Pompeii: City on Fire

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Overview

Pompeii, a city that's many things to many people. For Cato, it's the perfect escape from a failed political career in Rome. A place to start again, become a winemaker. But when a corrupt politician wrongfully jails Cato's sister, he must oust the man from power to save her. 

For Ariella, Pompeii is a means to an end. As a young Jew, she escaped the fall of Jerusalem only to endure slavery to a cruel Roman general. She ends up in Pompeii, disguised as a young man and sold ...

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Overview

Pompeii, a city that's many things to many people. For Cato, it's the perfect escape from a failed political career in Rome. A place to start again, become a winemaker. But when a corrupt politician wrongfully jails Cato's sister, he must oust the man from power to save her. 

For Ariella, Pompeii is a means to an end. As a young Jew, she escaped the fall of Jerusalem only to endure slavery to a cruel Roman general. She ends up in Pompeii, disguised as a young man and sold into a gladiator troupe. Her anger fuels her to fight well, hoping to win the arena crowds and reveal her gender at the perfect time. Perhaps then she will win true freedom. 

But evil creeps through the streets of Pompeii. Political corruption, religious persecution, and family peril threaten to destroy Ariella and Cato, who are thrown together in the battle to survive. As Vesuvius churns with deadly intent, the two must bridge their differences to save the lives of those they love, before the fiery ash buries Pompeii, leaving the city lost to the world.

Endorsements:

"I love T. L. Higley's stories set in the ancient world. Pompeii has a mystique all its own, and Higley brings it to rich life, from glory to destruction, while bringing her well-drawn characters through disaster to salvation."

DeAnna Julie Dodson, author of In Honor Bound 

"T.L. Higley brings Pompeii to life again in this exhilarating tale of love and adventure. The story was so enthralling to me-I want to read it again!"

Elizabeth Goddard, author of The Camera Never Lies

"A glorious storytelling of the plight of early Christianity. Higley's meticulous research enhances readers' understanding of the daring lives of the first Christians."

RT Book Reviews (Top Pick)

"This follow-up to Petra is sure to please readers who enjoyed the history, adventure, and suspense of that first novel, as well as fans of Bodie Thoene's historical fiction."

Library Journal (starred review)

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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
Corruption and persecution are the norm in the Roman city of Pompeii. Cato has come to the city after fleeing a ruined political career in Rome in the hopes of settling down as a winemaker. Ariella has come in disguise as a male gladiator. A young Jew who escaped the fall of Jerusalem, she hopes her wins in the arena will help her claim her freedom and prove her worth as a woman. Though both protagonists have hopes of a better future, they face a great challenge from Maius, a city magistrate with evil intentions. VERDICT This follow-up to Petra is sure to please readers who enjoyed the history, adventure, and suspense of that first novel, as well as fans of Bodie Thoene's historical fiction.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781433668579
  • Publisher: B&H Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 6/1/2011
  • Edition description: Original
  • Pages: 368
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.40 (h) x 1.10 (d)

Meet the Author


T. L. Higley holds a degree in English literature and has written seven other novels. She lives with her husband and four children near Philadelphia.
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 47 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(22)

4 Star

(17)

3 Star

(5)

2 Star

(2)

1 Star

(1)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 47 Customer Reviews
  • Posted August 8, 2011

    Wow

    Great book

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted August 7, 2011

    The story was great. I finished it in two days

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Posted June 19, 2013

    A very well written historical novel. It was extremely interesti

    A very well written historical novel. It was extremely interesting to read about the early Church and to see Rome portrayed as something other than the perfect society. I enjoy Christian fiction but sometimes feel the story is secondary to the religious aspect. This is definitely not the case with this book.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 6, 2011

    An ok read

    The storyline is intriguing and I had big expectations since I have always been interested in Pompei but the story dragged. It would have been better if there were less lengthy descriptions.

