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Pompeii by Robert Harris

July 3, 2019

 

The Blurb

 

A sweltering week in late August. Where better to enjoy the last days of summer than on the beautiful Bay of Naples? But even as Rome's richest citizens relax in their villas around Pompeii and Herculaneum, there are ominous warnings that something is going wrong. Wells and springs are failing, a man has disappeared, and now the greatest aqueduct in the world - the mighty Aqua Augusta - has suddenly ceased to flow. Through the eyes of four characters - a young engineer, an adolescent girl, a corrupt millionaire and an elderly scientist - Robert Harris brilliantly recreates a luxurious world on the brink of destruction.​

 

 

About Robert Harris

 

 

ROBERT HARRIS is the author of nine best-selling novels: Fatherland, Enigma, Archangel, Pompeii, Imperium, The Ghost Writer, Conspirata, The Fear Index, and An Officer and a Spy. Several of his books have been adapted to film, most recently The Ghost Writer, directed by Roman Polanski. His work has been translated into thirty-seven languages. He lives in the village of Kintbury, England, with his wife, Gill Hornby.

 

 

 

My Review

 

This has been an incredible work of fiction bringing one of the world's most historic moments vividly to life. Many have seen the body casts of Pompeii's anonymous and presumably innocent victims in the throes of agonising death, and some of us may know that the eruption of Vesuvius t took place on August 24th 79AD which continued for two days, ironically at the time of the Feast of Vulcan. Robert Harris has successfully put the human face on this by telling us the story behind some of the prominent people and not so prominent, with a blend of fictitious but credible characters and real people such as Admiral Pliny (The Elder).
The other aspect of this book is it illustrates the technology that the Romans had regarding the management of water with their aqueducts and reservoirs and their ability in construction and engineering. 
The novel is centred around Marcus Attilius , the Aquarius (Ner engineer) who is sent from his home town of Misenum on the western side of the Bay Neapolis to Pompeii to locate a fault in the Aqua Augusta aqueduct when the water had become contaminated with sulphur, and supplies had been cut off. The young Aquarius unearthed more than structural faults when challenged by corruption at the highest level. I'm so sorry to have come to the end of this book, it has taken me into an era that I wanted to spend so much longer in.​

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