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Pompeii

Average Rating 4
( 104 )
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5 Star

(36)

4 Star

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3 Star

(22)

2 Star

(8)

1 Star

(3)

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Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 36 review with 5 star rating   See All Ratings
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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 1, 2012

    Fast and enjoyable read!

    This story really kept me interested. I had read true accounts of the disaster and a recent show on volcanoes set me looking for fictional stories based on the story of the ruins. This was an excellent fast read and kept me enthralled until the end.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 17, 2011

    GREAT READ

    I was pleasantly surprised having not known the author or tried a sample. Good story, strong characters and interesting setting.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 13, 2005

    This Book Comes Close to Home

    I picked up this book because my family comes from Torre Del Greco, a suburb of Naples, in the shadow of Mt. Vesuvius. I was fascinated and excited to read, even fictionally, about the country where my family originated. The author's accounts of city structure and life are so wonderful, that for a moment I forgot it was fictional. I was greatly pleased to see that the architecture he describes matches my grandmother's house, down to the shapes of the houses, the cool tiles and the water fountains. Even though we know what happened, it is wonderful to see a new perspective, a more personal view of the events leading up to the disaster.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 5, 2014

    different

    Recommended as I was going to Italy. I wasn't sure but was pleasantly surprised. The story held my attention and it was interesting to find how many characters actually were alive then. This is both informative and a great story.

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  • Posted September 8, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    The action is fast paced and knowledge of the inevitable catastr

    The action is fast paced and knowledge of the inevitable catastrophe takes nothing away from the drama. However, the amazing scholarship that under lies the plot and characters is what makes this book unique. We are introduced into the Roman engineering marvel of the Aqua Augusta aqueduct, into Roman politics and corruption, and into the lives, homes and culture of those living in this area of wealth and tourism. Attilius, the water engineer or Aquarius, was almost too honest and dedicated to be believable, but was in obvious contract to Ampliatus, the greedy, ruthless power behind the local politicians. I enjoyed meeting Pliny, the former cavalry commander, now Admiral and scientist, and discovering why a high, narrow blast of gas from a volcanic eruption is or was called a “Plinian” You may think you know the story of Pompeii, but the detailed description of the catastrophe through all of its phases and the corresponding impact upon the people along this area of the Mediterranean coast may convince the reader otherwise.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 28, 2011

    If you are interested in life in ancient Rome, then this is a must read!

    Harris weaves a wonderful tale while giving you a lasting glimpse into the daily lives of the people living in Rome. I am planning a trip to Italy this spring and cannot wait to see the places mentioned in the awesome easy- to-read book. Well worth the money!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 27, 2012

    I Also Recommend:

    My 100 Club recommend at work

    As far as page turners go...you do not want to miss this!

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  • Posted January 21, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    roman world comes alive

    One of histories greatest natural diasters is put to dramatic effect! Harris obviously did his research, but it never weighs down the story. Great story and attention to detail.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 13, 2004

    Excellent Historical Intertainment!

    Not only was this historical, it was entertaining. History and science are two interests of mine. This book brought both of them together. Robert Harris is a first rate author. I am looking forward to reading more of his writings!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 26, 2004

    First rate entertainment

    The narrative is gripping, with a fresh angle. The detail is extremely accurate, reflecting great care, research, and love of subject. The characters are plausible and sharply drawn, again with great accuracy in the case of Pliny the Elder. Harris shows here, as in his other works, the exquisite skill for painting a portrait of a location. The eruption of Vesuvius builds with suspense in the novel (as it must have in real life), and there are wonderful cinematic moments, as well as some descriptive epiphanies that I enjoyed reading over and over again. Well done!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 28, 2004

    Compelling New Perspective on Ancient History

    I loved this book and could not put it down. Years ago I had read The Last Days of Pompeii, which was fascinating. I was afraid that Robert Harris' Pompeii could not offer any new insight into this familiar history, but surprisingly it does and is compelling to the last page. The entire story (the last 3 days of life in Pompeii) is told from the perspective of the aqueducts in Pompeii and the surrounding region, through the eyes of a new Aquarius brought in to replace one who suspiciously disappeared. We learn that it was the water supply in Pompeii which gave the first clues of impending doom, and that in the year 79 A.D., Mt. Vesuvius was not known to be a volcano - so the warning signs which should have been heeded were overlooked by most people, except for the Aquarius. Harris really brings Pompeii alive by immersing us in the personal lives of some very vivid characters--all the while knowing what is going to happen to them. The very best suspense is that in which the reader knows the outcome before the characters in the story do. This book far exceeded my expectations and held my interest to the very end. It is an excellent read.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 6, 2004

    Gripping recreation of ancient catastrophe

    Robert Harris tells a fascinating tale; the reader is immersed in the world of the ancient Roman Empire just before and during one of the greatest natural disasters of all time. The tourist-y resort towns of Pompeii and Herculaneum bear a startling resemblance to wealthy beach communities of the modern era. Mr. Harris's character development is not always the greatest, except perhaps in the case of the hero Attilius, whose admiration and love for Rome's marvels of aqueduct engineering seem to be a reflection of the author's awe. A secondary love story is fortunately kept low-key. The real star of the book is, of course, the simmering and sinister Mount Vesuvius, ever looming over the unsuspecting souls of the seaside town, and Mr. Harris's handling of this scary work of nature is just fine. The final description of the eruption and the city's burial is stunning.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 22, 2004

    A Contribution to Literature - a brillant work!

