Antony did for Cicero: who is going to do for our Antony?
That is the best one line summary I can give of last night's party at the House of Commons to launch the first of Robert Harris's three volume Roman novel series.
After dissecting Cicero's role in the demise of the Roman republic, the talk turned swiftly to Anthony Blair.
Harris is a former political correspondent with strong links to the government - though not quite as close links now as in earlier happier Blair days.
Amid the well justified admiration last night for a sharply written and elegantly characterised novel, there was an unruly political mood.
No one in the terrace marquee quite suggested that the British Prime Minister's tongue be torn out and stapled to the Commons Despatch Box, the fate that Cicero suffered - and which we will doubtless duly read about at the end of Harris's trilogy.
But at this party, and at pretty well every other party in London right now, the going is not good for Tony Blair.
In fact his going is about all that anyone wants.
Former loyalists argue that he should go now before the ground beneath him gets worse. Longtime opponents want him out before he makes reelection impossible for Gordon Brown, his successor-in-very-long-waiting. But since Tony Blair does not want to go yet, has said he does not want to go yet, and shows no signs of going yet, how is this to be achieved?
Life is not as easy for the Blair Must Go brigades as it sometimes seems in books.
Veteran Labour observers last night - with memories of Labour's previous period in office under Harold Wilson and James Callaghan - pointed to the Prime Minister's longstanding and barely concealed contempt for his Cabinet. 'That's fine when you're riding high but not now. If Tony's colleagues insisted on discussing the issue that everyone else is talking about, could he stop them? And if he couldn't stop them it would surely be a few short steps to a vote of Labour MPs and a forced resignation?'
'Nonsense', said the Blair Must Stay believers. The Cabinet is so 'hopelessly feeble' it wouldn't dare. New Labourites, like the New Men rising in ancient Rome, have transformed their inheritance. The Wilsonian past will not return. 'Only Gordon Brown himself can pick up the dagger - and, if he is caught with it in his hand, he is doomed'.
Doom for Brown is precisely what the most devoted Blairites most devoutly want.
As usual there was more fear and rumour than hard fact. But one rumour - of a good story in one of the tabloids today - turned out to be true.
The Daily Mirror this morning claims to have a Downing Street plan for a legacy-making last hurrah for the Prime Minister, a lengthy tour of new buildings constructed in the Blair decade, iconic photographs across the country, Christian and childrens TV studios. It would be virtually a Roman triumph - only longer.
As for Gordon Brown, 'the more successful we are' , the memo-writers declare, 'the more it will agitate and possibly destabilise him'.
There is not much doubt about that last statement.
But back to the literary part of the evening.
Cicero's skills did not avoid a Roman civil war. He could not protect himself. His killer, Mark Antony, had to commit suicide. The whole party was over. We must wait for the rest of Harris's glinting, shimmering and ever threatening story to find out how he sees this end.
Today, as they say, we are in softer times.