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With his trademark elegance and intelligence Robert Harris recreates a world on the brink of disaster.

All along the Mediterranean coast, the Roman empire's richest citizens are relaxing in their luxurious villas, enjoying the last days of summer. 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.

But the carefree lifestyle and gorgeous weather belie an impending cataclysm, and only one man is worried. The young engineer Marcus Attilius 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 of Naples. His predecessor has disappeared. Springs are failing for the first time in generations. And now there is a crisis on the Augusta's sixty-mile main line—somewhere to the north of Pompeii, on the slopes of Mount Vesuvius.

Attilius—decent, practical, and incorruptible—promises Pliny, the famous scholar who commands the navy, that he can repair the aqueduct before the reservoir runs dry. His plan is to travel to Pompeii and put together an expedition, then head out to the place where he believes the fault lies. But Pompeii proves to be a corrupt and violent town, and Attilius soon discovers that there are powerful forces at work—both natural and man-made—threatening to destroy him.

With his trademark elegance and intelligence, Robert Harris, bestselling author of Archangel and Fatherland, re-creates a world on the brink of disaster.

278 pages, Hardcover

First published November 21, 2003

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About the author

Robert Harris

53 books6,223 followers
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 wife, Gill Hornby.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 2,881 reviews
Profile Image for Jim Fonseca.
1,073 reviews6,802 followers
September 23, 2013
Attilius's occupation is an aquarius in the Roman Empire, a job description that nowadays would be "director of waterworks operations and maintenance for the southern district of Italy." As the earth beings to swell and shake in ominous warning in advance of the tragedy that is to come, the main aqueduct cracks and fails and Attilius is sent out to repair it. So this is a historical novel and we learn of life in the Roman Empire around AD 79 at the time of the eruption of Vesuvius. Here are masters and slaves, filthy rich and beggars. We get a little romance as Attilius meets the lovely daughter of a viscous, cunning landlord who used to be a slave himself. We learn a lot about Roman culture: meals, daily life, transportation technology, ships, soldiers, relations between men and women, political and financial corruption, and the unique role of the baths in Roman culture. It's an old fashioned boy gets girl despite obstacles romance story during a fast-paced hectic three-day period between when the aqueduct fails and the volcano blows. We learn about the aqueduct system, tunnels, reservoirs and siltation tanks. We learn of famous real-life Romans such as the general and prolific scholar Pliny the Elder and his nephew, Pliny the Younger.
Profile Image for Henry Avila.
446 reviews3,219 followers
February 24, 2021
Pompeii... demolished in the world's most famous volcanic eruption in A.D. 79 killing thousands at the apex of the Roman Empire, ironically the people never knew Mount Vesuvius was this a volcano; understandable since the previous significant one occurred 1,800 years before, no town existed, and the name unknown to them because the word hadn't been invented yet, but soon would... lets say by borrowing from the Roman god of fire... Vulcan... Our story unfolds when a young despondent man of 27, a recent widower Marcus Attilius Primus arrives in the prosperous resort city, the kind that if you have money they like you, he has an important job here, as an aquarius the chief engineer of Aqua Augusta a huge aqueduct which supplies 250,000 inhabitants with life giving water around the Bay of Naples. His predecessor Exomnius vanished, where is he ?...Wasn't he from the island of Sicily in the Mount Etna area? This
confounded mystery puzzles everyone, however life continues and Rome quickly sends a replacement because prominent officials have villas there, many powerful Senators, a bright honest individual causes Marcus numerous problems the era is shall we hint a little corrupt. Pompeii is ruled by a wealthy businessman Numerius Popidius Ampliatus a former slave, a man of immense courage he has to show the people his... preeminence.