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  • Posted October 12, 2011

    WONDERFUL

    I wanted to read "Pompeii: City On Fire" before doing my interview with Tracy. I knew her books were Christian fiction and I honestly expected "Pompeii" to be more religious and in your face about God, but it wasn't. This book was completely different from anything I've read before. History, politics, action, suspense, religion and plenty of heart are all combined to create an amazing story. I've never been a fan of reading anything political but Tracy has written those aspects in a way that flow seamlessly within the story. The history of Pompeii comes alive and I could see the places described so clearly. I really got caught up in the book once the main characters Ariella and Cato crossed paths. I loved how these two very different characters could not be more perfect for one another. Their shared dreams of freedom and beliefs bring them together despite their many other differences. I also loved how Tracy's writing and storytelling gave me a connection to the secondary characters. I became interested in Portia and Lucius' lives and felt for Jeremiah and his family. The only thing that threw me was when the story was being told from the perspective of Mount Vesuvius. Once I understood the concept I had no problem at all. I give "Pompeii: City On Fire" 5/5 stars. I definitely recommend reading this book. Even if you're not a fan of Christian fiction it will be well worth checking out.

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  • Posted September 23, 2011

    OK LL

    After reading the foregoing stellarr reviews, I feel, again, like the odd man out. This author has talent enough to have made this a fantastic book. Christianity was young. The Jews were displaced. Hedonism was overtly practiced. The destructiion of Pompeii was and is overwhelming. With such ripe subject matter, this book should have been better. That is just one person's opinion.

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  • Posted September 18, 2011

    Excellent Read

    Great summer read

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 11, 2011

    Good book

    I have visited Pompeii so it was fun to have the picture in my head of some of the area.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted August 26, 2011

    I enjoyed very much this book.

    Well written, great depiction of the time, and personages. Will look for more work from the author.

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  • Posted August 22, 2011

    This book was amazing!!!! My favorite book!!!

    The author takes u straight to pompeii making it jump off the pages and come alive as though u are really there!!! Her vivid descriptions and unique characters make this a great read for children and adults alike!!! I finished this book in three days!!! I wish i could give it one hundred stars!! I read alot of books and this was by far the best book ive ever read!! Everyone needs to read this book!!!

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  • Posted August 15, 2011

    Great Historical Novel

    I was pleasantly surprised at how much I enjoyed this book. The author has obviously done her research, she really has the feel for Pompeii. I've been in the Villa of Mysteries, one of the scenes in her book, she got it right! She weaves ancient Roman times and early Christianity in a way that is most appealing. Cato's character seemed really conflicted, as did Ariella (the two main folks in the book.) That made it interesting. The sex is implied, the debauchery is well-portrayed but not over the top. I'd recommend this book to history lovers, and those interested in Ancient Rome and early Christianity.

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  • Posted June 8, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Brilliant Writing! Almost a 3D Experience

    I'd never read anything by T.L. Higley or about Pompeii before, so I was thrilled to receive a review copy of such a compelling and fascinating story. The author quickly thrusts the reader into the streets of Pompii and introduces Ariella, a young Jewish girl running for her life.

    I'm not a history buff by any means but I found myself captivated by a time in history where providing for your daily needs was a challenge, where people were bought and sold and women were men's playthings or worse. It was a time when Roman society had become so numb to the special things in life. They could only feel the excitement of killing and the thrill of sex (not love my any means- for themselves or each other). Even their common criminals were sentenced to the arena simply to fill the demand for the sight of blood, and death! The crowd demanded more cruelty! More novelty- nothing satisfied them.

    T.L. Highley takes the reader to June A.D. 79 here a gladiator troupe tries to provide entertainment in the arena. Ariella had a secret that was getting harder and harder to hide from the gladiators. Quinto Portius Cato just moved to Pompeii fleeing Rome and his political misfortune. All he wanted to do was grow a vineyard and sell the best wine in the land.

    The people in Pompeii had other plans for Cato once they heard of his political experience. They wanted him to run against Maius, ruler of the land, in the next election. Maius was a corrupted political leader who controlled the town and its people. People in Pompeii wanted their freedom and felt Cato could give that to them.

    Cato didn't want any part of their plans until Maius went after him and his family and then it became personal. Soon it became an intense chess match between the two political candidates! Each set on winning the game. It sure wasn't pretty.

