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3.77  ·  Rating Details  ·  22,895 Ratings  ·  1,567 Reviews
»Ein Roman zum Verschlingen.«

»Das Buch tut alles, was ein literarisches Werk für das große Publikum in den Zeiten der Bildungskrise tun muss: Es belehrt und unterhält.«
Süddeutsche Zeitung

»Wieder einmal knüpft Robert Harris ein faszinierend dichtes Gewebe aus Fiktion und penibel recherchierter Geschichte.«
HörZu -- Dieser Text bezieht sich auf eine andere Ausga
Paperback, 379 pages
Published January 2004 by Heyne (first published November 21st 2003)
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Lance Greenfield
This is the story of a latter day Super Mario, an Italian plumber who overcomes very difficult challenges to fix the water supply to Napoli and surrounding areas before the local volcano erupts to ruin everything for everybody.

OK, I admit that I am grossly trivialising a tremendous story, which is really about Marcus Attilius Primus, the aquarius, or chief water engineer, who is sent to the Bay of Naples to manage the water supply to all of the towns in the area. The main artery of the supply i
Geology meets Volcanology meets All Round Mr Nice Guy.
Having read Imperium by Robert Harris few short months ago I found that I quite enjoyed his uncomplicated writing style. I in no way mean unsophisticated or simplistic, for he is an author who can comfortably shoulder the mantle of an old fashioned storyteller.
Many authors try to be story tellers, but they over write or have not the skill and under write, or get caught up in too many tangents, thinking that everything they do has to be with
Neil Pierson
It should be a Two-For-One: A suspense novel to take to the beach; and some insight into life in the Roman Empire and the eruption of Mt. Vesuvius. (And maybe a small tutorial in primitive plumbing.) Unfortunately, it turns into an 0-For-One.

The plot is serviceable. Marcus Attilius Primus is an engineer newly in charge of the section of aqueduct that services Pompeii. He investigates the mysterious failure of the water supply and along the way, discovers that his predecessor was corrupt. He fall
One knows the end…then you start to read the beginning…. It’s rather challenging to craft a gripping novel based on a catastrophic historical and geological event – the eruption of Mt. Vesuvius in 79 A.D., – but amazingly Robert Harris does just that. Attilius is the aquarius – the water engineer, as his father and grandfather had been before him, for the region surrounding the Bay of Naples, including the thriving city of Pompeii. A straight-up, earnest young man, his moral compass is steadfast ...more
After a day in Pompeii -- my mother claims I walked through every single house: not true, some are inaccessible -- I heard people on the platform of the Circumvesuviana local train talking about this book. I was being fussy about everything else I was reading, so I grabbed this on the Kindle store and kicked back with it (once we eventually got back to Rome, anyway; I read The Map of Time on the Eurostar).

It's a quick read, and reasonably accurate to the interpretations of what happened in Pompe
Lisa Vegan
3 stars

I have wanted to read this book for a decade

I’ve loved science, and particularly geology, from a very early age, and chose a science class in 5th grade that focused on volcanoes, so my interest is long standing.

I think a non-fiction book about this eruption, if it contained all the known information and conjectures, might have been an even better choice for me.

I got used the fictional story and it did provide a fairly good backdrop for the setting and happenings in that time and place.
Aug 26, 2008 Bruce rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Think you have pressure at work? Consider Marcus Attilius Primus. He just received an important promotion from Rome. The young engineer is now the Aquarius, in charge of the immense aqueduct serving the entire bay of Naples. His predecessor has mysteriously disappeared. His workers are surly. The water supply is interrupted. And then he gets on the wrong side of one of the richest men around, a cruel former slave, the behind-the-scenes political boss of Pompeii. Of course, he does have a very be ...more
I recently read classicist Mary Beard's fascinating non-fiction book on Pompeii. This novel by Robert Harris is in many ways a nice complement to that, especially since it is narrated by a Roman engineer responsible for the aqueduct that supplied water to the coastal towns on the Bay of Naples, Pompeii among them. We think of the Romans as conquerors, of building a civilization based upon conquest. But Roman engineering was as much, if not more, of a driving force, and the Romans' ability to har ...more
Aug 25, 2015 Cherie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

In a little over seven hours, one thousand, nine hundred and thirty-six years ago Mt. Vesuvius will have finished the eruption that created the tourist attractions that we know today as Pompeii and Herculaneum.

Having experienced the eruption of Mt. St. Hellen in 1980, and know first hand what the ash fall was like, as a resident in Portland, Oregon, the time sequence and statistics of the volcanic events were fascinating!

The story of the Aquarius, Attilius and the Roman water syste
Sam Quixote
The waters have stopped flowing from the aquedect - who you gonna call? Dambusters! The water engineer heads out amid widespread corruption in Pompeii, thwarts a murder plot, finds out what happened to his predecessor, falls in love, and investigates the ominous rumbling from the nearby Vesuvius.

Sounds good no? Harris is good at building up the air of menace in the days preceding the eruption. Every action can be looked at as minor compared to the devastation coming and he really does a great j
Jan 07, 2008 Rosianna rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Rosianna by: Mr Lapish
Absolutely fantastic, and entirely unputdownable. At first you're unsure what kind of route Harris is going to take on Vesuvius' eruption as it opens with talk of aqueducts and engineers, but in the space of a few hundred pages, he recreates the bay of Naples vividly and realistically, so you really do feel get an idea of the timescale and the emotions, all built in to this great read.
Feb 07, 2015 Catherine rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Harris has given us a wonderful version of what it would have been like to go through the eruption of Vesuvius. His main character is an engineer, a water engineer. The engineer is an unassuming character dedicated to his work. We experience the eruption through the eyes of this engineer and because of this point of view, the story takes on more meaning and immediacy.

It is this point of view that really makes the story for me. It's obvious that Harris has done his research. As I read the novel I
I'm not that much into historical novels, there are only some exceptions. For example I hugely enjoyed Rutherfurds "London". I also like to read about real historical events sometimes, that's why I picked up Pompeii. Very fascinating how much power nature has. Just imagine a fountain of rock and ashes that is shot into the sky and several miles high!!!!

The (for the most part) fictional story is interesting, imaginable und enthralling to some extend. It's also informative. And of course I had to
Ever since I did an essay on Pompeii last year for uni and enjoyed a YA novel called Curses and Smoke, I've been wanting to read more novels about Pompeii. I thought this would be a great one and maybe it is, but I just don't care for it. If anything, it was sending me to sleep. Oh well! I only paid a few dollars for my copy. Maybe I'll read on another time...
Asghar Abbas
Mar 31, 2016 Asghar Abbas rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

I fell in love with how he fell in love with her. How he went back for her, despite everything was ending, despite all the endings.

Jan 31, 2015 Linda rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
An excellent read! This seasoned author displayed excellent writing mechanics The read was smooth and clear. I was most surprised that I could understand the water duct system which Attilius, the engineer, repaired even as Vesuvius was showing signs of volcanic activity. The volcano seemed to catch the citizens of Pompeii and other bay cities unaware., which is hard for me to understand. In every account I have read about the 79 A.D. eruption, the extreme heat has been noted. Whether that extrem ...more
Dec 10, 2008 Reinhold rated it it was amazing
Natürlich geht es bei Pompeji letztlich um den wohl bekanntesten Vulkanausbruch der Menschheitsgeschichte, bei dem der Vesuv im Jahr 79 n. Chr. ebendiese Stadt vollkommen unter Asche und Lava begrub. Dennoch geht Harris einen sehr interessanten Weg und lässt eine Handlung entstehen, in der zunächst der Ausbruch des Vulkans nur in Vorzeichen angedeutet wird. Die meiste Energie geht stattdessen in die Erzählung über einen Aquarius (den Bauer und Pfleger von Aquädukten), der sich darum kümmern soll ...more
A tremendous book, one of my reads of the year (a difficult thing, considering how many good books I've encountered recently) and one of the finest historicals I've ever read. Harris turns out to be an eminently readable author who has a way of making dry facts and figures interesting, as the text is interspersed with engaging descriptions that do nothing to slow the breakneck narrative down.

The reason that POMPEII is such a good read is that it works without the volcanic eruption - take out Ves
[Name Redacted]
My girlfriend's drunken "aunt" insisted I read this book, and apparently she has good taste. It's an interesting mix of pulp, disaster, apocalyptic and historical fiction. The writing is clear, the pacing brisk and the characters are immediately identifiable as separate individuals despite their unwieldy name-chains. The excerpts from modern scientific discourses on vulcanology which open each chapter, coupled with the quotations from classical authors in the body of the text, help ground the na ...more
I gave this book 4 stars because the protagonist (Marcus Attilius Primus) and I share the same profession - that of being a civil engineer. I was fascinated by the Aqua Augusta, the aqueduct that brought fresh water to people in nine towns around the Bay of Naples including Pompeii.

