Of all the great figures of the Roman era, none was more fascinating or attractive than Marcus Cicero. A brilliant lawyer and orator, a famous wit and philosopher, he launched himself at the age of twenty-seven into the violent, treacherous world of Roman politics, determined to attain IMPERIUM, the supreme power in the state. Beside him at all times in his struggle to reach the top – the office of Consul – was his confidential secretary, Tiro: the inventor of shorthand, and author of numerous books, including a famous life of Cicero, which was lost in the Dark Ages. Now, Robert Harris – author of the number one bestseller POMPEII – has recreated Tiro’s vanished masterpiece, to tell in vivid detail the story of Cicero’s rise to power, from radical young lawyer to first citizen of Rome, competing with men such as Pompey, Caesar, Crassus and Cato. This is a world at once exotically different, and yet startlingly similar to our own – a world of Senate intrigue and electoral corruption, special prosecutors and political hostesses – in which the ancient rights of free speech and liberty are being threatened as a result of military adventures abroad. Harris’s Cicero is an immensely sympathetic figure – an outsider, ambitious, vulnerable, highly intelligent, compassionate, frequently devious but always human: the world’s first professional politician. Robert Harris states: 'This novel grows out of a thirty-five year obsession with politics, by which I mean politics as a contact sport. I can enjoy a good election anywhere and I think that what makes this book unusual is not that it draws the parallel (a cliché now) between the US and Rome, but that it goes back to the beginnings of everything which makes politics so fascinating - oratory, strategising, electioneering, manipulation of public opinion, the sheer addictive exhilaration of politics. I have always followed politics as others might follow football, and Cicero is fascinating to me because he's the ultimate professional in the ultimate sport. It's this universality which is important.