    Quinto Portius Cato marveled at Christians and their willingness to die for what they believed in. Cato ached for something so powerful, so important, something to live for - he felt empty!"

    Ariella was a fighter too in more ways than one. She had fled Varerius in Jerusalem August 9th AD 70. She'd watched her family killed before her very eyes. She'd found a way of escape being a slave, there was no way she'd go back to that kind of life, not if she could help it. When Ariella got to Pompeii, evil crawled in the shadows and in the streets. She saw the political corruption, religious persecution and she wanted no part of it. She met a Christian man named Jeremiah, who told her, "Do not let them conquer your spirit child. The evil one toils to keep these people oppressed, obsessed with violence and lust. Do not let them pull you into the gutter - Evil has a way of multiplying! Watch out!" Ariella listened to this timely message.

    T.L. Higley thrusts the reader back in time and has them experience fighting in the arena and how Gladiators train! I was awestruck and mesmerized by the horrific things that happened for entertainment purposes only. The author wrote scenes so vibrantly it seemed like a 3-D movie - with the action and drama seemingly leaping off the page. I felt as If I was there. It was amazing and horrendous all at the same time. I found myself holding my breath as I read about the fights and awaited the outcome. If I wasn't reading I would have put my hand over my eyes!

    The author wrote about the arena from the gladiators' point of view and all they were thinking, feeling and seeing! Then she would in the next sce

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  • Posted June 3, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    A most unforgetable and hard to put down novel!

    Journey to the ancient city of Pompeii and witness corruption and evil firsthand brought to life through the eyes of a most gifted author! Stroll through lucious grape orchards thriving in the black soil made rich by the Vesuvius, walk into courtyards and gaze at frescos that illuminate the walls, witness and cheer great battles in the arena without ever leaving your chair! Thrilling and page turning along with excellent character development make this book unforgetable and a must read for the summer. Follow the lives of Cato and Ariella as they battle against the forces that threaten to destroy them and the ones they hold most dear. I highly recommend this book and perhaps you will find that you will not be able to put it down either.

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  • Posted June 2, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Old World History at its best

    I have loved every book by T.L. Higley that I have read and that is most of her books. Pompeii just adds to the stack of keepers on my bookshelf by T.L. In fact this year we will be studying Old World History for our homeschool and I plan on making T.L's books (including this one) required reading for my high schooler. Excellent characters, edge of your seat plot lines and history brought to life are all brought together in a fantastic story that I couldn't put down. T.L.'s grasp of history and it's details are incredible and I eagerly anticipate every book she releases!

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  • Posted June 1, 2011

    Pompeii: 79 AD

    Pompeii: a Roman city in Italy, lying south of Mt. Vesuvius. T. L. Higley's novel, Pompeii: City on Fire, starts with the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 AD, with sixteen-year-old Arielle (Ari) becoming a slave to a Roman general. Her family had been slaughtered by the Romans, with the exception of her brother, Micah, whom she loses track of. She escapes by disguising herself as a young male gladiator, and ends up in Pompeii, hoping to finally find her freedom.

    Pompeii was also the place that Portius Cato ("Cato"), also known as Quintus, moved to make his fortune in wine-making. When Gnaeus Nigidius Maius, Pompeii's corrupt city leader, has Cato's sister falsely imprisoned, it becomes his goal to oust Nigidius. This sets the stage for the differing factions in the city who either back Cato or Nigidius, who uses threats, destruction, and imprisonment to win the race.

    Evil, through the worship of Roman gods and cultic rituals, along with political corruption, religious persecution and personal family threats abound, intent on destroying Cato and his family, as well as Arielle in the process.

    For my first read of a Tracy Higley book, I found Pompeii: City on Fire, to be thorough, descriptive, and historically interesting, being based on Roman life and their devastating cruelties. Tracy creatively describes the political and religious circumstances with fast, ever-changing chain of events. Her characters are described distinctively, down to their little idiosyncrasies.

    You will find mystery, deception, pride, romance, hatred, faith, and evil all mixed into one very interesting book. You will be aghast by the rituals of the cults, idol worship and gladiator battles, but encouraged by the believers of Messiah.

