In this gripping second installment to his ancient Rome trilogy (after Imperium), bestseller Harris proves once again that politics is an ugly game. Beginning in 63 B.C.E. and told by Cicero"s slave secretary, Tiro, this complex tale continues to chronicle Cicero"s political career as he charms, co-opts, and bribes his way into the exalted position of consul, ruler of Rome. Although Cicero is known as a brilliant politician and philosopher, he was also a slick manipulator and shameless schemer, competing with equally sneaky rivals Caesar, Pompey, and Crassus. Cicero realizes that as the empire expands, the greatest threat to Rome comes from within, plotted by well-financed conspirators bent on turning the republic into a dictatorship. With fabulous oratory and trickery, Cicero uncovers and crushes an insurrection, exposing himself to great danger and possible assassination. Riots, murder, civil unrest, corruption, treachery, and betrayal mark Cicero"s political legacy, resulting in a battle between him and Julius Caesar. Throughout, however, Tiro remains loyal and remarkably astute, recognizing that it is an act of madness for a man to pursue power when he could be sitting in the sunshine reading a book.