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New Pompeii

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In the near future, energy giant Novus Particles develops the technology to transport objects and people from the deep past to the present. Their biggest secret: New Pompeii. A replica of the city hidden deep in central Asia, filled with Romans pulled through time a split second before the volcano erupted.

Historian Nick Houghton doesn't know why he's been chosen to be the company's historical advisor. He's just excited to be there. Until he starts to wonder what happened to his predecessor. Until he realizes that NovusPart have more secrets than even the conspiracy theorists suspect.

Until he realizes that NovusPart have underestimated their captives...

459 pages, Paperback

First published June 21, 2016

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About the author

Daniel Godfrey

5 books48 followers
My first novel, New Pompeii, was included in both the Financial Times’ and Morning Star’s ‘Books of 2016’ lists. The sequel, Empire of Time, was published in June 2017. My near-future crime novel, The Synapse Sequence, was included in The Guardian’s June 2018 best recent science fiction round-up. I have also self-published a children’s e-book and written several short stories.

Shortlisted for Best Newcomer at the British Fantasy Awards, 2017 (for New Pompeii).

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5 stars
112 (11%)
4 stars
330 (33%)
3 stars
385 (38%)
2 stars
144 (14%)
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24 (2%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 162 reviews
Profile Image for Josh.
1,628 reviews146 followers
June 21, 2018
Set sometime in the near future, man has conquered time travel – though with some limitations. An evil corporation has monopolised the technology and is using if for their own nefarious purposes; purposes that become clear as the novel progresses. Somehow they have managed to recreate New Pompeii, along with the actual residents of the city. On the surface, this looks to be the perfect set-up for study and exploitation in a theme-park/zoo kind of way, until people start going missing and then appearing in different timelines.

New Pompeii is a great idea that serves as an introduction to a broader tapestry of storytelling which is both a good and a bad thing. Good, as it means there’s at least another book on the way (Empire of Time), but bad because it comes off as merely setting the stage; the book didn’t read as a complete story, or even a complete story arc for that matter, ending in a quasi-cliff hanger that left me scratching my head.

The book sucks you in and delivers a story vastly different to what I was expecting. Despite my grumblings I’ll be picking up Empire of Time.

My rating: 4 / 5 stars.

Reviewed also on my blog: http://justaguywholikes2read.blogspot...
Profile Image for Sud666.
1,915 reviews156 followers
July 22, 2016
Have you ever, on a very hot day, reached into a cooler to grab that last ice cold beverage? The thirst compounds the frenetic fumbling, as you feel the can and yet the melted water mixed in the ice conspire in tandem to deny you the beverage. As abstruse as my comparison may seem, this is EXACTLY how I felt reading this book. Somewhere, mixed in with a great deal of nonsense is something great waiting to be grasped, yet it keeps squirting away. I really wanted to like this book. It seemed such a cool premise. The cover boldly claiming "The Empire Rises" and the concept behind it was quite original. Sadly the execution fell short.

A company named Novocorp has figured out how to bring things from the past into the present time. They initially market it as a means of providing renewable energy, yet they used it to pull in the citizens of Pompeii from 79 AD, Roman Empire. Now you'd think at this point, with such a cool concept there is so much you could do with this tale. Sadly, it's a part murder mystery, part not-fully-explained sci-fi and part history. It does none of them particularly well. We meet the protagonist, a graduate student in History who is brought in to be a historical advisor. We see New Pompeii and get a tour of the facilities and the Citizens (who think they have been delivered from death by the divine grace of the deified Augustus Caesar). But, this story is frequently broken up with a semi-bizzare murder/mystery about a dead girl in a bathtub. Anyways, eventually in a Imperial Rome meets Jurassic Park way the story unfolds. I'll let you read it if you really want to.

This could have been amazing. They could have done so much more with the Pompeiians trying to figure out what happened and the traditions and culture of Rome. But, it gets short shrift. The time paradox and the murder mystery all cause the plot to become more than the book can support. The story suffered due to that. A VERY cool concept ruined by a poor overly convoluted plot.
Profile Image for Rinn.
287 reviews217 followers
November 28, 2016
I received a copy of this book for free from the publisher, in exchange for an honest review. Also posted on my blog, Rinn Reads.

