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As a fan of Robert Harris' earlier novels I looked forward to Imperium with much anticipation. The fact that the novel was based around Cicero was a bonus as Ancient Rome is something of an interest to me and I have previously enjoyed historical novels based in Rome (notably the Caesar series by Conn Iggulden).
However I have to say that I was disappointed in this novel. Although well written it just seemed to drag on for me and though there were some points of interest it was all too political. There just was not the same amount of action or suspense as present in Harris' previous works such as Fatherland or Archangel. I would say Imperium is very much like Pompeii in that it promises more than it delivers.
Both Imperium and Pompeii are interesting but just didn't have that hook to capture my interest fully. I found the ending to Imperium just left me hanging and I thought to myself "Is that it?"
I would recommend new readers to head for Harris' earlier novels for a more suspenseful and altogether interesting read. I feel Imperium is a bit subtle and slow for my tastes as I prefer more action in my historical novels (it doesn't all have to be accurate - it is a novel after all!).
I think that Imperium would probably appeal to fans of Harris' work but as a fan myself I didn't enjoy it as much as I had hoped.