Dictator by Robert Harris. Final volume in the trilogy that began with Imperium and Lustrum, a fictionalized biography of the life of Cicero from the point of view of his slave Tiro. Robert Harris started as a political journalist and then became a thriller writer: this is definitely Cicero's life as a political thriller.
Was a bit disappointed by the first half of this volume. As I worried at the start it's a bit depressing and covers the familiar events of the Roman Revolution. It doesn't help that Cicero is isolated from events, and Harris isn't very interested in Cicero's philosophy, which Tiro doesn't seem to understand very well.
In the second half though, the book surges into life as Cicero once again tries to deploy his rhetorical and political skills in defence of the Republic. There are plausible portraits of Julius Caesar and Octavian. Harris is good on the tragedy of Cicero siding with Octavian believing that that the mere youth can be used to restore the Republic and then discarded; when in fact he would finally end it.
I did wish that maybe something could be done with the timeline along the lines of "The Night Watch", with flashbacks or a reverse order so that we could end with Cicero in the era of his great triumphs.
Overall though, brings the trilogy to a great conclusion.
Again really struggling with the toddler. We had problems getting him to sleep before, but after a couple of weeks of agony we finally got him to accept an already-late 8:30PM bedtime. In the last couple of weeks though he's refusing to accept even that. He's constantly trying to get up, jump around, throw all the bedding and toys out, demanding nappy changes. Pretty much every night I spend 8:30 to 9:30PM crouched by his bed frantically trying to restrain him and get him to sleep. Sometimes it works, sometimes it fails. Last time it was hard but it worked. This time though I think he's having too much success at staying up for it to work.
Putting him to bed later doesn't help: tried going into the routine at 9:30 instead of 8:30, and sure enough he just did the same thing till 10:30.
It's absolutely driving me insane. To get my work and chores done, and be ready to get him dressed when he wakes, I usually need to get up around 5:30AM, we're busy at work and I'm constantly falling behind. I feel like I'm frantically busy almost all day, seven days a week, with no prospect of an end.
There are lots of people at work with young children, and I'm just so envious of their normal lives. They just put their kids to bed at 7:30PM and watch the football or a movie, they talk about all the box sets they're going through.
Also managed to lose my phone on the train on Sunday. (Took toddler to Hampstead Heath, he managed to climb Parliament Hill by himself). The TFL Lost Property office warns it may take a week even if something has been handed in, so I don't want to rush out and buy a new one. So that's a drag too. Considering getting a Kindle or cheap tablet or something.
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