I can actually remember when I first heard about New Pompeii. I’d just finished reading A Darker Shade of Magic, and flicked to the back of the book to read about upcoming titles from Titan Books – and there it was. A Jurassic Park style element involving ancient Romans? Err, yes please and thank you. I felt my little archaeologist heart drop a little when I saw the words ‘Expected publication 2016’. It felt so far away!

Fast forward to a year later, and what turned up on my doorstep, courtesy of Titan? My very own shiny copy of New Pompeii. Obviously when you’ve been waiting for something for so long, your expectations are pretty high, and I was actually worried that after all this time that it might not live up to my own hype – but as it turns out, there was no need to worry.

There have been a lot of stories of people undertaking foolish activities and studies, where you know things are going to go wrong – Jurassic Park is obviously the big one. But there’s something quite terrifying about that scientific project that could potentially go catastrophically wrong being human beings. The main error that NovusPart make is that they don’t seem to see the citizens of New Pompeii as actual people; they’re from the past so naturally they’re less intelligent, less developed, less civilised (ha!). These were the people who were responsible for so many human advances, so many things we’d be so stuck without now, and the people of NovusPart saw them almost like cavemen. New Pompeii raised some really interesting questions relating to this – what rights do these people have? But also, most terrifyingly – what effect will their presence have on the future?

As for the writing itself, the book was really accessible and did not resort to overly complicated terminology or anything like that to explain exactly how the process worked. It was simplified, and maybe not fully explained – but it’s science fiction. We’re already believing that people can be brought back through time, we don’t then have to criticise the how. And to be honest, I was much more interested in the clash of modern and ancient cultures and the idea of Nick trying to fit in with these people to learn from them, than the sciencey mumbo jumbo behind how they got there.

Overall, maybe New Pompeii didn’t feel quite as fleshed out as I was expecting. But it was a really good, fun novel, with plenty of action-packed scenes, I absolutely LOVED the concept and wouldn’t hesitate to read a sequel. What I would give to walk through those streets and interact with genuine ancient Pompeiians… A very strong four stars from me – or should I say IV stars?
Profile Image for Ann.
250 reviews5 followers
September 16, 2016
All the characters ran together because no one was really clearly defined. The protagonist was pretty feeble and rarely much of a doer. I was intrigued by the premise (who wouldn't be?), but the execution left me cold. I kept expecting it to be or do more than I ever got.

Also the protagonist must have been a terrible ancient historian, because he never took an attendant (or slave) with him anywhere. You need a slave to carry your torch after dark, you judge a man's importance by the size of his entourage, you need a slave to guard your clothes at the baths! What a fool!

Maybe I'm just too familiar with Roman history to turn off my brain and enjoy this very much.
Profile Image for Paul.
563 reviews150 followers
December 20, 2016
Definitely a thinker. An interesting concept and a lot of questioning on the paradoxes of time travel.
The story is generally interesting , maybe could have been expanded in parts .
The ending stops you and makes you think and rethink the whole thing.
I reread the last few sections several times to grasp all the layers.
Profile Image for Seregil of Rhiminee.
590 reviews39 followers
June 18, 2016
Originally published at Risingshadow.

Daniel Godfrey's New Pompeii is one of the most intriguing reading experiences of the year, because it's an enjoyable and original blend of various elements. What makes this debut novel especially intriguing is that the author gives a whole new twist to the fate of Pompeii by writing about how a company has saved most of the people from Pompeii and placed them into a replica city by means of new technology.

I was impressed by New Pompeii and its entertainment values, because it turned to be a clever novel. Before I began to read it, I had a few reservations about its quality, because I've often been more than a bit disappointed by this kind of sci-fi thrillers due to their lack of originality. Fortunately, all my fears concerning the quality evaporated quickly as the fast-paced and action-filled story began to unfold, because the various twists and turns, action scenes and historical details appealed to my imagination and sense of style.

New Pompeii has an entertaining and intrigue-filled story. The story begins in a fascinating way:

In the prologue, Manius Calpurnus Barbatus witnesses the destruction of Pompeii with her daughter Calpurnia... Kirsten Chapman wakes up and realises that something has happened to her and everything is not as it should be. Something strange has happened to her, because she sees people, but they can't see her... Nick Houghton has problems securing funding for his research proposal. He fears that he may be made redundant and won't get his doctorate. He is contacted by a company called NovusPart, which uses technology to transport things - items and people - from the past to the present, and is offered a job as a historical advisor with a six-week trial period. Nick finds out that NovusPart has created an almost exact replica of Pompeii and saved many people from the eruption of Mt. Vesuvius. When Nick accepts the job, he begins to wonder what happened to his predecessor...

