©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.
"A bit disappointing"
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)
"theme park pompeii..."
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
"Masterly and convincing"
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.
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