By Robert Harris
Start Date: 3 September 2010
End Date: 18 December 2010
400 pages (Paperback Edition)
Published 7 August 2007
Recommended for: High school or adult readers interested in history
Imperium is about the complex politics of Ancient Rome. The story is centered on Cicero, a Roman politician. The first part of the story follows him as he learns how to be an orator and Harris slowly introduces the reader to some of the characters that are to play a larger part later. Then he begins to build his reputation as a lawyer and prosecutes Gaius Verres, an extremely corrupt governor. Both during an after that accomplishment, he struggles to gain imperium, political power, by cleverly maneuvering the treacherous waters of Roman politics.
As I’ve mentioned several times in earlier posts, the beginning of this book was incredibly slow. However, I’m glad I stuck with it. About 60 or 70 pages in, it was engaging enough for me to get the nagging little voice in the back of my mind that pops up whenever I’m reading a good book, telling me to “just read a few more pages; forget the math homework.” About halfway through the book it got to a climax, the thing that he was working towards for the entire book to that point, and it was getting really interesting and really good, and then he had the climax and the resolution and then there was still another half of the books to go, and I was like, what the heck? At that point, part I ends, and Harris moves on to part II. Part II is written in a much more engaging style than part I, partially because the reader already knows the characters and partially because part II feels like a sequel rather than a continuation of the story. Harris focuses less on individual details and writes with a slightly different style as well as having a different goal than part I.
Ultimately, I would recommend it (mostly to adult readers, I think high schoolers would get bored much to quickly) but be prepared to stick with it through the slow bits.