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5.0 out of 5 stars Spoiler alert! ;-)
I did have to wonder how good a book would be when you know not only the ending but also quite a bit about the event before you start it. However, Robert Harris delivered with a nice little twist at the end. I also appreciated learning more about Roman technology through the point of view he used. A good read!
Published 4 months ago by Vanessa Wells

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3.0 out of 5 stars First of three
It was a good read but not on par with his other two about Rome. Am very glad I read the other two first or I would not have bothered after reading this one.
Published 4 months ago by Dorothy Dewitte


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4.0 out of 5 stars A good read!, May 9 2014
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This review is from: Pompeii (Kindle Edition)
The author uses English well, and if the reader enjoys authentically substantiated, historical fiction, this book is enjoyable. I liked in particular, the volcanology citations supporting the description of the cataclysm in which the story's embedded.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Spoiler alert! ;-), March 21 2014
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This review is from: Pompeii (Paperback)
I did have to wonder how good a book would be when you know not only the ending but also quite a bit about the event before you start it. However, Robert Harris delivered with a nice little twist at the end. I also appreciated learning more about Roman technology through the point of view he used. A good read!
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3.0 out of 5 stars First of three, March 8 2014
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This review is from: Pompeii (Paperback)
It was a good read but not on par with his other two about Rome. Am very glad I read the other two first or I would not have bothered after reading this one.
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4.0 out of 5 stars A natural history page-turning thriller!, Oct. 14 2005
By 
Paul Weiss (Dundas, Ontario Canada) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Pompeii (Paperback)
Dateline, August 79 AD: Marcus Attilius Primus, a young, savvy aquarius, or water engineer, has been sent from Rome as replacement for the AWOL Exomnius to ensure the proper maintenance of Aqua Augusta, the aqueduct that supplies Pompeii, Herculaneum and the towns on the Bay of Naples. Investigation into the problem of the aqueduct drying up and its failure to deliver its critical liquid payload uncovers not only municipal theft of water and graft of epic proportions but natural problems and concerns relating to Vesuvius and its pending eruption - tremors, pollution of the water with sulphur emissions, rockfalls, and shifts and bulges in the earth's surface, not to mention breakages and blockages in the aqueduct itself.
Insofar as the eruption of Vesuvius and the destruction of Pompeii and Herculaneum are concerned, we all know how the story ends. So it fell to Harris' skill as a writer to build and maintain momentum and suspense in spite of that. With the clever device of a brief excerpt from a scientific treatise on volcanism serving as a preface to every chapter plus absolutely scintillating descriptive writing, what might have been a monumentally boring exposition of the final few hours leading up to Vesuvius' cataclysmic eruption becomes rather a thrilling natural history page turner that actually had my stomach twisted up into knots as I felt the clock ticking toward the inevitable catastrophe!
The resolution of Exomnius' disappearance and the discovery of the theft of water by Numerius Popidius Ampliatus, an ex-slave and now Pompeii's wealthiest citizen, serve as a springboard for Harris' outstanding description of an extraordinary cross section of daily life in the ancient Roman provinces - slaves vs freemen, men vs women, and children, the luxury and indolence of the wealthy vs the difficulties and squalid conditions of the poor, politicians vs their constituency, the use of the "games" as a means of distracting and buying off the general population, the baths, and the Roman diet. His charming portrayal of Pliny the Elder and the discussions surrounding the aqueduct problem will amaze and delight readers with the surprising level of sophistication of Roman science and engineering.
Sadly, the denouement after the eruption and Harris' winding down of the romantic involvement of Marcus Attilius with Cordelia Ampliata, who is promised under a contract of marriage to one of Pompeii's leading politicos, just doesn't come anywhere close to the standards of the first three-quarters of the book! What might have been a five-star book that I was tempted to place in my "Top Ten All-Time" list became merely good as I closed the covers on the final few chapters! Too bad, for sure, but 4-star recommendations are nothing to sniff at! Pompeii was well worth my time and I enjoyed it immensely.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Spell binding story about the days of Pompeii's eruption., Feb. 15 2011
By 
Carol - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Pompeii (Paperback)
So interesting! The details of the underground water system that existed in ancient Italy were fascinating as well as the politics that surrounded the control of this system. Marcus Attilius is a wonderful character and the book follows his discoveries, engineering talents, attempts to help all manner of people and his hopes for love. Very well written and easy to read ... hard to put down.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Very well done page-turner, Aug. 16 2007
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This review is from: Pompeii (Paperback)
Pompeii isn't great literature, let's admit that, but if you are looking for a good page-turner and have an interest in history, this is a really good choice.

