Simon & Schuster, Feb 2 2010, $26.00
The stage is filled with competitors who know no ethics; the likes of Pompey and that upstart Caesar to name a few. However, as slick as his opponents are, in 63 B.C., Marcus Cicero is chosen as the Consul of Rome though not a good time to take over as ruler with all the unrest further enflamed by his opponents and even his allies.
Two days before the oath of office, a young male slave is brutally murdered with his organs removed in what appears to have been a human sacrificial ritual. Fear spreads through the city and Cicero knows even before he takes over he has issues. As the Empire grows, Cicero concludes the biggest threat to the fall of the Roman Empire is from within by the avaricious seeking personal power. He proves to be right when he is fortunate to prevent an assassination that would turn the Republic into a dictatorship, but his strongest rival Caesar survives the defeated conspiracy proving to Cicero this is his biggest threat.
As told once again by slave secretary Tiro (see Imperum), Conspirata is a superb complex Ancient Rome political thriller with ramifications to modern day America. The story line is fast-paced and filled with action that brings to life Ancient Rome in the first century BC, a place filled with riots, civil unrest, and corruption (could easily be DC). Fans will enjoy this strong saga especially Tiro’s side commentary and observations as to why would anyone with a sane mind want this ruler job when you can read a book or in modern Twitter text watch Rangers’ baseball or Bull’s basketball.