June 10, 2010
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by Robert Harris

Robert Harris continues his fictional life of Cicero, as told by his former slave and secretary Tiro, with this account of the Cataline conspiracy and its aftermath. How long, Catalina, will you abuse our patience? I’ve always thought Catalina a minor episode that modestly played to Cicero’s advantage, and though Harris does what he can, Cicero’s allies at this time are less interesting (and less well documented) than his rivals and, oddly, only Clodius emerges as truly frightening. I’m growing to like Harris’ reconstruction of Terentia, Cicero’s wife, as a level-headed and sensible woman who steps in and takes charge only when the boys are in a truly hopeless muddle, sets things right, and returns to her work.