The plot and the characters are mostly secondary devices. The important thing is that Harris paints a nice portrait of Roman life just before the eruption of Vesuvius, and makes us curious about what kind of havoc the volcano will wreck on the Roman towns and people that we've been reading about.

Even more interesting is the fact that Harris has obviously read all the Roman accounts he could of the eruption, and many of the little details about what happened, especially regarding Pliny, are taken from contemporary descriptions of the disaster.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Harris starts to return to form after the disaster that was "Archangel", Aug. 19 2006
By 
David Ljunggren (Ottawa, Ontario Canada) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Pompeii (Paperback)
Pompeii marks the partial return to form of Robert Harris, who burst onto the scene a few years ago with the magnificent "Fatherland". He followed that with "Enigma", another thriller set in World War Two which was interesting but flawed, and then produced the absolutely appalling "Archangel". I've had "Pompeii" on my shelves for a while now, not daring to read the book in case it also turned out to be a stinker. I finally read it a few days ago and am glad that I did.

If you're going to set a book in the few days before Vesuvius explodes, the main challenge is to produce a narrative which can engage the reader who knows perfectly well that the volcano is about to extinguish Pompeii, Herculaneum and other nearby towns, ending life in the region. "Pompeii" tells the story of the young water engineer Marcus Attilius, who is given his job after his veteran predecessor disappears. Soon there is a break in the Aqua Augusta, the immense viaduct which brings water to several towns near Vesuvius. Attilius is charged with first finding and then fixing the disruption but runs into big and potentially fatal problems when it becomes clear his investigations will pose all sorts of embarrassing problems for the local elite.

As ever, Harris writes exceedingly well. He has done his research and you can feel the sweat running down the backs of the overworked labourers in the shadows of the volcano, hear the insects buzzing all around and smell the ancient and exceedingly expensive wine offered to pompeii's luminaries. The main problem with the book is that Attilius never really comes to life. He is an honest young man pitched into a sea of corruption, someone trying to forget the recent death of his young wife, yet he stays largely on the page, rarely engaging the reader. That said, "Pompeii" is worth reading for the description of the volcanic blast alone.
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5.0 out of 5 stars History brought to life, March 25 2011
By 
Ben Nicholson "Benkernow" (Cornwall, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Pompeii (Paperback)
The book is based over 4 days leading up to the roman town pompeii and other surrounding towns get covered by the volcano, vesuvius. The Lead character has been sent from rome to deal with the aquaduct which has dried up and to replace the previous engineer who was looking after it goes missing. The story follows the aquaduct engineer well tries to fix it and try to find out why his predecessor goes missing. It also follows 3 other character who the engineer comes across, which are a freeman who owns a lot off the town and is corrupt, as well as a young lady who is his daughter and a elderly scientist (for the people into roman history is Pliny the Elder). The book is very well written and keeps intrested all the way through. It brings the ancient city of pompeii and surrounding area alive and puts a real touch to it. It involves real people, places and other information found in pompeii into the story. It is a brilliant read for people into history and not into history alike.
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4.0 out of 5 stars A short review to the point, June 7 2010
This review is from: Pompeii (Paperback)
I liked this book. Gave a good description of Pompeii. Likable characters. Gripping plot. Easy enough to read. And a story that kept moving along. Perhaps not up to Harris's other novels - notably Fatherland - but still an entertaining read. Pick it up. Especially if you find yourself out at the cottage this summer.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent, Feb. 17 2006
This review is from: Pompeii (Paperback)
A very enjoyable read. This book takes you out of the modern world and plops you smack dab in the center of 79AD. It's so realistic you can almost view the events as they are happening. I love how at the beginning of every chapter he takes snipits from modern texts to explain what is happening. It's an excellent way to see how the thinking back then is so different from now. I can't wait to read more from this author. Highly recommended.
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Pompeii
Pompeii by Robert Harris (Hardcover - 2003)
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