©2009 Robert Harris (P)2010 BBC Audiobooks Ltd
One of the best books in the world. Totally engrossing, I've read it twice and listened to it - oh - fifteen or more times? And each time I've found something I hadn't noticed before, an original image, a vivid description or a shrewd piece of character reveal.
Tightly plotted, it's set two days before the 79BC eruption of Vesuvius. A young engineer, Attilius, has to repair the aqueduct which feeds the whole of the bay of Naples. We KNOW what is about to happen - but this is a thriller involving a disappearance, corrupt officials, a spirited heroine and the real-life historian and polymath Pliny the Elder.
Vesuvius looms broodingly throughout and there are those who are determined that Attilius shall not return from his mission alive.
The novel is studded with accurate detail yet it wears its knowledge lightly and information is imparted subtly and unpatronisingly. A brilliant book which is an object lesson in using real events to backdrop a dramatic and exciting thriller. DO read it!
Great book and superbly read, giving the perfect tone to set the scene for such an historic event. Harris is excellent in blending intriguing fiction alongside the factual build up to events in the town. Thoroughly recommend the book and if anyone has visited the area, you get a feel for the place as many of today's towns play there part all those years ago.
I absolutely adored Harris' novel "Lustrum" and really enjoyed "Imperium" and so was desperate to get my hands on Pompeii. I found it disappointing. Where Harris was so convincing with Cicero and Rome generally, this story had a forced component to it - plot lines obvious, standard fare (bad guy with beautiful daughter, corrupt politicians. incorruptable hero braving elements to rescue the girl) I have heard it all before. The reader did an average job (found Pliny's voice grating, but that is individual). My problem was that the main character wasn't particularly engaging, and the love story was, to my mind, trite and contrived. The anti-hero was one dimensional. Overall it was an OK book, but I didn't find that it grabbed me. Harris really knows his Roman history and I enjoyed the stuff on the aqueduct, and the geology stuff, but the mystery ,the romance, and the characterisations were pretty average. I'd say save your money or credits on Harris' better work.
as i like the pompeii story i dl this book and couldnt wait to listen to it, i wasnt dissapointed it was easy listening well told and i really enjoyed it, im looking for a similar book as this one was so good !
This is a good book it is probably better for reading rather than listening to but I enjoyed it none the less. Not that its narrated badly but I found it a bit tricky keep up with while I was driving. Not something I have ever had a problem with before and I will be relistening. To sum up worth a credit if historical fiction floats your triream/boat ;0)
An absorbing story, read impeccably. I found it slow to start but once we got into the actual disaster I was riveted. It's quite a dry story at the beginning but the quality of the narrator lifts it and keeps the listener hooked until the actual tenseness of the story kicks in.
solid research. smooth narration. entertaining material. 21th. century high impact period action film script, with the usual bells and whistles. waiting for the movie to come out. hopefully not on HBO. it was worth the time and money, though my favorite is still: Lustrum from the author
1958-vintage. Reads several reviews before buying audiobooks. Listens mainly while commuting by car.
Robert Harris is superb in this title, and Steven Pacey does an excellent job as the narrator. The atmosphere of the setting - starting two days before the epic eruption - is packed with suspense and convincing details of life near the volcano. Never dull, never repetitive. I read the (paper) book some ten years ago, and listening to it as a digital audiobook was much appreciated.
"You Can Taste the Ash..."
Marcus Attilius Primus aquarius of the Aqua Augusta is one of the most likable, believable characters I've encountered in a long time. Harris immerses you in Roman life, teaches you about the role of the aqueducts, and introduces you to characters like Pliny the Elder. All the while you feel as though you are following Primus around the bay of Naples, through the towns, meeting the people. Amazingly textured.
"Fascinating tale of an historic event"
Powerful, detailed, interesting.
I appreciated the way the suspense built towards the inevitable eruption of Vesuvius, while painting a picture of the everyday life and individuals in the cities. The reader's voice was pleasant.
"Alright, Entertaining Enough"
The best part was the end after the volcano erupted and the best character was Pliny. Otherwise the story was alright. Entertaining enough to keep satisfied on my morning runs, but it wasn't ground breaking. A fairly accurate description of ancient Rome with a cast of characters that had the right mentality. But I wasn't moved by the story or the development between the lead male and lead female characters. Good if you like historical fiction and want something entertaining to listen to.
"Read this book and live the final hours!"
I thought I knew what happened to Pompeii, but after reading this book I feel as if I've lived through those final days.
This is a dramatic event but the story is told in a way that lets you into the lives of the people. You get to know there dreams and loves, even as you know the volcano is comong.
I wonder if Robert Harris has a time machine and went back to interview people before the event. So much of this book feels as if it was written by a witness to the events he writes about. I'm glad his time machine got him home in time to write this great book.
"Good story except...."
Not familar with his work other than this book.
Probably not. Don't like the language used.
Entertainment factor MAYBE, on a good day!
I really didn't like the cussing & the constant crude sexual reference. Story could have been told without all that.
This audiobook was a great find, it tells the story before the eruption of Pompeii, great characters which you really fall into their story, Harris is a master storyteller, if you like history with a bit of drama, a bit of swearing throughout but suits the storyline. Pacey dees a great job with the narration.
"A Great Read!"
This book was awesome! Great plot and very well developed characters. I never really thought about how a volcaic erruption would progress, but the author did a fantastic job of describing the impact through the various stages of devastation; the effect makes it impossible to stop listening!! The Aquarius as the central character having an engineering background investigating the interruption of the water supply works really well. The love interest is a great addition and also the fates of the various characters is very well done. The narration was perfect.
Excellent read and very well spent credit!
"Excellent tale from an unusual angle."
The disaster at Pompeii is enlivened by telling the tale from the point of view of an engineer on the aquaducts. This enables a fascinating insight into Roman society from an unusual viewpoint. It is nevertheless a lively romp, incorporating romance, intrigue and action. Nicely narrated too.
"Made Roman Life Come Alive"
I read this book years ago, but listening to it made an even bigger impression. The narrator captured both the brutality and the grandeur of Ancient Rome, and wove what we know from history (via the accounts of Pliny), geology (the history of Vesuvius and the remains of the Roman aqueducts), and archaeology (from the excavations of Pompeii and Herculaneum) into a credible story that made the destruction of Pompeii and the loss of life there much more immediate than the re-telling of the story itself suggests.. Any history buff will love this.
"Very good story based on original events"
There is a lot of mystery surrounding the original eruption of Versuvius and this book takes you back to 79AD to experience one persons story. If you have ever visited the ruins of Pompeii this book will be a great companion to your memories of this incredible place.
Very good narration throughout.
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