The characterisation is fluent. The author writes especially well about Nick Houghton, because he's a well-created protagonist with realistic problems.

Nick has a bit complicated life, because his career prospects look dim and seem to have been hindered by his father's deeds. He's interested in research, but his future as a researcher is threatened by lack of funding. He has a lot to think about, because he must decide what he will do with his life.

The author's way of writing about Nick's career problems feels believable and realistic, because many researchers face problems due to lack of funds and other people's interest in their research fields. I think that many readers (especially those who have personally experienced what it feels like to prepare applications to secure funding) will sympathise with Nick's problems.

The replica city, New Pompeii, which has been built and created by NovusPart, is quite a sight to behold, because it has been designed to house the people who have been rescued before the ominous eruption of the volcano. This marvellous city is one of the highlights of this novel, because it has been built to resemble the real Pompeii (A.D. 79) as closely as possible.

NovusPart controls Roman people in an interesting way. People who live in the New Pompeii believe that they're still in Pompeii, because NovusPart has done their best to create a realistic vision of a city that has survived a major cataclysm. People have to stay in the city and are forbidden to travel elsewhere, because the Italian penisula is in chaos. People believe that the tremors and the eruption permanently changed the landscape beyond the walls. The NovusPart men are believed to be their saviours, sent by the god-emperor Augustus Caesar.

Reading about how Nick reacts to what he sees and witnesses in the replica city was fascinating for me. I enjoyed finding out things about the city and how it was controlled, because NovusPart had thought of various things when they had built the city and tried to contain the Romans within the city.

The chapters about Kirsten Chapman add a nice touch of mystery and strangeness to the overall storyline. In order to avoid writing spoilers, I won't go into details about these chapters, but I'll mention that they're intriguingly connected to the story.

Daniel Godfrey builds up tension and atmosphere in an excellent way. The gradually deepening atmosphere is enhanced by revelations about the happenings in the replica city. The author writes well about what Romans think about their situation and how the NovusPart staff members deal with arising problems, because NovusPart seems to have underestimated the rescued people.

One of the main reasons why New Pompeii is such a good and entertaining novel is the author's way of exploring the ethics of time travel in an interesting way. His approach to these issues feels intriguing.

It was entertaining for me to read about the cultural differences between the Romans and modern-day people, because the clash between people from different eras brings depth to the story. As an example of a major cultural clash I can mention that the ancient people were more openminded concerning nudity and sexuality.

In my opinion, Daniel Godfrey is one of the few debut authors who have managed to blend time travel and thriller elements in an enjoyable and intriguing way. I consider him to be an heir to Michael Crichton, because his writing style is similar to Crichton's style. He has an eye for all details and he pays attention to entertainment values, which means a lot in this kind of fiction.

The author's love for history and fascination with the ancient way of life can clearly be seen in the story. He writes so well about historical details and facts that there's no doubt about his enthusiasm and commitment to write this kind of science fiction.

I look forward to reading the sequel, Empire of Time, which will be published in June 2017. I have a feeling that we can expect a lot from it in terms of cleverness, entertainment and originality, because this novel is a promising start to the series.

Daniel Godfrey's New Pompeii is not to be missed by readers who love fast-paced sci-fi thrillers with fresh ideas. It's an absorbingly told story with an emphasis on intrigue, action and entertainment. It will appeal to a wide range of readers (and it will be of special interest to fans of Michael Crichton and Dan Brown). If you're tired of reading bland sci-fi thrillers and think that most of them are boring and not worth reading, this novel will restore your faith to the genre, because it's a genuinely thrilling reading experience.

My final words are:

New Pompeii is an enjoyable and well-told sci-fi thriller that provides plenty of entertainment to those who are looking for something new and exciting to read! It's light and intriguing sci-fi entertainment at its best and most fluent.
Profile Image for Teck Wu.
327 reviews12 followers
Shelved as 'dnf'
September 5, 2021
Dn-fking-fed. I thought the premise was interesting but it was very slow. And why is there an interluding murder mystery that I had to go through every time I got to something seemingly exciting. Stopped at pg 108.

