of fiction that I read where he is the main focus but oh even without having read the final book yet I think it’s such a great series. There are almost no flaws with the books in my opinion. It’s probably not gonna be everyone’s thing but I definitely recommend them!

Lustrum was a great sequel to Imperium. As with the previous book it was brilliantly told in the point of view by Cicero’s secretary Tiro. In this one we see how Rome can manage to influence even the most moralistic of people. Cicero definitely struggled between his noble principles and his more greedy desires. 

We also saw the alliance of Julius Caesar, Pompey the Great and Marcus Licinius Crassus forming, which I highly enjoyed reading about because I know what’s going to happen to all of them eventually. You’d think knowing this would make this book and the next one (when I get around to reading it) a little less enjoyable but for some reason this made it even more entertaining actually.

Overall, Lustrum by Robert Harris was a great read. I loved the way Tiro narrates the book. He’s my favorite character, by the way. The political intrigue of Rome in this era of history may be long ago but there are definitely parallels to a lot of governments of today’s world, which is something we probably should learn from. I can’t wait to read book three! 

About the author:

Robert Harris is the author of thirteen bestselling novels: the Cicero Trilogy – Imperium, Lustrum and Dictator – Fatherland, Enigma, Archangel, Pompeii, The Ghost, The Fear Index, An Officer and a Spy, which won four prizes including the Walter Scott Prize for Historical Fiction, Conclave, Munich and The Second Sleep. Several of his books have been filmed, including The Ghost, which was directed by Roman Polanski. His work has been translated into forty languages and he is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature. He lives in West Berkshire with his wife, Gill Hornby.
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