Book Review

Title: Lustrum
Author: Robert Harris
Genre: Historical Fiction
First published: 2009
Spoiler Alert: No

If you’d like to transport yourself back to ancient Rome but don’t own a time machine, then Robert Harris’s Lustrum is your best bet.

Lustrum is the second book (of which is promised to be a trilogy) following the life of Marcus Tullius Cicero. The first book, Imperium, should be read before Lustrum, but it isn’t necessary to follow the story.

Cicero was a lawyer and orator who lived between 106 and 43 BC, when the government of Rome was rife with corruption, bribery, ill-morals, social climbers, greedy power seekers and people who slept with other peoples’ wives. Continue reading

Interview with Franchere – Part 7- War

This is the last of our interview with Gabriel Franchere. More of the trials and tribulations of early Astoria will be shared in future posts (from other people who were there.) In case this is your first visit here: the fictitious magazine is called Playmen (because a similar magazine was known especially for its interviews with famous people.) And the interview takes place in 1846 in which Franchere, a clerk with the John Jacob Astor`s Pacific Fur Company published a book about his escapades.


When did you first learn that the Northwest Company was doing business in the vicinity?


“As I stated, almost immediately after our arrival. Some natives from up the river, brought us two strange Indians, a man and a woman. They were not attired like the savages on the river Columbia, but wore long robes of dressed deer-skin, with leggings and moccasins in the fashion of the tribes to the east of the Rocky Mountains. We put questions to them in various Indian dialects; but they did not understand us. They showed us a letter addressed to “Mr. John Stuart, Fort Estekatadene, New Caledonia.” Mr. Pillet who was well acquainted in the Knisteneaux language, addressed them in that language and they answered, although they appeared not to understand it perfectly. Notwithstanding, we learned that they had been sent by a Mr. Finnan McDonald, a clerk in the service of the Northwest Company, and who had a post on a river which they called Spokan. That having lost their way, they had followed the course of the Tacousah-Tesseh(the Indian name of the Columbia), that when they arrived at the Falls, the natives made them understand that there were white men at the mouth of the river. Not doubting that the person to whom the letter was addressed would be found there, they had come to deliver it.”

(Ed.: These two Indians turned out to be women posing as man-and-wife. The Chinooks found them so weird, they wanted to kill them. But they were kept under protection at the fort until they left with the next brigade heading up river.) Continue reading