The real protogonist of this book is Vesuvius, and the description of the eruption is the most interesting part of the novel. But the human characters and the very predictable boy-meets-girl plot let it down. The best (human) character was Pliny the Elder, a real historical figure, who is well depicted. But the protagonist and the object of his affections, Corellia, are just stick figures. [Aside - how does one know how to spell the names of characters and places in audio books?]
The narrator is excellent - it's easy to keep track of the characters thanks to his skill with multiple voices.
Harris is a great writer, but -- and I realize I'm going to sound prudish here -- there's some junk in there I could have done without. It's almost like he had an f-word count requirement he had to meet, forcing him to have characters say things like "you and your [eff-ing] mother" when the protagonist asked if he were strong enough to pull him out of a pit. (Wouldn't a simple "you and your mother" have worked fine?) There's also a lot of locker room talk about male (and some female) anatomy and awkwardly placed homoerotic episodes that I suppose are in there to further establish the debauchery of the "bad guys" in the story.
None of this was needed to further the plot, in my opinion, and even seemed to interrupt the flow -- "we interrupt this story to briefly talk about erections again". Harris is a good enough writer to not need to fall back on the cheap titillation and shock value that seem to be all the rage these days.
It would have been a great book without it.
I loved Harris' trilogy about Cicero and was excited to think this might be more of the same. Alas, that was not the case. What it lacked in political intrigue was somewhat made up for in the sheer scale of the disaster. The results of the eruption are well known but the details were very interesting and seemed well researched. Narration very well done.
When I finished listening to this book in the car, I started again with my ipod at home. The descriptions of the eruption was so detailed I felt like I could see it. On a vacation in Italy a few years ago I visited Pompeii and walked around the crater. This book brought back the experience.
I was moved by the descriptions of the people of Pompeii looking for their relatives. You felt like you were there with them.
Loved John Lee's narration!
How real the ancient characters become.
The Aquarius, the engineer in charge of the water supply and Aquaduct.
Listing on the fly
A good murder mystery ,love story ,thriller all rolled up in one
The Aquarian made you care for him and his love intress
When he finally arrives in the end
It's sad how so many people died in the eruption
50 year old woman, financial executive, interested in science, human behaviour and history in laymen terms & always enjoy good fiction.
No, the narration was not pleasing and dragged the overall effect down for me
I, Claudius was a favorite I could easily compare to, with ancient Rome everyday life, political backstage and economic forces being presented in a most lively and catching manner.
Despite focusing on a historical event, the eruption of Mount Vezouvious, the author managed to engage us to take interest in each of the hereos and create suspense regarding their fate. The narration was displeasing, but not to the point that I would not recommend the audiobook.
Again Robert Harris excels at giving you a view of historical events from the perspective of the common man. As in his books on Cicero, we learn what is really like to live in the roman empire. The story itself is interesting enough to keep you reading, but it is the details of day-to-day life in a roman town which makes the book so engrossing. As usual John Lee gives a fantastic narration.
A describsion of all leavels of life - in a roman empire during a vulcanoeruption.
The water specialist.
I like reading what life was like during this time.
The enviornment, beliefs, life of rich romans, technology of the aquaducts.
yes it could be a premium channel mini-series
I have to admit, I didnt finish it. It just took long to get to the big bang.