Lustrum by Robert Harris



Lustrum by Robert Harris - Book Review


Lustrum is Robert Harris's third venture into the world of ancient Rome, after Pompeii and Imperium. Lustrum is a sequel to Imperium, featuring the same characters, primarily the lawyer and schemer, Cicero, and the main man himself, Julius Caesar.

Of course you can't have Caesar without his main rival too, Pompey, and he is there with his vainglorious victory parades as he tries to garner support and favours, just like the all rest.

The story opens with the discovery of a child's mutilated body, fished from the banks of the river Tiber. It bears all the signs of a ritualistic killing, but who would do such a despicable thing?

No shortage of candidates as it turns out.

This book is all about politics, just as his previous book Ghost was. It looks into the justice and rights and wrongs of waging wars in overseas territories, and questions if such things are really needed, or necessary. Sound familiar? It should, and it's not the only thing that rings true today, as politicians bend the truth and bring influence to bear to get what they really want.

Lustrum pokes a stick at all those responsible, two thousand years or so apart.

Heres a bit of advice: Never underestimate a stick poker.

The story develops into an outright conflict between the two main characters, Cicero and Caesar, narrated through the eyes of Cicero's slave and secretary, Tiro.

As with all of Robert Harris's works it is wonderfully well researched and written, though for me this is not one of his most exciting works. Plenty of others disagree so please make up your own mind.

Lustrum is Mister Harris's seventh work of fiction and all have been bestsellers and it is easy to see why, but where would you rank this one against the others? Fifth or sixth for me, but as I say, others see things differently.

This is, we are told, the second of a trilogy, which presumably fits in with the somewhat loose ending. Maybe the third and final act in the play will bring the curtain down with a bang, and that might make us want to re-read Lustrum too, and re-evaluate it, and that is no bad thing either.

The third part of the trilogy is entitled Imperium and that is also out now. If you like Roman novels, or have interest in ancient history, these books are well worth seeking out.

And if you are interested in Robert Harris's books, here is the man himself talking about his new (2103) book An Officer and a Spy which is on my "must read" list. If you don't know it's about the Dreyfus affair which rocked France, and which has echoes down to this day.

Good video - good book - so I believe.