The eruption of Italy's Mount Vesuvius in A.D. 79 buried a city and its people, their treasures and secrets. Centuries later, echoes of this disaster resonate with profound consequences in the life of classics professor Sophie Chase.
In the aftermath of a tragic shooting on the University of Texas campus, Sophie seeks sanctuary on the isle of Capri, immersing herself in her latest scholarly project alongside her colleagues, her star pupil, and their benefactor, the compelling yet enigmatic business mogul John Lyros.
Beneath layers of volcanic ash lies the Villa della Notte - the Night Villa - home to first-century nobles, as well as to the captivating slave girl at the heart of an ancient controversy. And secreted in a subterranean labyrinth rests a cache of antique documents believed lost to the ages: a prize too tantalizing for Sophie to resist.
But suspicion, fear, and danger roam the long-untrodden tunnels and chambers beneath the once sumptuous estate - especially after Sophie sees the face of her former lover in the darkness, leaving her to wonder if she is chasing shadows or succumbing to the siren song of the Night Villa. Whatever shocking events transpired in the face of Vesuvius's fury have led to deeper, darker machinations that inexorably draw Sophie into their vortex, rich in stunning revelations and laden with unseen menace.
©2008 Carol Goodman; (P)2008 Macmillan Audio
"Goodman deftly mixes cultural and religious history, geography, myth, personal memory, dream and even portent without sacrificing narrative drive, against the beautiful backdrop of the locale with its echoes of unimaginable loss." (Publishers Weekly)
"The pleasure of a Carol Goodman novel is in her enviable command of the classical canon - and the deft way she [writes] a book that's light enough for a weekend on the beach but literary enough for a weekend in the Hamptons." (Chicago Tribune)
I love historical fiction and was hopeful that this would introduce me to a period of ancient history. The history is secondary to an obvious and not too interesting plot. The plot devices are clumsy and the "mystery" very unmysterious. The writing is mediocre, the characters shallow and predictable, and the plot reminded me of "bodice busters" without the good sex scenes. Some of the prose made me wonder if the author was kidding. I can't find my note but I think the line was " . . . her skin was as luminous as an unshucked oyster". Really?! The one star was in praise of anyone who writes a book.
"My new favourite author"
I'm usually a Christie fan, but I like Carol Goodman's writing. This is not one of her best, a bit Dan Brown for my taste, but still worth listening to. I preferred my reading - the accent wasn't so nasal in my head, but it's fairly enjoyable.
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