And fked it scammed me by saying “Like Crichton at his best” on the front cover. More like “Not like Crichton, or maybe at his worst”.

Also, I just saw it’s 3.37 stars. I should have checked it before going in argh.
8 reviews1 follower
June 12, 2016
New Pompeii is a great tale of how a company who gets ahold and develops a new technology that can transport matter through time makes all the wrong choices with it. Through vividly described characters, it takes the reader on a story that makes you want to keep reading. I was unable to put New Pompeii down, and can't wait for the sequel to release in 2017. Highly recommended.
Profile Image for Mal Warwick.
Author 28 books391 followers
June 27, 2022
Visits to the past or future have figured in English-language literature since the 18th century. And when H. G. Wells’ classic novel, The Time Machine, appeared in 1895, the trope made its debut in the science fiction genre. For decades, authors simply created stories around the assumption that scientists had figured out how to shift through time at will. Later authors attempted to explain the process by referring to obscure aspects of relativity or quantum theory. More recently, we encounter stories stating outright that “time travel is impossible” but that then proceed to show how it can be accomplished, anyway. Daniel Godfrey’s New Pompeii is one such example. Entrepreneurs in the novel stumble on a potentially lucrative way to bring people from the past into the present—with predictably disastrous results. It’s a new twist on time travel.

In a brief prologue, we meet Manius Calpurnius Barbatus, duumvir (co-ruler) of Pompeii, and his young adult daughter, Calpurnia. They are cowering in the mounting ashfall from Mt. Vesuvius as it gradually buries their town. Much will happen before we meet them again. But then they will play major roles in this intriguing story.

On one track in the story, a young woman named Kirsten Chapman faces years of terror. She repeatedly finds herself submerged in a bathtub in a locked room, only to be jerked back there soon after she emerges. On the other, major track, a young history graduate student named Nick Houghton faces the ruin of his career. Cutbacks decimate the faculty and fellowship funds at his “third-rate university” in England, and he is certain to lose his stipend. But Nick is not trapped in his depressing reality. For suddenly he finds himself employed by a company called Novus Particles UK LLP, or NovusPart, which has somehow muddled into a way to meddle with the timeline.

We follow NIck to his job with NovusPart in New Pompeii. Somewhere in the vast wastelands of Central Asia, the company has constructed a remarkably accurate replica of Pompeii. It appears as it did shortly after the volcano’s eruption began in 79 AD. And to Nick’s astonishment, they have somehow managed to transport thousands of the town’s citizens and slaves shortly before their deaths in the past. There, as part of the NovusPart team, he plays his role as both historian, to ensure accuracy in the ongoing work of the town’s recreation, and as interpreter. Because NIck speaks both ancient Latin and Greek, and he is uniquely equipped to understand the shifting currents of feeling among the town’s inhabitants. And he will play a crucial part—in fact, the central role—in determining the fate of the company, the town, and its people.

Daniel Godfrey‘s bio blurb on Google Books reads in entirety: “Daniel Godfrey has had several short stories published, including in My Weekly and Writers’ Forum, and is a dedicated reader of SF and historical fiction. He studied geography at Emmanuel College, Cambridge, and gained an MSc from Leeds in transport planning. Godfrey lives in Derbyshire.” New Pompeii was the first of his four adult science fiction novels. He has also published a children’s book.
Profile Image for Tim Hicks.
1,470 reviews116 followers
July 19, 2018

Lookit, when you decide to write a time travel story, you've probably given away the fifth star already. And when it's your first SF novel, you're playing with fire. It's something solid, award-winning writers have struggled badly with.

I was alerted right away by the tired old trope of the struggling doctoral student about to lose his funding at a backwater university. Uh-oh, I thought, here's the Nebbish Observer whose purpose is to have stuff happen to him. Soon we meet Astridge, a sneering cardboard stereotype, and Maggie, who's just weird. Granted, the duumvir is interesting, but not many others are.

We get some decent handwaving on time travel, then we're told that their reach has a 30-year minimum. That is a signal that the plot needs to be constrained or the reader's going to keep asking "why didn't they just ..." (which ends up happening anyway, as it always does in time travel stories, just not as soon).

We get Kirsten, who's stuttering through time in a very odd way that gradually gets more interesting until the climax of the plot, when she ... well, let's just say her place in the story changes abruptly.

