A Novel

Book - 2003
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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.
Publisher: New York : Random House, c2003
Edition: 1st ed
ISBN: 9780679428893
Characteristics: 278 p. : map ; 25 cm


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Aug 13, 2019

Robert Harris exceeds most of the great novelist. If you can visualize , this novel suceeds where only mitchner might

Aug 12, 2018

If you enjoy ancient Roman civilization history, or are into the geological impact of volcanoes, then this book is for you, otherwise, don't bother.

Beatricksy Jun 23, 2018

It's fun, but it's primarily a set piece to play with some fancy special effects and some exceedingly tropey characters. The heroes are SO GOOD and the villains are SO RELENTLESSLY EVIL and the girl is SUPER HOT (and strangely contemporary-feeling) but whatever; we all know the volcano is the truly sexy one here and the rest is just window dressing. It thrives on build up, some of the snark is charming, and since it's so tropey, it feels really safe and comfortable and straight out of the nostalgic 90s. It's a natural disaster popcorn-thriller movie in book form. A super light diversion for an afternoon--assuming you'll be as way into the delightfully fascinating Roman architecture as I was. Because if you're not into aqueducts, you're in for a world of really boring pain for about 70% of the book and should pick up something different.

Feb 14, 2018

Terrific, could not put this book down. The characters, the plot, the dialog, the descriptions, all run together so smoothly. I have read about Pompeii and the eruption of Mount Vesuvius for years and yet I learned so many new things about them both. Harris has done his research and kept the story very close to the factual. I felt like I was really there seeing what they were seeing. I love Harris, I don't know how I missed this book of his.

Feb 07, 2018

Riveting and not a book that's easy to put down. The engineer combats corruption as well as the forces of nature. The vulcanology is credible; Pliny appears on stage to describe his Plinian eruption; the engineer labours mightily to maintain his aqueduct and quench a Roman city's thirst. And finally amor vincit omnia.
How good is this page turner? Good enough to get me scurrying for more of Robert Harris.

CMLibrary_gjd_0 Mar 15, 2016

I learned so much about ancient aqueducts reading this novel; more than I ever learned in school. Even with that being the case, this is still a fast-paced action novel. You really feel the panic of the moment throughout this story. Mr. Harris remains a master of the Historical Novel.

Jan 05, 2016

Well written historical fiction about the time of the eruption of Vesuvius. I like the character descriptions.

May 02, 2015

What a good book! This book is a novel describing four days in Pompeii--two days before the eruption of Mt. Vesuvius, and then two days of the eruption. There are geological facts about volcanos and eruptions at the beginning of every chapter. The warning signs of the eruption are ominous. The engineering of the Roman aqueducts is truly amazing. Because we are surrounded by volcanos here in Seattle, this book hits home in many ways. This is a fast read, and well worth the time reading it.

An interesting novel but lacks literary tension because we know the mountain is going to blow. Characters might have been better set in one of the remote towns so we would not be so sure about the outcome. Still a great lesson in history and engineering of the Roman aqueduct system. Well worth the read.

ehbooklover Mar 25, 2014

A fictionalized account of the events leading up to the explosion of Mount Vesuvius told from the perspectives of an engineer, a young girl, a corrupt millionaire, and a scientist. Well researched and full of lots of interesting details about the culture of the Roman Empire, its amazing aqueduct system, and the causes and the timeline of a volcanic eruption.

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