Robert Harris is a former journalist and, of course, an English novelist. He studied English literature at Selwyn College, Cambridge, and went on to become a journalist, working for the BBC and various newspapers, including The Daily Telegraph. and The Sunday Times.
In 1982, He began working in the non-fiction genre before becoming known for his works of historical fiction. His first novel, the alternative-history Fatherland, was published in 1992. Harris doesn’t focus on only one period of time-Fatherland, Enigma, V2 take place during the Second World War; his Cicero trilogy explores ancient Rome, like Pompeii. He also wrote books that dive into contemporary history.
How to read Robert Harris’ Books in Order?
The Cicero Series in Order
- Imperium (2006) – Ancient Rome. 70 B.C. The height of the Republic. When Tiro, the confidential secretary of a Roman senator, opens the door to a terrified stranger on a cold November morning, he sets in motion a chain of events which will eventually propel his master into one of the most famous courtroom dramas in history. The stranger is a Sicilian, a victim of the island’s corrupt Roman governor, Verres. The senator is Cicero, a brilliant young lawyer and spellbinding orator, determined to attain imperium – supreme power in the state despite his low birth and implacable opposition from the republic’s elites. This case will be his way in.
- Conspirata (aka Lustrum, 2009) – Cicero returns to continue his struggle to grasp supreme power in the state of Rome. Amidst treachery, vengeance, violence, and treason, this brilliant lawyer, orator, and philosopher finally reaches the summit of all his ambitions. Cicero becomes known as the world’s first professional politician, using his compassion, and deviousness, to overcome all obstacles.
- Dictator (2015) – There was a time when Cicero held Caesar’s life in the palm of his hand. But now Caesar is the dominant figure and Cicero’s life is in ruins. Exiled, separated from his wife and children, his possessions confiscated, his life constantly in danger, Cicero is tormented by the knowledge that he has sacrificed power for the sake of his principles. His comeback requires wit, skill and courage – and for a brief and glorious period, the legendary orator is once more the supreme senator in Rome.
Standalone Fiction Novels by Robert Harris in Order of Publication
- Fatherland (1992) – Berlin, 1964. The Greater German Reich stretches from the Rhine to the Urals and keeps an uneasy peace with its nuclear rival, the United States. As the Fatherland prepares for a grand celebration honoring Adolf Hitler’s 75th birthday and anticipates a conciliatory visit from US president Joseph Kennedy and ambassador Charles Lindbergh, a detective of the Kriminalpolizei is called out to investigate the discovery of a dead body in a lake near Berlin’s most prestigious suburb.
- Enigma (1995) – England 1943. Much of the infamous Nazi Enigma code has been cracked. But Shark, the impenetrable operational cipher used by Nazi U-boats, has masked the Germans’ movements, allowing them to destroy a record number of Allied vessels. Feeling that the blood of Allied sailors is on their hands, a top-secret team of British cryptographers works feverishly around the clock to break Shark. And when brilliant mathematician Tom Jericho succeeds, it is the stuff of legend. . .
- Archangel (1998) – One night, Kelso is visited in his hotel room by an old NKVD officer, a former bodyguard of the secret police chief Lavrenty Beria. The old man claims to have been at Stalin’s dacha on the night Stalin had his fatal stroke, and to have helped Beria steal the dictator’s private papers, among them a notebook. Kelso decides to use his last morning in Moscow to check out the old man’s story. But what starts as an idle inquiry in the Lenin Library soon turns into a murderous chase across nighttime Moscow and up to northern Russia–to the vast forests near the White Sea port of Archangel, where the final secret of Josef Stalin has been hidden for almost half a century.
- Pompeii (2003) – All along the Mediterranean coast, the Roman empire’s richest citizens are relaxing in their luxurious villas, enjoying the last days of summer. The world’s largest navy lies peacefully at anchor in Misenum. The tourists are spending their money in the seaside resorts of Baiae, Herculaneum, and Pompeii. But the carefree lifestyle and gorgeous weather belie an impending cataclysm, and only one man is worried. The young engineer Marcus Attilius Primus has just taken charge of the Aqua Augusta, the enormous aqueduct that brings fresh water to a quarter of a million people in nine towns around the Bay of Naples. His predecessor has disappeared. Springs are failing for the first time in generations. And now there is a crisis on the Augusta’s sixty-mile main line-somewhere to the north of Pompeii, on the slopes of Mount Vesuvius.
- The Ghost Writer (aka The Ghost, 2007) – The role of a ghostwriter is to make his client look good, not to uncover the truth. But what happens when the client is a major political figure, and the truth could change the course of history? Adam Lang, the controversial former prime minister of Britain, is writing his memoirs. But his first ghostwriter dies under shocking circumstances, and his replacement-whose experience lies in portraying aging rock stars and film idols-knows little about Lang’s inner circle. Flown to join Lang in a secure house on the remote shores of Martha’s Vineyard in the depths of winter, cut off from everyone and everything he knows, he comes to realize he should never have taken the job.