Calpurnia keeps popping up. One moment she's just watching and chewing her cud, the next appearance she's %@$ing Perry Mason, and next time out she's mooing again.

Near the end, just before the time travel part of the plot disappears up its own fundament, we have a bad case of Chekhov's gun: you don't bring out a and then not .

And unless I misread it, the last chapter has Nick phoning his father FROM NEW POMPEII. Please correct me in the comments if i missed that one.

And as others noted, despite the abundant research there are some glaring errors such as Nick constantly going out alone to get into trouble.

OK, I get that this is sort of a thriller tribute to Michael Crichton, and probably meant as a "light read," but that doesn't require a writer to just dash through the story without making sure it's tight and credible and doesn't leave everyone at the end all "WTF just happened?"

Godfrey will probably write a good one fairly soon, but I won't be reading #2 of this series.
Profile Image for Aires.
188 reviews11 followers
May 12, 2017
Cestování časem se stalo realitou. Tedy ne tak úplně, technologie umožňují jen přenos hmoty z minulosti do současnosti. Ale i to otevírá spoustu možností. Můžete si založit zoo pravěkých tvorů, zachránit před pádem letadla lidi přenesením do budoucnosti nebo si postavit dokonalou repliku Pompejí. S pravými Římany zachráněnými před smrtí v popelu.

Gladiátorské zápasy. Studium historie. Nové Pompeje jsou prozatím přísně střeženým tajemstvím a budoucí atrakcí pro turisty. Na místo přijíždí historik Nick, aby odhalil, jestli ve městě vše funguje bezchybně. Brzy přijde na to, že Nové Pompeje nejsou vůbec tak nevinný a bezpečný nápad. Římané jsou chytřejší, než se zdá. Jak jim vysvětlit, že přežily výbuch sopky, jejich moře zmizelo a kuřata jsou najednou větší a mrkev barevnější?

Skvělá kniha. Cestování časem mě baví. Kniha se čte dobře, má originální nápad a trochu mi připomíná Let 305, který si také hraje s myšlenkou cestování časem. Propojuje se tu sci-fi s historií a výsledek je pěkně napínavý. Jen ten závěr byl uspěchaný, občas jsem si musela stránku přečíst dvakrát, aby mi něco neuteklo. Za to 1 hvězdička dolů...
Profile Image for Margo.
765 reviews2 followers
March 4, 2017
I really didn't think much of this book. From the description I expected to enjoy it. It started well but about half way through I started to think it was going nowhere and by the end, I was sure of it!

A large part of the problem was seemingly unconnected second story running through the main story. It was distracting and added nothing to the novel.

I think that the author had a great concept but didn't quite know what to do with it. I'm sorry that I went to the trouble of reading to the end.
Profile Image for David Harris.
851 reviews28 followers
June 20, 2016
I honestly don't know how to categorise this book. SF? Fantasy? Historical? It's probably all three but above all it's a rollicking good adventure.

Godfrey plays with the ideas of alternate timelines, of changing history. Here, that's done through mysterious technology owned by the sinister firm Novus Particles. NovusPart has found a way to transport matter - including people - from the past. There are limits to this. They can't fetch anything from less than 30 years ago, and they're forbidden from retrieving humans unless they are about to die (to preserve the timeline). But within those boundaries they can do a lot - for example, saving the population of ancient Pompeii and installing them in a replica city for study (and exploitation).

Nick Houghton is a down-on-his-luck Classical scholar hired to advise on the project. But transported to the fake Pompeii, he finds that all isn't well: you don't try top boss the Romans around without facing consequences...

In parallel with Nick's story, we also follow Kirsten, a young woman who apparently disappeared from a Cambridge college. She sees a different side of NovusPart from Nick. One of things I enjoyed most about the book was the contrast between Kirsten's rather horrible plight in her relatively brief episodes - which give the book some drive, especially at the start before the Pompeii stuff really gets going - and Nick's immersion in the reality of Roman life. The two strands don't seem to be coming together until an event which transforms the way you see the whole story. That left me wanting to read more about both and I do hope that Godfrey follows this book up with a sequel.

The book is also good on devious plotting. It has interlocked machinations by NovusPart and its founding triumvirate, by Roman leader Barbatus, and by a mysterious anti-Novuspart faction, tangled timelines, imposters and missing information which taken together mean there is a surprise on almost every page. While not perfect - there are a few characters Godfrey could have done more with (Felix, for example, and Maggie) - it's a gripping read, laced with genuinely thought provoking ideas and narrative twists. And the encounter between ancient Pompeii and the modern world is well realised, a great "What if..." full of dramatic potential which is fully exploited.

And you'll learn some history too!

Definitely recommended.
Profile Image for Andy Angel.
506 reviews42 followers
August 26, 2018
Part Science Fiction, Part Fantasy, part Thriller, this all adds up to one heck of a ride. The fact that this is the author's first novel makes it even more impressive.

The general gist of the story is that NovusPart, a large energy company have discovered a new technology that allows them to bring matter from the past to 'the now'. They have started by bringing citizens from Pompeii (hey, it's not a spoiler, the clue is in the title) forward and housing them in the replica New Pompeii. They do not know they have left 'original' Pompeii but some are starting to guess something is not quite right. Into the mix comes our hero Nick Houghton, research ,student, who is brought in as NovusPart's Historical Advisor. His actual recruitment seems a tad shady but he is just happy to be a part of something this big.

As a second story strand Kirsten Chapman 'wakes' in her bath only to discover she has been murdered.

As a general rule I am not a big fan of 'Michael Chrichtonesque' Sci-Fi Thrillers but New Pompeii certainly changed my mind on that. The way the author described both New Pompeii and it's occupants felt believable. It felt very much like seeing it through Nick's eyes which, for this reviewer is just how it should be.

The 'Kirsten' chapters added a lot of mystery to the proceedings. It is obvious her 'death' had a big part to play in the storyline but right up to the reveal I wasn't sure just what it would be.

If I had to find a downside to things it would just be my ignorance of historical terms, which I had to look up sometimes (but, hey, I've learnt stuff now so not that much of a downside really)

As for the characters - Nick was nerdish, Kirsten puzzled and the big chiefs of NovusPart just the right shade of 'big business sinister'. They all worked well for me.

I enjoyed this book a heck of a lot and wouldn't be surprised to see it on beaches and in airports all summer. Will it be filmed? Of that I have no idea but somebody, somewhere should take a chance on it (Oh, if only Mr. Spielberg read my blog)

Full marks to Daniel Godfrey for a very interesting and fun read - V/V stars
Profile Image for Linda Acaster.
Author 18 books40 followers
August 29, 2016
The devil is in the detail, and so it plays out in this novel of the close future when particle acceleration has enabled things, and finally people, to be thrust forward in time. There are limitations, time itself being one, but the power is heady... and with power comes paranoia.

The people of Pompeii – or some of the people of Pompeii – have been hauled into the present and into a purpose-built replica of their old city. Except there are limitations, and the devil is always in the detail, for the citizens of the Empire: why are the chickens so big? why are the carrots orange? – for the contemporary characters: can technology ever maketh the man? – and for readers: why choose Pompeii?

A great read that kept me hooked from start to finish. Looking forward to the sequel.
Profile Image for Kate.
1,626 reviews322 followers
January 3, 2018
I enjoyed elements of this SF thriller - some intriguing characters (especially Kirsten, although I don't think her fascinating circumstances were explored enough) - but the Roman element didn't convince me in the slightest. I am very willing to believe the impossible in thrillers but this didn't work for me. 3 stars rather than 2 because of Kirsten.

Profile Image for Joe.
204 reviews
June 29, 2019
A company tries to create a new energy source by bringing particles through time. They realise if they bring enough at one time they can bring the past into the present. Hence why the plot around the roman town of Pompeii and it's no longer mythical citizens. It's a interesting concept with solid writing and good characters. There will be more books set within this world which I will read eventually.
Profile Image for Ale.
205 reviews2 followers
May 19, 2021
A really cool concept that gets bogged down by cardboard characters, weird pacing and lacking prose. The characters were such non-entities that I could not distinguish between the two antagonists all through the book, and the ACTUAL interesting plot point of the book (the time traveling) is just barely there. It managed to get interesting enough in the end that I picked up the next book, but overall it was just middling.

