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 is a study in the timeless enticements and horrors of power.
Harris is the master. With Lustrum, [he] has surpassed himself. It is one of the most exciting thrillers I have ever read
Harris communicates such a strong sense of Imperial Rome - the book is awesomely well-informed about the minutiae of everyday life
Thoroughly engaging ... The allure of power and the perils that attend it have seldom been so brilliantly anatomised in a thriller
Harris never makes his comparisons between Rome and modern Britain explicit, but they are certainly there. And that's the principal charm of his ancient thrillers - their up-to-dateness
Magnificent ... Better than Robert Graves's Claudius novels
What Robert Harris' character Cicero has to say on the big topics, from love and marriage to money and death, in Dictator, the last book of the Cicero series.