After an earthquake of almost two decades ago flattens the city Ampliatus flourishes, maybe unethically done nonetheless the houses were rebuilt...bribes the local magistrates into doing his bidding all for the good of Pompeii's future he implies. This is not a dull novel so complications occur, a water break in the aqueduct must be found swiftly, and repaired, the engineer falls in love... surprise surprise with Corelia the daughter of the cruel Ampliatus who hates him, you can't trust a man who will not accept a kickback..And we haven't yet mentioned the great Pliny the Elder, writer, soldier , philosopher, naturalist, adviser to Roman Emperors Vespasian and successor Titus his tough son, the new Caesar of a few months, the latter a former comrade in the Germanic campaign and now the obese old man in poor health is admiral of the fleet , a honor bestowed primarily for his loyalty to the ruling family in actuality has very little nautical experience, luckily the Roman naval port is Misenum close to the disaster. Moreover Pliny a very curious man indeed prides himself in knowing all, his countless books testifies to this fact. Besides his talented nephew of 18, Pliny the Younger can help him observe the catastrophe, anyway a closer look would be better...However the book comes alive when the dead fall under the avalanche that buries Pompeii under rocks and ash, toxic clouds of gas arise over 20 miles in height, noon becomes midnight, darkness engulfs the stunned citizens, walking blindly in the deluge nearby Herculaneum too, the grim sounds travel to Rome 150 miles away as the excruciating heat flows down from the mountain frying the victims just six miles distant. Pompeii a
celebrated town of 20,000 disappears and is forgotten for seventeen centuries...A marvelous, exciting book the only fault is it's 200 pages too short I wanted to learn more about the doomed city and the people...a lost civilization well worth knowing.
Profile Image for Lance Greenfield.
Author 108 books231 followers
June 28, 2016
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 is the aqueduct, Aqua Augusta, which Attilius's grandfather may have had a hand in building under the supervision of the great Agrippa. Water engineering has been the career path of Atillius's family back through at least four generations.

From the off, Attilius is up against it. His predecessor disappeared mysteriously, and neither his team of engineers and slaves nor those masters who govern Naples and the surrounding area, are inclined to trust the new aquarius.

The first chapter opens with the horrendous execution of a slave who has been held responsible for the deaths of one of the local lord's prize fish. The lord's daughter, accompanied by the unfortunate slave's mother, urgently seek the help of Attilius, who quickly discovers that it is something in the water which has killer the precious fish. But they are too late to save the wretched slave.

Events unfold and develop during the two days leading up to the famous eruption which buried Pompeii.

This is a rivetting read, if ever there was one. As you would expect, there are many dangers to overcome, and, as you read, you will be wondering who will survive and who will not. This does not become clear until the final pages. I have to confess that I was wishing for the demise of certain characters, whilst hoping for the survival of others. That is a sign of how well Robert Harris engages the reader with the actors in this story.

Definitely merits five stars.
Profile Image for Adina.
779 reviews2,952 followers
October 11, 2019
I started to read this novel after I visited Pompeii. I was impressed by the ruins of the city and its tragic history and I am a bit of a Volcanos enthusiast so I thought reading this will both help me find out more about life in that period and about the eruption. Reading a fast paced novel as I travelled was a plus. It did delivered on all aspects but it was nothing extraordinary. What made me give the novel less than 4 stars was the inappropriate language and behaviour compared to the period. The author kept using words that had no meaning at that time, too modern. I wasn't expecting a book in latin but some phrases just did not sound right in this kind of novel. Also, some adventures of the main character were to far-fetched. He survived the eruption although he was almost at the top of the mountain. And he beat death on many other occasions. The love story...my eyes rolled quite a few times.

So, a nice beach reading with some interesting history thrown in it.
Profile Image for Paul Weiss.
1,182 reviews124 followers
January 19, 2023
A natural history page-turning thriller!

Dateline, August 79 AD: Marcus Attilius Primus, a young, savvy aquarius, or water engineer, has been sent from Rome as replacement for the AWOL Exomnius to ensure the proper maintenance of Aqua Augusta, the aqueduct that supplies Pompeii, Herculaneum and the towns on the Bay of Naples. Investigation into the problem of the aqueduct drying up and its failure to deliver its critical liquid payload uncovers not only municipal theft of water and graft of epic proportions but natural problems and concerns relating to Vesuvius and its pending eruption - tremors, pollution of the water with sulphur emissions, rockfalls, and shifts and bulges in the earth's surface, not to mention breakages and blockages in the aqueduct itself.

Insofar as the eruption of Vesuvius and the destruction of Pompeii and Herculaneum are concerned, we all know how the story ends. So it fell to Harris' skill as a writer to build and maintain momentum and suspense in spite of that. With the clever device of a brief excerpt from a scientific treatise on volcanism serving as a preface to every chapter plus absolutely scintillating descriptive writing, what might have been a monumentally boring exposition of the final few hours leading up to Vesuvius' cataclysmic eruption becomes rather a thrilling natural history page turner that actually had my stomach twisted up into knots as I felt the clock ticking toward the inevitable catastrophe!

The resolution of Exomnius' disappearance and the discovery of the theft of water by Numerius Popidius Ampliatus, an ex-slave and now Pompeii's wealthiest citizen, serve as a springboard for Harris' outstanding description of an extraordinary cross section of daily life in the ancient Roman provinces - slaves vs freemen, men vs women, and children, the luxury and indolence of the wealthy vs the difficulties and squalid conditions of the poor, politicians vs their constituency, the use of the "games" as a means of distracting and buying off the general population, the baths, and the Roman diet. His charming portrayal of Pliny the Elder and the discussions surrounding the aqueduct problem will amaze and delight readers with the surprising level of sophistication of Roman science and engineering.