- The Fear Index (2011) – In the secretive inner circle of the ultra-rich, Alex Hoffmann is a legend. He has developed an algorithm for playing the financial markets that generates billions of pounds – and feeds on panic. When one day his system is threatened by a terrifying intruder who breaches the elaborate security of his lakeside home, his life becomes a waking nightmare of violence and paranoia. But who is trying to destroy him? And is it already too late?
- An Officer and a Spy (2013) – Welcome to 1890s Paris. Alfred Dreyfus has been convicted of treason, sentenced to life imprisonment on a far-off island, and publicly stripped of his rank. Among the witnesses to his humiliation is Georges Picquart, an ambitious military officer who believes in Dreyfus’s guilt as staunchly as any member of the public. But when he is promoted to head of the French counter-espionage agency, Picquart finds evidence that a spy still remains at large in the military-indicating that Dreyfus is innocent. As evidence of the most malignant deceit mounts and spirals inexorably toward the uppermost levels of government, Picquart is compelled to question not only the case against Dreyfus but also his most deeply held beliefs about his country, and about himself.
- Conclave (2016) – The pope is dead. Behind the locked doors of the Sistine Chapel, one hundred and eighteen cardinals from all over the globe will cast their votes in the world’s most secretive election. They are holy men. But they have ambition. And they have rivals. Over the next seventy-two hours, one of them will become the most powerful spiritual figure on Earth.
- Munich (2017) – Hugh Legat is a rising star of the British diplomatic service, serving at 10 Downing Street as a private secretary to the Prime Minister, Neville Chamberlain. Paul von Hartmann is on the staff of the German Foreign Office–and secretly a member of the anti-Hitler resistance. The two men were friends at Oxford in the 1920s, but have not been in contact since. Now, when Hugh flies with Chamberlain from London to Munich, and Hartmann travels on Hitler’s train overnight from Berlin, their paths are set on a disastrous collision course.
- The Second Sleep (2019) – 1468. A young priest, Christopher Fairfax, arrives in a remote Exmoor village to conduct the funeral of his predecessor. The land around is strewn with ancient artifacts–coins, fragments of glass, human bones–which the old parson used to collect. Did his obsession with the past lead to his death? Fairfax becomes determined to discover the truth. For the next six days, everything he believes–about himself, his faith, and the history of his world–will be tested to destruction.
- V2 (2020) – The first rocket will take five minutes to hit London. You have six minutes to stop the second. Rudi Graf is an engineer who always dreamed of sending rockets to the moon. But instead, he finds himself working alongside Wernher von Braun, launching V2 rockets at London for the Nazis from a bleak seaside town in occupied Holland. As the SS increases its scrutiny on the project, Graf, an engineer more than a soldier, has to muster all of his willpower to toe the party line. And when rumors of a defector circulate through the German ranks, Graf becomes a prime suspect.
- Act of Oblivion (2022) – 1660 England. General Edward Whalley and his son-in-law Colonel William Goffe board a ship bound for the New World. They are on the run, wanted for the murder of King Charles I–a brazen execution that marked the culmination of the English Civil War, in which parliamentarians successfully battled royalists for control. But now, ten years after Charles’ beheading, the royalists have returned to power. Under the provisions of the Act of Oblivion, the fifty-nine men who signed the king’s death warrant and participated in his execution have been found guilty in absentia of high treason. Some of the Roundheads, including Oliver Cromwell, are already dead. Others have been captured, hung, drawn, and quartered. A few are imprisoned for life. But two have escaped to America by boat.
Non-fiction Books by Robert Harris
- A Higher Form of Killing (1982) (with Jeremy Paxman) – A Higher Form of Killing opens with the first devastating battlefield use of lethal gas in World War I, and then investigates the stockpiling of biological weapons during World War II and in the decades afterward as well as the inhuman experiments conducted to test their effectiveness.
- Gotcha (1983) – Depicts the efforts of the British government to censor news reports concerning the Falkland Islands War and analyzes the media’s treatment of the conflict.
- The Making of Neil Kinnock (1984) – The story of the leader of the Labour Party, Neil Kinnock.
- Good and Faithful Servant (1990) – The Unauthorized Biography of Bernard Ingham, Margaret Thatcher’s Press Secretary from 1979 to 1990. Blunt, tough and widely feared, he was once called the most powerful man in Britain. Robert Harris, “Sunday Times” columnist and a former lobby journalist, has written a detailed account of Ingham’s career: his methods, his personality and his rise to power. Drawing on new evidence, he shows how Ingham, a passionate socialist in the 1960s, became one of the Prime Minister’s most loyal lieutenants. He investigates the controversies Ingham has been at the heart of: the Falklands, Westland, the rows between the Queen and Mrs Thatcher, the denigration of ministers in off-the-record briefings. Above all, he reveals how Ingham amassed more power than any previous occupant of his office, making himself one of the most influential men in the Prime Minister’s circle.
- Selling Hitler (1996) – Spring 1983: it seemed that one of the most startling discoveries of the century had been made and that one of the world’s most sought after documents had finally come to light – the private diaries of Adolf Hitler. What followed was a fiasco of fakery, greed, the duping of experts, and the exchange of extraordinary sums of money for worldwide publishing rights. But that was just the beginning of the story…
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