About Me

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Melfort, Saskatchewan, Canada
I am a lawyer in Melfort, Saskatchewan, Canada who enjoys reading, especially mysteries. Since 2000 I have been writing personal book reviews. This blog includes my reviews, information on and interviews with authors and descriptions of mystery bookstores I have visited. I strive to review all Saskatchewan mysteries. Other Canadian mysteries are listed under the Rest of Canada. As a lawyer I am always interested in legal mysteries. I have a separate page for legal mysteries. Occasionally my reviews of legal mysteries comment on the legal reality of the mystery. You can follow the progression of my favourite authors with up to 15 reviews. Each year I select my favourites in "Bill's Best of ----". As well as current reviews I am posting reviews from 2000 to 2011. Below my most recent couple of posts are the posts of Saskatchewan mysteries I have reviewed alphabetically by author. If you only want a sentence or two description of the book and my recommendation when deciding whether to read the book look at the bold portion of the review. If you would like to email me the link to my email is on the profile page.

Saturday, April 10, 2021

Imperium by Robert Harris

As I have not finished as many books as usual recently I am dipping into unposted reviews from years before I started the blog. Robert Harris has been an inconsistent author for me. Imperium was one of his good ones.


12. - 422.) Imperium by Robert Harris – Harris returns to Roman times. In the last century B.C. Cicero sets out to become one of the two ruling consul of the Roman Republic. The novel is written by his slave, Tiro, who has invented shorthand to take down the torrent of words spoken by Cicero as a lawyer and as a politician. Born into a modest provincial farm family Cicero lacks the 1,000,000 in sesterces to become a senator. He overcomes the problem by marrying the wealthy Terentia. He rises through the senatorial ranks despite lacking a prominent family or great wealth or a successful army command. He succeeds through his wits and golden tongue. Harris portrays a lively Rome. The checks on individual power are being eroded. Cicero must navigate between the ambitions of Ptolemy the Great, Crassus and Caesar. The tension is continuous. The integrity of elections and verdicts are damaged by bribery. Cicero is justly remembered as one of the world’s great orators. He was equally adept at politics arranging coalitions and maintaining relationships. Overall I was sad as I knew of the pending loss of the republic. The Sunday Times description of “masterful” is apt. Harris is among the best historical fiction writers of this generation. I believed I was in Rome. Only as I read reviews did I realize Harris had written a thriller in which the hero killed no one. Hardcover. (Mar. 22/08)


Harris, Robert - (2002) - Archangel; (2004) – Pompeii; (2008) - Imperium; (2012) - "H" is for Robert Harris; (2014) - An Officer and a Spy; (2016) - Conclave and The Conclaves of Malachi Martin, Walter Murphy and Robert Harris; (2020) - The Second Sleep; Hardcover or paperback (See also in non-fiction)


  1. I've heard this was a good one, Bill. I have to admit, I haven't read it, but I do like a good historical novel. And I especially like it when the author convey a good sense of place and time without 'information dump.'

    1. Margot: Thanks for the comment. Harris can capture the history of a character and their time.