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Pompei (2003)

by Robert Harris

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
4,6191351,779 (3.59)189
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 189 mentions

English (115)  German (4)  Dutch (4)  French (2)  Italian (2)  Danish (2)  Swedish (2)  Finnish (1)  Spanish (1)  Catalan (1)  All languages (134)
Showing 1-5 of 115 (next | show all)
Just about everyone participating in the Poll Ballot Tally Challenge is reading Pompeii for Hawaii so I'm not going to put together a very long review. Readers already know a lot about the last days of Pompeii, and that everything and everyone, finally, will be overwhelmed by disaster.

Harris has obviously done a good job of research on volcanoes and aqueducts, and it shows. And it does make the story more interesting to use Pliny's words on the eruption of Vesuvius almost step by step to give the story more weight. The fictional part was less than interesting, but not the worst book I've read this year.



1341 ( )
  Olivermagnus | Jul 2, 2020 |
I could not put this book down! It completely satisfied my love for history and past life, especially in Pompeii. I felt like I was IN the past, experiencing life as it was in Pompeii before the eruption of Mt. Vesuvius. This is an absolutely beautiful and stunning novel, and I recommend it to anyone who loves history and finds themselves dreaming of what it would be like to live back in those days. ( )
  CeleryHands | Jun 25, 2020 |
I picked this up having recently visited Pompeii, thinking it might be interesting to read something set in that city. I had such optimism, despite this looking more like the sort of book my husband would read. It occurred to me that setting it in the last few days before the eruption of Mount Vesuvius meant there weren’t many readers out there who didn’t already know the ending, but surely a good author can find their way around a problem like that.

It was interesting to read the author’s take on Pompeii in its heyday. He’s obviously been round the red light district same as me and seen the carvings in the road! And it was interesting (up to a point) to learn about the business of constructing aqueducts. And if there was a stand-out section it had to be the multi-course meal which is perhaps the only thing in literature that has come close to making me spontaneously vomit. But otherwise this was a rather dull account of lots of people with similar names prancing around in tunics, culminating in lots of rock falling on those people, this last event being drawn out to a wholly unbearable degree. Should have gone with my instincts. ( )
  jayne_charles | Dec 22, 2019 |
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 |
Showing 1-5 of 115 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (18 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, Roman Aqueducts and Water Supply
Dedication
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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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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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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