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Pompeii

A Novel
Narrated by: Michael Cumpsty
Length: 5 hrs and 44 mins
4 out of 5 stars (48 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Ancient Rome is the setting for the superb new novel from Robert Harris, author of the number one best sellers Fatherland, Enigma, and Archangel.

Where else to enjoy the last days of summer than on the beautiful Bay of Naples?

All along the Mediterranean coast, the Roman Empire's richest citizens are relaxing in their luxurious villas. The world’s largest navy lies peacefully at anchor in Misenum. The tourists are spending their money in the seaside resorts of Baiae, Herculaneum, and Pompeii. Only one man is worried. The engineer Marius Primus has just taken charge of the Aqua Augusta, the enormous aqueduct that brings fresh water to a quarter of a million people in nine towns around the Bay. Springs are failing for the first time in generations. His predecessor has disappeared. And now there is a crisis on the Augusta's 60-mile main line - somewhere to the north of Pompeii, on the slopes of Mount Vesuvius.  

Marius - decent, practical, incorruptible - promises Pliny, the famous scholar who commands the navy, that he can repair the aqueduct before the reservoir runs dry. But as he heads out toward Vesuvius, he is about to discover there are forces that even the world’s only superpower can’t control.

Pompeii recreates in spellbinding detail one of the most famous natural disasters of all time. By focusing on the characters of an engineer and a scientist, it offers an entirely original perspective on the Roman world. 

©2003 Robert Harris (P)2003 Random House, Inc., Random House Audio, A Division Of Random House, Inc.

Critic Reviews

"Harris' volcanology is well researched, and the plot...keeps this impressive novel moving along toward its exciting finale." (Publishers Weekly)
"With rich historical details and scientific minutiae, Harris vividly brings to life the ancient world on the brink of unspeakable disaster." (Booklist)
"Brilliantly done. Explosive stuff, indeed." (Daily Telegraph

What members say

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Sebborn
  • Williamstown, Mass, USA
  • 09-24-04

Try it - you'll be glad you did

This book draws you in not only because of the exqusite detail but because of the human drama. You'll find yourself easily able to see the hustle and bustle of a live Pompeii. You'll see the characters as real people and you'll want to know more. You can almost smell the sulphur in the air as the climax builds.

One word of warning - if you listen to this in your car you'll find yourself sitting in parking lots reluctant to leave Pompeii and return to the real world. If you only enjoy it half as much as I did, it will be time well spent.

9 of 9 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Michol
  • OREM, UT, USA
  • 11-03-07

Really liked it

Very good, descriptions made me more curious about the ancient time.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful