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City on Fire: A Novel of Pompeii

(Seven Wonders #6)

3.86  ·  Rating details ·  821 ratings  ·  157 reviews
A Jewish slave girl fights for her life in first-century Pompeii on the eve of the city’s destruction.
Wealthy Roman patrician Cato came to the seaside town of Pompeii to build a new business, but hostility and outright corruption threaten his carefully laid plans and ignite his desire for social justice. Meanwhile, Ariella, an escaped Jewish slave girl, comes to town with
Paperback, 400 pages
Published September 24th 2013 by Thomas Nelson (first published May 2nd 2011)
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3.86  · 
Rating details
 ·  821 ratings  ·  157 reviews

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Jul 31, 2013 rated it it was amazing
So, let's be honestly realistic here. It's no secret that the long forgotten city of Pompeii wasn't, well, the most moral of cities (!) In fact, usually whenever the topic is brought up concerning this city, horribly immoral stories are told of the ways of the Pompeian's, complete with descriptions of the utterly depraved practices of the city. So obviously, when first learning of a novel based on the vile city of Pompeii, the first thing to come to mind would be a deep concern for the appropria ...more
Jul 28, 2017 rated it really liked it
This felt more like historical fiction rather then christian fiction right up until the very end. Religion mostly only came up as it related to the history of the period at the time, but then became a little preachy at the end unfortunately. Overall though a detailed and well researched novel about ancient Rome and Pompeii. The romance was rather light, which I didn't mind, I thought it was well done, but I would have liked a little something more at the end at least to make up for it.
Amber Stokes
Mar 01, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Like Vesuvius, this book is powerful and should not be underestimated! The tension builds steadily, with short sections from the volcano's point of view that remind the reader that below the surface of political upheaval and emotional drama stirs a dangerous depth that will drastically shift priorities once it explodes upon the scene. When that explosion happens, everything changes.

Until then, different sorts of danger fill the pages--from an evil politician bent on continuing his unjust reign,
Aug 09, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I met T.L. Higley at a Writers' Conference in the Spring. I attended a seminar she taught on Plot and Structure. She did a tremendous job and packed a lot of information into a little bit of time, and she obviously knew what she was talking about. Pompeii: City on Fire was definitely a Good Read. Whenever I picked it up to read, I didn't want to put it down. It held my attention from start to finish. Her characters were well developed and I loved the two main characters and cared about them righ ...more
Feb 11, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
T.L. Higley’s POMPEII ignites with riveting action and compelling characters. No one unleashes the secrets of history with a masterful hand the way T.L. Higley does! Authentic and powerful, Pompeii is a fiery tale of a city lost to the power of Vesuvius. I simply could not read fast enough!
Tracy Higley is one of my favorite authors so I was very honored and excited to review this book for booksneeze!

I thought it was kind of cool that two of the characters in this book were named “Ari” and “Paris” since I have two daughters named Arie and Paris! I thought it was a funny coincidence (and not at all very important to this review other than I thought it was neat!)

Anyway, loved the book and I can’t wait to read more of Tracy’s work!

Ariella is a young girl who has witnessed the destr
May 05, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The second book I have read by T. L. Higley, and once again I am blown away by her in-depth research and twisting story plots. As soon as I found out that Higley was going to be publishing another book, on Pompeii and Mount Vesuvius, I knew I wanted to read it. Several years ago I was in a production and the story began a few days after the volcano erupted and covered Pompeii and Herculaneum. Before we began focusing on the acting, we did an in-depth study of Pompeii—its people, culture, costume ...more
Trupti Dorge
Aug 28, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: i-own, review-copy
Review Copy

This being the third book I have read by T.L.Higley, I can safely say that this author never disappoints. Pompeii is one of the books in the “Seven wonders of the world” series and no, you don’t have to read the previous books to understand this one because they are completely unrelated.

Pompeii is a small holiday town nestled in the shadow of the mountain Vesuvius. Ariella escapes Jerusalem when the Romans capture the city. For 9 years she works as a slave to Valerius and has to take
Julie Smith (Knitting and Sundries)
This review first appeared on my blog:

In Jerusalem, AD 70, a 16-year-old girl named Ariella witnesses the city's destruction by Roman forces and loses most of her family. Sold as a slave to Valerius, a politician and Bacchanalian in Rome, she is forced to live in humiliation until her escape to a gladiator troupe disguised as a boy. When the troop reaches Pompeii, she is caught out of her disguise by newly-arrived Quintus Cato, a former Roman politician w
Age Appropriate For: 18 and up
Best for Ages: 18 and up

So I normally don’t like stories about women doing men’s work. So I’m not into disaster books or movies. However, Tracy happens to be one of my favorite authors, and I didn’t want to pass up a chance to review one of her books. I jumped at the chance to review City of Fire, previously released under the title Pompeii: City on Fire.

City of Fire is set during the last days of the city of Pompeii. This city has fascinated me and many other histo
Julie Graves
Feb 20, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2011-reads, christian
Ariella was sold into slavery as a young girl to an evil Roman politician. She escapes him by disguising herself as a young boy and joins a gladiator troupe. They arrive in Pompeii to entertain the citizens who’s boredom and debauchery has turned into a demand for more and more bloodshed in the arena’s.

Cato has escaped to Pompeii after his failed political career in Rome. He is determined to live a life of leisure as a winemaker. What he doesn’t count on is the corrupt leadership of one man who
Jun 12, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Ariella has been a slave of Valerius for nine years. When Ariella spots an opportunity to escape, she takes it. Now, she must find a way to stay hidden within the city. Ariella come sup with the idea to become a gladiator. It is highly unlikely that Valerius will ever think to look for Ariella within the gladiator area.

Cato was being encouraged to run in the political election against the evil, Maius. Cato wanted no part in politics. Cato would rather perfect his craft as a wine maker. Though,
Reason for Reading_Won from Goodreads "First Reads"

All in all in was a good read. The history was accurate, the people

interacted well together. I liked the Characters. The first part of the bookleft me a little disinterested. It was almost like watching a movie that you haven't read the book for. It started to get more interesing as Cato and Arilla became more interactive.

Arilla, a female gladiator, and Quintus Cato, a failed Roman Politicion

make an unlikely couple and yet they continuiously
Apr 05, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Vivid writing makes scenes of tragedy and decadence come alive in this unique take on historical fiction surrounding the 79 AD eruption of Vesuvius and its destruction of the surrounding civilizations, most famously, Pompeii. As someone who spent her undergraduate career focusing study on the early Roman Empire, particularly in the Bay of Naples, I found it easy to imagine the sights and sounds based on the author's descriptions. The author's imagination is astounding in her use of real space to ...more
I've been eagerly awaiting Pompeii: City of Fire by T.L. Higley ever since I read Petra: City in Stone last fall. Petra was the first title I'd read by T.L. Higley and I LOVED it! I promptly got copies of all her previous novels and devoured them. She quickly became one of my new favorite fiction writers! So, needless to say I was thrilled when I received an advance copy of Pompeii to review, but frustrated that I couldn't find the time to sit down and read it for a couple of weeks after it got ...more
Kate (The Shelf Life)
Wow! This was the first book that I have read by Tracy Higley and I'm looking forward to reading more by her.

City on Fire takes you all the way back to the time when Jerusalem fell to Rome and the people inside were either slaughtered or taken into captivity. Ariella, is one of the few left alive, after everyone, but her brother is slaughtered. She is shipped off to Rome and for the next 9 years, she is forced to work in the home of a greedy and disgusting individual, who thrives on the most hei
Kaity-Jane Culbertson
I've read Higley's work before, so I was excited to receive Pompeii, City On Fire. As soon as the opportunity presented itself, I snatched it off of my TBR and dove in, eager to meet another set of Higley's well written, endearing characters. While by the time I finished Pompeii I knew for a certainty that Petra still held the #1 spot on my shelf, Pompeii was another wonderful read that I enjoyed completely.

Cato was a very interesting character who was easy to like and become interested in. He
Molly Evangeline
Sep 20, 2013 rated it it was amazing
What first caught my interest in City On Fire was the gladiator storyline. Since I’m drawing a lot of inspiration from ancient Rome and have gladiators in my latest series, I jumped at the chance to read and review this book for both enjoyment and research. I’ve also never read any historical fiction set this far back. What I didn’t expect was just how much I would enjoy it. This is the first I’ve read of any of Tracy L. Higley’s books, and she has a fantastic way of drawing you right into the s ...more
Oct 12, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: biblical-fiction
Ariella, a young Jewish slave girl, escapes from her evil master and joins a troupe of gladiators. Disguised as a young man, Ariella learns that if she wants to live she must fight, and fight hard. " I am invincible," she claims. Angry and bitter, she no longer trusts the God of her youth.
Cato, a Roman politician running from past failures, wants to make a difference for good in Pompeii. But evil men threaten him at every turn. He is drawn to Ariella and desires to rescue her, but everything,
Oct 12, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: reviewed
I wanted to read “Pompeii: City On Fire” before doing my interview with Tracy. I knew her books were Christian fiction and I honestly expected “Pompeii” to be more religious and in your face about God, but it wasn’t. This book was completely different from anything I’ve read before. History, politics, action, suspense, religion and plenty of heart are all combined to create an amazing story. I’ve never been a fan of reading anything political but Tracy has written those aspects in a way that flo ...more
Pompeii, the City on Fire - a title that catches your interest right away. Despite the name, the book mostly deals with the lives of the citizens of the city in the days leading up to the disaster we all know about.

There's lots of different elements in this book - naturally, it's historical fiction, but there are also elements of Christianity (the days when Christians were still killed for their beliefs), mystery, romance, politics, and sports (gladiators). (I feel like this is a Princess Bride
Jul 14, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Ever since I read the Mark of the Lion Trilogy, I have absolutely loved this time period. The first century is absolutely fascinating, with the gladiators and the persecuted church-both of which play a part in this story. I immediately connected with the main characters. The plot is interesting and well-paced. The voice is clear; there are short sections written from the point of view of Mount Vesuvius that are unique and a little creepy! I thoroughly enjoyed following Quintus Cato and Ariella t ...more
Definitely not something I usually pick up to read. But absolutely worth it. Pompeii: City on Fire surprised and thrilled me! A slave woman who chooses the brutal life of a gladiator over being some rich man’s plaything; a well-off young man, intrigued with the determined young woman; and a smoldering volcano, ready to get revenge.

T.L. Higley has such an enchanting way of writing! Pompeii: City on Fire captivated me and left me with a great story to remember. Tragic and tense, it tells the tale
Jun 22, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Just finished this book and am very disappointed in the ending. The action and plot was great, I literally was sneaking into the locker room at work so i could read just a little bit more. I was glued to the book all day and when the ending was very anti-climatic. I will read more of her books but I just wish there was a little more story with the main two characters.
Nancy Boone
Aug 29, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I highly recommend this book to anyone that enjoys a story with history as well as strong characters. Arielle is a noble woman in Jerusalem when the city falls to the Romans. The book takes you thru her life as a slave and her fight to attain freedom right up to the fall of Pompeii. Beautiful story with a powerful ending.
Mar 20, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
I liked Cato and Ariella but not as much together. They had complex backstories - Cato's wasn't really revealed. There could have been more character growth. It seemed like both characters didn't change much until the end.
Towards the end Cato became a not less likeable. He was clueless and seemed to be doing things for himself, although he did realize that. I liked his mother and sister more than him.
Why did Ariella like him? She was drawn to him from the first time she saw him, but why? He
Sep 28, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
This was my first book by this author. I, like many, am quite interested in the destruction of Pompeii. This was different from others I have read and enjoyed it greatly.
How was it different?
This wasn't just a love story, but told of the underbelly and the corrupt politicians. It was also a religious story of the Jewish who began to believe in Christ and His teachings.
The story begins with the fall of The Temple and the Romans slaughtering and enslaving the Jewish people. It then foll
Somehow, Tracy Higley combines gladiators, a legendary erupting volcano, and early church history into one novel...and somehow it works. The beginning was a little slow for me but that was due to political debates one of the main characters was having, and anything political always loses my interest. The second half of the book was far superior to the first half, and once the volcano started erupting everything just got way more interesting. An enjoyable read!
Dec 24, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is the second book by Tracy Higley that I have read. Ever since learning about Pompeii in 6th grade, I've had a fascination with this place, and I hope to visit there someday. Back to the book... I enjoyed reading it. I wouldn't class it as an edge of your seat book, but I certainly didn't like being disturbed while reading it.
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also published under the name Tracy L. Higley

T.L. Higley holds a degree in English Literature and has written three previous novels and more than fifty drama productions for church ministry. She is especially passionate about "breaking down emotional and philosophical barriers that people have put up between themselves and Christ."

Other books in the series

Seven Wonders (7 books)
  • City of the Dead (Seven Wonders, #1)
  • Garden of Madness (Seven Wonders, #2)
  • Isle of Shadows (Seven Wonders, #3)
  • Guardian of the Flame (Seven Wonders, #4)
  • So Shines the Night (Seven Wonders #5)
  • Petra: City of Stone (Seven Wonders, #7)
“His faith in the Messiah did not save him from the fight, it gave him the strength to win the war.” 0 likes
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