True, we all at least know what happened in Pompeii due to the eruption of Mount Vesuvius. So at first I was a bit unsure about reading this fictionalized account of one of the most infamous cataclysms in human histor
May 17, 2007 Lily rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: People interested in history
I read this book after doing the archaeological excavation at Pompeii and found it to be very realistic in it's portrayal of life in the city before the eruption of Mt. Vesuvius in 79 AD. This book is centered around a geologist and hydraulic engineer that are researching they mystery of why the water in Pompeii isn't flowing like it should. I would definitely recommend this book for anyone that has visited the ruins of Pompeii or the Roman Empire or is interested in the day to day life of peopl ...more
Overall 3.5 stars...4 stars for the story, but it fell short in character development for me. Not much depth to set the characters in this tale apart from those in any other novel about the time period: an overbearing father, a defiant daughter, a submissive wife, etc. Having previously read Harris's Imperium and Conspirata I was expecting Pompeii to be more on par with those works, but it wasn't quite there. Still, it was an enjoyable read.
Jan 06, 2016 Josephine rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favourites
I have read this book three times and it remains one of my all time favourites. It is not just a really well written story about the people, social structure and how life was lived in a Roman town in AD79, it is so much more. Of course we get to know Marcus Attilius and the other characters well as they are so clearly painted. but this book is also a manual on how to build a massive aqueduct that was a marvel at the time and still is an impressive piece of engineering to this day. The third poin ...more
Ron Charles
Jan 02, 2014 Ron Charles rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
One cataclysmic disaster can ruin your whole day, but at least it has the advantage of surprise. That's more than can usually be said for stories about cataclysmic disasters, which lumber toward their climax like some bore telling a multipart joke you've already heard. Who honestly didn't feel the urge to push a few heads under water to speed up James Cameron's interminable "Titanic"? We endure documentaries about German aerodynamics because we want to see the Hindenburg in flames. "Oh, the bana ...more
Feb 24, 2008 Imogen rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: People with a vague interest in Roman history
Recommended to Imogen by: My Chemistry Teacher
I really liked the begining of this book and read half of it in one day hiding just below my desk at school. The opening isn't quite what you expect from a novel about a volcano but gave a really interesting insite in to life t the time as well as the worings of the rather genius roman aqueducts which i really didn't know much about. But a day later I found myself picking up a different book (never a good thing, I'm aweful at finishing one book before starting another). Pompeii just got left to ...more
Jun 01, 2011 Fahad rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, favorites

كيف تكتب عن كارثة؟ هذا هو السؤال الذي سيجابه أي كاتب روائي يحاول نزع الصفة الإخبارية عن كارثة ما، وإبراز الوجه الإنساني منها، مشكلة هذا النوع من الكتابة هو أن الكوارث ضخمة، معقدة في أسبابها وأحداثها وآثارها، ومتضمنة في داخلها الكثير من البشر، فلذا يلجأ الكتاب إلى الحيلة إياها، أي التركيز على وجوه من وجوه الكارثة، وجعله الصورة الكبيرة، أو الرمز للكارثة، وتعريف القارئ على عدد محدود من الشخصيات التي ستتعرض أو ستتأثر بهذه الكارثة، وعادة يتعرف بهم القارئ قبل حدوث الكارثة حتى يمكن له أن يبنى معه
A sort of novelized amalgamation of some of Pliny the Younger's letters with a bit of Frontinus' "Aqueducts" and parts of Vitruvius thrown in. This book tells the story of the last days of Pompeii (as did another book entitled appropriately enough "The Last Days of Pompeii" by Edward Bulwer-Lytton).

In his take Harris paints the well known volcanic events as a sort of mystery that must be solved by a young aquarius (aqueduct engineer) named Attilius. Attilius must not only figure out what's goin
In 79 AD, a new Aquarius is appointed to the area around Pompeii.

There has been a water shortage in the cities around Pompeii and Marcus Attilius Primus is sent to find the problem and correct it.

Attilius begins to investigate a possible fault in the aqueduct while certain officials try to stop him becuase they fear he will learn that they have manipulated the water for their own profit.

There is excellent drama as the action begins two days before Veseuveus errupts. Attilius investigates the pr
Dec 19, 2008 melydia rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: fans of historical fiction
I'm not usually much for historical fiction, but I thoroughly enjoyed this one. It is the well-known story of the eruption of Mount Vesuvius, but told from a slightly different perspective: the engineer of the aqueduct, dealing with a drought, a pipe blockage, and strange smells of sulfur in the water. In addition to the science (which I found fascinating - Roman technology was amazing), there is plenty of personal and political intrigue to keep the plot rolling along. This fun little book made ...more
Aug 13, 2015 Tasha rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: roman
Of course we all have heard of Pompeii and the volcano but this was my first actual read about it. It was a quick paced read, descriptive of some of the amazing innovations of the romans, and a fascinating leadup to the volcanic event. I never really connected with the characters as they felt somewhat flat but I definitely found the natural events pretty gripping. The lead up to the volcanic eruption was done well as was the actual event itself. Scary and unimaginable. Not sure what I think of h ...more
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ROBERT HARRIS is the author of nine best-selling novels: Fatherland, Enigma, Archangel, Pompeii, Imperium, The Ghost Writer, Conspirata, The Fear Index, and An Officer and a Spy. Several of his books have been adapted to film, most recently The Ghost Writer, directed by Roman Polanski. His work has been translated into thirty-seven languages. He lives in the village of Kintbury, England, with his ...more
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