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Saturday, 30 August 2014
Pompeii by Robert Harris
Reviewer: Liza Perrat, author of Spirit of Lost Angels and Wolfsangel
What we thought: In a sweltering week of August A.D. 79, the wealthy of Rome are enjoying the summer in their sumptuous villas around Pompeii and Herculaneum. But when the water flow from springs and wells start to falter, and the greatest aqueduct in the world––the Aqua Augusta––ceases to flow, the aquarius, Marcus Attilius Primus, fears these ominous signs point to some greater impending disaster.
When water flow to the coastal town of Misenum is interrupted, Attilius convinces the admiral of the Roman fleet––the scholar, Pliny the Elder––to give him a fast ship to Pompeii, where he locates the source of the problem. Attilius vows to Pliny he’ll repair the damaged aqueduct in two days.
Meanwhile, Attilius meets Corelia, daughter of a corrupt millionaire, who gives him documents implicating her father in a water embezzlement scheme. Tremors start to be felt in Pompeii, and the people fear that the god Vulcan is angry and may send an earthquake like the one seventeen years before.
Attilius successfully repairs the aqueduct, but the air, now filled with grey dust, begins to rain pumice, and Vesuvius explodes. In a fast-paced, exciting narrative style, Attilius fights his way back to Pompeii in an attempt to rescue Corelia and the story rushes towards its thrilling climax.
With his detailed research of time, place and circumstance, Robert Harris has brilliantly recreated the luxurious world around the Bay of Naples, on the brink of destruction from this well-known catastrophe.
You’ll enjoy this if you like: Fast-paced action and adventure historical stories based on factual events.
Avoid if you don’t like: natural disasters.
Ideal accompaniments: wine and grapes in a cool bath
Genre: Historical Fiction
Available from Amazon.