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Pompeii by Robert Harris
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Pompeii (2003)

by Robert Harris

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
4,2741311,721 (3.58)178
When the aqueduct that brings fresh water to thousands of people around the bay of Naples fails, Roman engineer Marius Primus heads to the slopes of Mount Vesuvius to investigate, only to come face to face with an impending catastrophe.
  1. 10
    Pompeii: The Life of A Roman Town by Mary Beard (wandering_star)
    wandering_star: A comprehensive and entertaining look at what life in Pompeii might really have been like (and incidentally, Beard namechecks Harris' book).
  2. 00
    The Ghost by Robert Harris (HenriMoreaux)
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» See also 178 mentions

English (113)  Dutch (4)  German (3)  Swedish (2)  French (2)  Danish (2)  Italian (2)  Finnish (1)  Catalan (1)  Spanish (1)  All languages (131)
Showing 1-5 of 113 (next | show all)
In August AD 79 the new aquarius in charge of the Aqua Augusta aqueduct serving Pompeii, Herculaneum, Nola, and Misenum finds that the aqueduct has stopped producing water and investigates why.

The aqueduct was far more interesting than the characters, who I found to be rather flat cliches to the point it was fairly obvious within a few pages of each character being introduced who was going to survive ( )
  Robertgreaves | Jul 11, 2019 |
This book does an excellent job of reconstructing the Pompeii eruption. The main character is a water system engineer, responsible for maintaining aqueducts, and I appreciated the setting even more for having watched a lecture on Roman water systems. Although we all know how the story ends—do we?—Harris steadily ratchets up the tension, and maintains some suspense about the main characters. The writing isn't fantastic and the characters are a bit flat, but overall "Pompeii" is a fun and educational story. ( )
  breic | Apr 6, 2019 |
I rather enjoyed the reconstruction of life in the rather decadent outpost of the Roman Empire around the Bay of Naples. A sort of first century Marbella, by the sound of it. Well-researched insights into volcanology and the wonders of Roman plumbing kept my attention fully occupied.

I was less enticed by the rather limp plot that threads its way through. Corruption on a grand scale came as no surprise; the love interest never really took off even if it were necessary, and the winding up of the plot seemed far-fetched. In any case, it was overshadowed by the awesome true story of Vesuvius itself.
( )
  enitharmon | Jan 14, 2019 |
I rather enjoyed the reconstruction of life in the rather decadent outpost of the Roman Empire around the Bay of Naples. A sort of first century Marbella, by the sound of it. Well-researched insights into volcanology and the wonders of Roman plumbing kept my attention fully occupied.

I was less enticed by the rather limp plot that threads its way through. Corruption on a grand scale came as no surprise; the love interest never really took off even if it were necessary, and the winding up of the plot seemed far-fetched. In any case, it was overshadowed by the awesome true story of Vesuvius itself.
( )
  enitharmon | Jan 14, 2019 |
I found myself discussing this book at dinner recently with a woman who equally remembered the characters. The protagonist and his perspective bring the plot to life and make this an enjoyable read.

The downside - the characters act more like 19th century Brits than Romans sometimes and the comparisons between the decline of Rome and contemporary America are a bit heavyhanded . . . but if you can read through all that (not difficult) this is a page turner that will allow you to take a walk back in time! ( )
  nkmunn | Nov 17, 2018 |
Showing 1-5 of 113 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (21 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Robert Harrisprimary authorall editionscalculated
Vink, RenéeTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Epigraph
American superiority in all matters of science, economics, industry, politics, business, medicine, engineering, social life, social justice, and of course, the military was total and indisputable. Even Europeans suffering the pangs of wounded chauvinism looked on with awe art the brilliant example the United States had set for the world as the third millennium began.

Tom Wolfe, Hooking Up
In the whole world, wherever the vault of heaven turns, there is no land so well adorned with all that wins Nature's crown as Italy, the ruler and second Mother of the world, with her men and women, her generals and soldiers, her slaves, her pre-eminence in arts and crafts, her wealth of brilliant talent ...

Pliny, Natural History
How can we withhold our respect from a water system that, in the first century AD, supplied the city of Rome with substantially more water than was supplied in 1985 to New York City ?

A. Trevor Hodge, author,
Roman Aqueducts & Water Supply/
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To Gill
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They left the aquaduct two hours before dawn, climbing by moonlight into the hills overlooking the port - six men in single file, the engineer leading.
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When the aqueduct that brings fresh water to thousands of people around the bay of Naples fails, Roman engineer Marius Primus heads to the slopes of Mount Vesuvius to investigate, only to come face to face with an impending catastrophe.

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