I was curious how Robert Harris would write a novel about the day Mt. Vesuvius erupted and buried the city of Pompeii. Could he make it interesting? How would he go about it?
I’m a sucker for apocalyptic movies. I discovered within the first few pages that Harris used a couple of tried a true methods that are used in those movies. First, we all know what’s going to happen, so he starts with a countdown, beginning two days before the eruption. Next, each chapter is prefaced with an interesting fact about volcanoes and the havoc they wreak. Many of these facts are physical clues that serve as early warnings of the horror that is about to happen.
In this book, almost immediately all the valuable fish in a holding pond mysteriously die. This sets off an investigation by a young engineer in charge of the aqueducts, Marcus Attilus Primus. Clue after clue, Attilus eventually discovers the terrible truth, but is he too late to save himself and the girl he loves? You’ll have to read the book to find out. It’s a fun read. Trust me, you’ll enjoy it!
4 stars (out of 5)
Published in 2005
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