    This book is a cut over the typical fiction books, written by a writer who is truly gifted. The book takes the reader into the everyday life of ancient Rome to sensational detail. The protagonist of the novel, Marcus Attilius (Aquarius of the Aqua Augusta), is an engineer of the Aqua Augusta aqueduct, forms a most interesting character. Harris builds the character Attilius as being an engineer, a profession taken for granted by the ancient Romans just like today¿s society takes engineering for granted. The aqueduct works and renders water and no one notices until it stops. Then people notice engineers by pointing their fingers at them to fix what they take is natural occurrence, forgetting the knowledge and experience to create and make these devices work. Harris builds his character on page 24 by writing, ¿¿he [Attilius] had been taught to live according to the Stoic school: to waste no time on nonsense, to do one¿s job without whining, to be the same in all circumstances ¿ intense pain, bereavement, illness ¿ and to keep one¿s lifestyle simple: the camp-bed and the cloak.¿ Harris brilliantly writes on page 38, ¿An aqueduct was a work of Man, but it obeyed the laws of Nature.¿ The engineer builds it knowing the laws of nature. The antagonist of the story, the sadistic, cruel and evil Ampliatus, the former slave, had one of his slaves eaten by the eels in a most barbaric and cruel death, because of his prized red mullets died in the water. Attilius proved him wrong about the slave when he discovered sulfur in the water, on page 35, ¿There¿s sulfur in the matrix and red mullet abominate all impurities. `That ¿` he emphasized the word-`is what killed your precious fish¿¿. Ampliatus wrongfully put a man to death in the cruelest manner and just laughed when he was proven wrong. Ampliatus¿ daughter, Corelia, brought Attilius to the villa where the horrible execution took place. There Attilius met Corelia and fell in love with her. Attilius was surrounded by incompetent characters, Corax, the Overseer. Attilius replaced the phantom Exomnius, the Aquarius who disappeared two weeks prior to his arriving from Rome. Corax hated the younger Attilius, because he was a young ¿upstart¿ from Rome that had only been there two weeks. Corax tried to foil Attilius at every turn, but died by breathing poison gas on top of the volcano while trying to kill Attilius. The supporting character, Pliny, a navy admiral [and historian], was caught up in his own hubris, but found out that he had been shelved by the Roman emperor. Pliny was wise enough to appreciate Attilius skills and knowledge to repair the aqueduct damaged by the earth tremors. The book gravitates around Attilius repairing the aqueduct and searching for his love, Corelia, who was locked in her room after revealing records showing that her father, Ampliatus, was involved in corruption. Ampliatus unsuccessfully tried to bribe Attilius and plotted to have him killed. Vesuvius erupted and killed Ampliatus and demolished the town of Pompeii. The reader is left to wonder and speculate about Attilius and Corelia, running off together and taking refuge in the aqueduct when the book ends. Harris creates and unusual, but quite a clever ending. The story is a marvelous creation by Harris. It is a master piece and should be considered as a contribution to literature. On page 215 Harris stereotypes engineers by writing, ¿¿-that didn¿t sound like the voice of an engineer. It was too literary, not at all the sort of phrases that would come naturally to a man like Exomnius [an engineer]¿. Harris doesn¿t mention the obvious, the corollary ¿ something scientific cannot be described accurately in a literary style, blurring the facts with flowery language, which would get any engineer fired. The book is one of the best novels I have ever read; but, what would I know, I¿m just an engineer.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 18, 2003

    It interrupted my life...

    I simply couldn't put the book down. I searched desperately for blocks of time to steal away and read more. Filled with well-researched historical elements, multiple story-lines and building all the while to a vivid crescendo, this book is well worth jacket-price (which is what I paid because the NPR review I heard made it sound so good, I couldn't wait to read it and thus bought it off-the-shelf). My only disappointment is that it isn't another 274-pages longer.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 24, 2003

    Pompeii Not Pompous

    Harris' capture of the 79 AD eruption of Vesuvius manages to be scientific, historical, imaginative, educational without one little sulfuric whiff of pomposity. Puts you there! A real scroll turner. One of the few times I have ever read a book through in a day. Get it and read it. And urge Mr. Harris to do a few more antiquity novels.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 25, 2003

    Pompeii - laid waste by a power greater than Rome's!

    Even though we are all familiar with the fate of Pompeii - and the unbridled power of her sleeping neighbour, Vesuvius, Robert Harris creates a compelling suspense from the outset, which makes the book difficult to put down! The youthful, almost frenetic determination of the Aqua Augusta's aquarius, Attilius, to do his duty by Rome and its Emperor - to keep the public waters flowing - contrasts nicely with the desultory and academic observations of the ageing admiral Pliny ! There is, too , that starkness between the decadence of the all-powerful Roman aristocracy and the whore-houses they frequent - and between the insincerity of their lives and that of a man borne along by his humble destiny. The book also sets the mind wondering whether we in the 21st century have made much spiritual progress! The sophistication of Roman technology is to be marvelled at; even the modern engineer would be hard pressed to emulate those achievements! But Robert Harris' incisive observations illustrate that we have yet to progress morally, these 2000 years later! In all it is a fine book which transports the reader nimbly and inexorably to the once green slopes of Vesuvius, the dusty streets of Pompeii - and the swift and terrifying demise of its inhabitants!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 20, 2011

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 27, 2011

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 9, 2011

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 10, 2010

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