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Dictator (Cicero Trilogy) Hardcover – International Edition, October 27, 2015

4.7 out of 5 stars 219 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews


"Triumphant, compelling and deeply moving...the finest fictional treatment of Ancient Rome in the English language. They are distinguished by the mastery of the sources, sympathetic imagination, political intelligence and narrative skill...It's a wonderful, dramatic, story, wonderfully told" -- Scotsman Allan Massie "Robert Harris's Cicero trilogy ends in grand style...the culmination of 12 years work and a remarkable literary achievement" Observer "The book works...more than that; at times it sings... Thrillers are supposed to thrill, but few really do raise your heart rate and short-circuit your critical faculties...Exhilarating...This trilogy deserves the highest compliment that can be paid to a work of historical fiction" The Times "Robert Harris completes his wonderful trilogy based on the life of Cicero. I haven't enjoyed Roman history more since Robert Graves's I, Claudius" -- Anthony Horowitz Guardian, Book of the Year "Harris's fascination with politics galvanises his impressive knowledgeableness into compulsive fiction" -- Peter Kemp The Sunday Times, Books of the Year "Harris is brilliant at the political then-as-now, giving Caesar with a hint of Blair - and also of Thatcher" -- Peter Stothard Spectator "Staying close to the sources, Harris picks his way masterfully through Cicero's personal and political dilemmas...superb...does full justice to one of Rome's most interesting complex and humane statesmen, whose pragmatic political treatises proved so influential during the renaissance and enlightenment" Evening Standard "Harris skilfully navigates these fraught years in Cicero's life ... Dictator triumphs" The New Stateman "A superior historical thriller" -- Fiona Wilson The Times, Books of the Year "Harris' version of Cicero is a tremendous creation" Independent "[Dictator's] gripping dramas and powerful themes - the fragility of democracy and the fallibility of human beings among them - richly illuminate the conflicts of its era and our own" Publishers Weekly "Superb...confirms Harris's undisputed place as our leading master of both the historical and contemporary thriller" Daily Mail "Harris is a masterful storyteller. I'm currently experiencing that terrible phase of cold turkey after finishing something superb" -- Alastair Moffat Herald "Contemporary echoes abound in this endlessly fascinating exploration of power struggles" -- Craig Brown Mail on Sunday, Books of the Year "Triumphant" Sunday Times "A masterful story of political intrigue...a fascinating and absorbing novel" Financial Times "Robert Harris is an incomparable storyteller... It's a brutal tale of murder and mayhem and a tour de force of research and imagination..." The Express "Harris's fascination with politics galvanises his impressive knowledgeableness into compulsive fiction" -- Peter Kemp The Sunday Times "I'm a big fan of Robert Harris so I'd like to read his latest, Dictator... Robert is very good at politics and evoking a period" -- Melvyn Bragg Good Housekeeping, Books of the Year "Sinuous, clever and compelling...A fitting end to a magnificent trilogy" Metro

About the Author

ROBERT HARRIS is the author of An Officer and a Spy, Fatherland, Enigma, Archangel, Pompeii, Imperium, Lustrum, 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.


Product Details

  • Series: Cicero Trilogy (Book 3)
  • Hardcover: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Hutchinson (October 27, 2015)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0091752108
  • ISBN-13: 978-0091752101
  • Product Dimensions: 6.5 x 1.7 x 9.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.8 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (219 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,074,617 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By JPS TOP 500 REVIEWER on November 1, 2015
Format: Kindle Edition
Published a couple of minutes ago on Amazon.co.uk

This book is the last of the Cicero trilogy. It covers the last fifteen years or so of his life, from 58 BC to 43 BC and it is largely dominated by the rise and fall of Caius Julius Caesar (hence the book’s title). It ends with the beginning of a new struggle from which the new Caesar - and future Augustus - would emerge victorious and – almost literally - the “last man standing.” I can also confirm that this book can reads perfectly well on its own. It is not necessary to have read the two previous episodes (Lustrum and Imperium), respectively on the rise of Cicero as Rome’s prominent lawyer, with the case against Verres in particular, and his consulship and the Catiline conspiracy. This is exactly what I have done. It may help, however, to know a bit of the last years of the Roman Republic, although even this is not absolutely indispensable.

This is because – to put things bluntly –Robert Harris had done a wonderful job and come up with a rather superb novel which is extremely well-researched and contains excellent characterisation. The result is a superbly entertaining novel told in the first person by Cicero’s secretary (Tiro) who really existed, who really was Cicero’s slave (and then his freedman), confident and friend and who really wrote a biography (now lost but mentioned in various primary sources) of his master and published Cicero’s letters after his death. Also, he did invent a kind of shorthand and we do owe him a number of abbreviations such as e.g. or etc…

Interestingly, Tiro is perhaps the most sympathetic character of the whole book. All other characters, including Cicero himself, are presented “warts and all”, with their qualities but also their shortcomings.
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Format: Hardcover
(Review based on the UK edition, purchased from amazon.co.uk)

Dictator is one of the best books of historical fiction that I have read. The final chapter in Robert Harris’ Cicero trilogy, the novel combines excellent writing with a keen understanding of late Roman republic history. It does an excellent job of reconstructing the last days of the Roman republic along with creating a portrait of one of history’s most famous statesman, Marcus Tullius Cicero. Although best read after the other two books in the trilogy, the novel can easily be followed as a stand-alone book with little or no knowledge of Roman history. Minor spoilers follow.

Cicero (106 to 43 BCE) was one of the last civilian leaders of the Roman Republic. Born into a well-off but obscure country family, he managed to become one of Rome’s leading lawyers and orators in a time of increasing violence and civil war. In a time where leading politicians raised private (or privatized) armies, Cicero managed to stand up for the republican government and the rule of law without the support of his own army or a massive fortune. He was perhaps Rome’s last civil leader who rose to power without the support of an army or gang.

Dictator tells the story of Cicero’s final years, ranging from his exile to Greece in 58 BCE to his death in 43 BCE (the year after Julius Caesar was assassinated). To me, the novel felt like a tragedy as Cicero increasing finds himself becoming irrelevant in a polity dominated by warlords such as Pompey the Great, Julius Caesar, Marcus Antonius (Mark Anthony), and ultimately Augustus Caesar (then known as Octavian).
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Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Dictator is the third and final volume of Robert Harris’s trilogy on the life of Marcus Tullius Cicero. I had previously read Imperium and Conspirata, the first two books in this series, and I enjoyed them both. I have been looking forward with much interest to reading the final book in the series, which recounts the end of Cicero’s remarkable life.

Perhaps the first question readers of this review may ask is whether they need to read Imperium and Conspirata to get full benefit and enjoyment from the novel. The answer is “no.” Dictator stands on its own and can be read without knowing about Cicero’s earlier history. That said, I think after reading Dictator, many people will want to go back to the beginning and read the two companion novels.

Cicero’s remarkable skills as an orator brought him to the attention of the political leaders in Rome and his rise to power was swift and dramatic. At forty-three years old he was elected consul, the highest political office of the Roman Republic. At the same time that Cicero came to power an even more important person was making his influence felt in Rome; that person was Gaius Julius Caesar. Dictator is, at least in part, the story of Julius Caesar’s domination of the Roman Republic. At this point in his career when the novel is set, Cicero, in his late forties and early fifties had become an onlooker who could do little to stop Caesar from destroying the Republic.

As every reader of this review knows, I am sure, the Ides of March came and Caesar was assassinated in the Roman Senate he had completely dominated. Even though Cicero was not part of the plot to assassinate Caesar, he quickly fell in with the conspirators Brutus and Cassius. He would not outlive this mistake.
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