It very much feels like an airport read that could've been so much more.
116 reviews1 follower
December 30, 2017
Very cool take on a time travel/alternate reality story

I enjoyed it throughout. Part mystery, part sci-fi, part historical fiction, all fun. Good read! I am looking forward to the sequel.
Profile Image for Lamadia.
572 reviews25 followers
February 12, 2017
All the comparisons to Michael Crichton's early novels are completely justified, however, the differences make this even better. It is not an easy story. Nothing is straight forward and the twists and turns will leave your brain leaking out your ears. There is a huge mystery to be solved, but it's not a 'who-done-it', more like a 'what-the-fuck-is-going-on' in the best possible way. It's the kind of story where the last few pages make you flip back and reread passages to understand what they really mean. It has the un-put-down-able qualities of reading Jurassic Park or Sphere for the first time, but it isn't just about getting out of the crazy situation that science has put a core group of intrepid scientists in. It is not about group dynamics and everybody has a hidden agenda.

As for time-traveling stories, there are always holes about paradoxes and causality that break through the story, but that's precisely what this story explores. It thrives on paradox and the whole point of it all is causality loops. This will have my brain buzzing for weeks.

The intervening chapters with Kirsten, and the mystery about what has happened to her (is she a ghost, what does she have to do with the main storyline) was wonderful and a main driving force of the book for me. It was also a very un-Crichton like device and really shows how Godfrey is not just a copy of Crichton, but a very different type of writer, only with similar initial story set ups.

A couple weak points that may be considered SPOILERS (super light): I didn't much care about any of the characters except for Kirsten and possibly Nick. I had a hard time remembering the names of the other characters. And while most of the characters are not meant to be sympathetic, it also left me not excited to find out what happens to them. I just didn't care if they lived or died. Also, I didn't quite believe some of the ways in which these Roman citizens would be able to adapt and defeat modern soldiers. I don't mean to imply that they are stupid, but I think the idea that our technology is intuitive and can be easily figured out is a fallacy and we only think it is because we are used to it. Just look at any old person with a tablet. Also, if they've never seen a gun before, they don't know what it is and don't have a chance. This doesn't mean that I think they could not have won a skirmish, but it would have been more difficult and have been a steep learning curve.
Profile Image for Jessa Rodrigues ☕ (decafJess).
552 reviews105 followers
November 11, 2016
If time travel technology existed, who should be able to control it? Should the state regulate it? Could it be used to bring back the dead? Should it be used to bring back the dead?

New Pompeii takes place in a world like ours, where a company named NovusPart has developed the technology to bring items or people from the past to the present. After performing a few stunts to bring some treasures of antiquity to special museum viewings, they move on to a new challenge -- transporting the population of Pompeii to a contemporary recreation of Pompeii. Our protagonist, Nick, is a graduate student studying the era, and is sent to "New Pompeii" to make sure everything stays historically accurate.

There is an often-confusing subplot in the shadows concerning the ghost of a murdered woman. Hang in there. It will make sense.

Time travel is difficult to write, and difficult to read. It opens up a world of paradoxes. Partially through this novel, I began to doubt that the novel would be able to address its own time travel paradoxes, but it managed to integrate them into the plot in a way that made sense.

I thought about this book often after finishing it, and I appreciate more in retrospect. The integration of the subplots was satisfying, and there were moments in the book that I was genuinely surprised. I will likely read it again in the future, and I would love to see more.