    What I thought was superbly unique to the story line, is the voice of Mt. Vesuvius. The mountain seemed alive, with emotions ripe with the feelings of revenge on the self-centered citizens of Pompeii, who gave her little gratitude, if any, for all she gave them.

    Ironically, this volcanic eruption occurs the day after Vulcanalia, the festival of the Roman god of fire. Yet when the people cried out for mercy from this god, it was silent. It could not hear, speak or rescue, unlike the one true Hebrew God and His Messiah.

    This is a fabulous book for anyone, but especially historical buffs. It would be a great book to read before or after watching the movie, The Last Days of Pompeii.

    To view recipes, folklore, travel journals, and videos from Tracy, go here.

    Special thanks to T.L. Higley for sending me a review copy in exchange for my honest review.

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  • Posted May 29, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Historical gem, a must read!

    T.L. Higley has done it again, and her newest novel titled Pompeii: City on Fire was an absolute thrill to read from start to finish. Ariella is a young Jewish girl who escapes slavery in the house of a very evil man by disguising herself as a young man in a gladiator troupe. She has a plan to win the arena crowds and finally reveal her gender. Maybe her plan will finally give her the freedom that she desperately seeks. Cato moves to Pompeii from Rome, with a failed political career left behind. He starts up a new family business of wine making, and runs into horrible opposition from the corrupt man currently in political power in Pompeii. Ariella and Cato both become involved with a small group of Christians living in Pompeii, and they soon find their very survival dependent on help from their new friends. Action packed from start to finish, this story is filled with political corruption, religious persecution, devastated families, and natural disaster. Extensive research by the author makes this book a true historical gem.

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  • Posted May 23, 2011

    A Heartbreaking and Heart-pounding Read!

    Like Vesuvius, this book is powerful and should not be underestimated! The tension builds steadily, with short sections from the volcano's point of view that remind the reader that below the surface of political upheaval and emotional drama stirs a dangerous depth that will drastically shift priorities once it explodes upon the scene. When that explosion happens, everything changes. Until then, different sorts of danger fill the pages--from an evil politician bent on continuing his unjust reign, to fears of inadequacy and failure, to intense gladiator fights. There's a lot to take in as a reader, and some of the events (both past and present) are heartbreaking and disturbing to read about. But through it all is an underlying message of hope and security through the Messiah even in the midst of all the evil and suffering of this life. The glimpses of community, acceptance, and love are very sweet indeed. The love story between Cato and Ariella is also quite an interesting one! I can't help but compare Ariella (Ari) to the Disney character of Mulan. Escaping from a horrible life satisfying the lust of a perverse man, Ari disguises herself as a man and joins a group of gladiators. She is a fighter through and through, and her spirit and perseverance catch the eye of Cato, who is a prominent, albeit new, citizen of Pompeii with a heart for those under oppression. Their journey is a difficult but necessary one that ultimately demonstrates where real, lasting strength and stamina come from: the Lord. And no section shows that truth more than the last part of the book, when Vesuvius finally fulfills her role. I admit to being rather fearful of volcanoes, especially since I saw the movie Dante's Peak when I was in middle school. Well, I made it through the conclusion of this book, and it is both gripping and moving! As I read it in the early morning hours, I ended up shedding a few tears. Pompeii: City on Fire is not a light-hearted read, nor is it an easy one, but it is a powerful one that attests to God's control in all things and the beauty of faith amidst the darkest storm. *With thanks to the author for providing me with an Advanced Reader Edition of the book in exchange for my honest opinion.* Note: Since this was an Advanced Reader Edition, some changes might have been made to the final edition which would not be taken into consideration in this review.

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  • Posted May 20, 2011

    must read book!!!

    OMG!!!! this book will grab ur attention by the first page. its about two main characters. one a jewish slave and the other a rich roman runing for mayor of pompeii. he meets ari a young glatiator ans the story really begins there.the book takes place in ancent rome. it switches points of veiw sevral times and it gives the volcano that destoryed pompeii a voice.the data is 79 A.D. all in all if you like romance,history, politics, study of religon, and action this book is for you.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 31, 2013

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted September 28, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 47 Customer Reviews

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