Read other reviews at decafJess.blogspot.com.
Profile Image for Martin Belcher.
394 reviews36 followers
December 4, 2016
New Pompeii is a fascinating novel, scifi, history, time travel and what if? Rolled all into one amazing story.
Novus Particles are a powerful energy corporation with endless amounts of money to spend on new projects, one of these projects unexpedectly discovers a way to 'pull living people' from events in the past and bring to the present or the future....
Bring in Nick Houghton a specialist in ancient Roman history who inadvertently brings himself to the attention of the CEO of NovusPart and so begins Nick's incredible job offer to oversee and act as a historical advisor of Novus corporations new project, to design and build a replica of ancient Pompeii in the present day and pull all the living residents from historic Pompeii just before the eruption of mount Vesuvius destroys them all. To then populate a new Pompeii with authenticate real Roman citizens! Nick excitedly takes up the role, but very soon finds the new residents are far from happy and know instinctively that their Pompeii is not real... Events soon sour and Nick uncovers the true reason for the project...
I really loved this book, a brilliant conceived mixture of genres and what if scenarios. Fantastic and a true twist to the story at the end.
Profile Image for Cam.
1,165 reviews39 followers
January 10, 2017
Time-travel mystery set in a near-future with a tech company holding a monopoly on how to do it. There's a lot of public resistance to such an important discovery being held for private gain, but nothing seems to make any difference. A young, struggling doctoral student gets tangentially involved in an attempted protest action against the company and ends up getting hired to work on their project to build a New Pompeii and fill it with all the victims from the real one. They can snatch people who would have died in the past and move them to the present and have done so, but their historical consultant left suddenly and they need someone familiar with the Roman era to advice them. Turns out, of course, that there's a lot more going on with outsiders trying to interfere, internal struggles between board members, and the imperial skills of the Romans themselves. A bit choppy at times and the ending seems rushed compared to the rest of the novel. This has been a frequent criticism of late for me; seems like editors give up and just take what's there and go with it. Might be due to later revelations coming in future parts of the series, but it's there enough to keep this good, but not great.
Profile Image for Bill.
891 reviews161 followers
July 13, 2016
Daniel Godfrey delivers a fast paced & inventive story. He has a remarkable ability to make incredible situations believable. A terrific novel, full of intertesting characters & fascinating settings. I very much look forward to his next work.
2 reviews
June 24, 2016
A fantastic read - I couldn't put it down. An original idea told in an exciting way. The historical background had real authenticity.
Can't wait for June 2017
203 reviews
May 23, 2017
Totally Confusing. I really like fantasy but just could not follow what was happening. Mr Godfrey probably knows the story he wanted to tell but was unable to do so in writing.
Profile Image for C.J. Bunce.
161 reviews3 followers
September 4, 2019
Originally published online at BORG.com.

In a thick 459 pages, British author Daniel Godfrey begins a new time travel series full of twists and turns in New Pompeii, his first novel from a major publisher (Titan Books). Billed as a novel in the tradition of Michael Crichton, New Pompeii is evocative of Crichton’s early novels, but more closely follows the plotting and style of the time travel science fiction novels of Connie Willis (Lincoln’s Dreams, To Say Nothing of the Dog) and the pacing of a Tom Clancy thriller. Fans of Crichton’s Timeline and Westworld, Philip K. Dick’s short stories and his novels Time Out of Joint and Man in the High Castle, Doctor Who’s “timey wimey” stories and films like TimeCop will appreciate this new entry in the time travel and parallel universe sub-genres.

Despite a daunting 75 chapters, New Pompeii is a quick read. Godfrey follows Nick Houghton, a history scholar who has yet to earn his doctorate as he is inexplicably courted into joining a venture with a corporation that promises the impossible–Novus Particles plucks people from just before the point of death and brings them into the present, cheating the timeline manipulation restrictions like the field trips in Ray Bradbury’s “A Sound of Thunder.” Think Philip K. Dick’s Paycheck meets Final Destination. The company is not a secret–it is well documented that it saved a flight of passengers from a plane crash. But why are all the survivors now committing suicide? Who is the ghost student that has been emerging from a bathtub at a college campus over the course of thirty years? And how do you hide an ancient civilization in the modern world?

Told in short, alternating chapters from the perspective of Nick as he walks among ancient Romans in a secluded Eastern European town in the present day, and college student Kirsten Chapman as she appears unstuck in time across a span of time periods like Jennifer Jones in Portrait of Jennie or Billy Pilgrim in Kurt Vonnegut, Jr.’s Slaughterhouse Five, the truth behind the corporation’s purpose is slowly revealed. You won’t find a lot of complexity in the time travel elements here, which makes this appealing for the most casual sci-fi reader. Fans of any Star Trek or Doctor Who time travel story will be familiar with the rules here.

Godfrey goes a bit off-target with some unnecessarily brutal and gory scenes in the vein of Bob Guccione’s Caligula toward the story’s end but only for a brief chapter. As a graduate with one of my degrees focused in Ancient Roman History, I was pleased the look at Pompeii and Roman society was well-researched, with enough historical facts to make the characters and setting believable without bogging down the narrative. The story could use more of Nick and company encountering culture clashes with the Pompeiians and been edited down a tad, but these are minor quibbles. New Pompeii is a fun read.

So set up your triclinium and pick up a copy of Daniel Godfrey’s new novel New Pompeii now.
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