Sadly, the dénouement after the eruption and Harris' winding down of the romantic involvement of Marcus Attilius with Corelia Ampliata, who is promised under a contract of marriage to one of Pompeii's leading politicos, just doesn't come anywhere close to the standards of the first three-quarters of the book! What might have been a five-star book that I was tempted to place in my "Top Ten All-Time" list became merely good as I closed the covers on the final few chapters! Too bad, for sure, but 4-star recommendations are nothing to sniff at! POMPEI was well worth my time and I enjoyed it immensely.

Paul Weiss
283 reviews2 followers
May 28, 2008
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 falls in love and is stalked by bad guys who want to shut him off permanently. Meanwhile, Vesuvius prepares to make it all moot.

But the characters are caricatures. The hero is REALLY, REALLY NOBLE, the villain is AWFULLY, AWFULLY EVIL, and the love interest is darned good looking. Life in the Empire is similarly exaggerated with lingering attention to the grotesque and decadent but almost nothing about how most people lived.

I was relieved when Vesuvius erupted.
Profile Image for Sara.
Author 1 book447 followers
February 20, 2017
I have been a bit fascinated with the idea of Pompeii since I was a girl and the National Geographic ran photos of the people frozen in mid-flight trying to escape the horrors of the eruption of Vesuvius. Robert Harris has visited Pompeii through the story of Attilius, the engineer in charge of the aqueduct that served the area. Before the eruption, before the horror, there is a problem with the flow of the water. Attilius seeks to repair the breach in the aqueduct and this leads him to be in Pompeii at exactly the wrong time.

I did enjoy reading the story. There was the tension of knowing what was to come and the wish to see Attilius survive the inevitable. I can imagine that much of what people felt and the reactions that came too late were exactly as Harris depicted. However, I could never become truly invested in his characters and I therefore felt very little for their plight. It seemed a bit trite, like a 1970s disaster movie (think Poseidon Adventure), although I do not know what I could have expected him to do with this foregone scenario.

Not a bad tale, just not a great one. I would still like to go and see the ruins of Pompeii for myself. It is easy to form a tightness in the chest when one thinks about how horrible this must have been for the actual people who lived there. How hopeless it was in those moments before the cloud of fiery gas spewed down the side of the mountain and froze them in time forever.
Profile Image for Joy D.
1,682 reviews203 followers
February 16, 2020
Historical fiction about the eruption of Mount Vesuvius, covering a period of four days in 79 A.D. Attilius is an Aquarius, an engineer in charge of ensuring the water supply, of the Bay of Naples region. Attilius has been sent by Rome to replace the previous Aquarius, who has disappeared. The plot revolves around the Aqua Augusta, which has been damaged by natural phenomena.

The pace is somewhat slow in the beginning but picks up pace as it proceeds. The author introduces a number of characters, including Pliny the Elder, though they take secondary importance to the natural disaster. The narrative provides plenty of period details, showing the way of life of the residents and how much they stand to lose. Subplots relate to power, corruption, ambition, greed, romance, jealousy, and overindulgences.

Harris has created a compelling narrative, despite an ending that is already known. He maintains dramatic tension by showing the gradual build-up of pressure prior to the cataclysmic event that the reader knows is coming, but the characters do not. Both the storyline and epigraphs of each chapter are filled with history and science (volcanology, hydrology, geology). Recommended to those interested in a nature-driven survival story that educates while it entertains.
Profile Image for Kirsten McKenzie.
Author 11 books238 followers
July 6, 2021
I've been to Pompeii twice, once in 1992, and again in 2017. And I'd go again in a heartbeat. What happened in Pompeii is a valuable lesson in listening to the scientists - which we should always do! This book was a breathless romp through the Roman aqueducts, and the life giving importance of water to the townships they served. I couldn't put it down.
If you've ever visited the ruins of Pompeii, or dreamed of visiting them, then this is the book for you. Everything is so beautifully described - the roads, the excess, the trade, the normality of life. Then it's all lost. And Pliny! What a man. What an intellect. No modern man can compare.
100% recommend this book. Historical fiction at its finest.
Profile Image for Terri.
529 reviews251 followers
May 26, 2013
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 the single intent of delivering the next great International Epic Bestseller.
Pompeii certainly became an International Bestseller, but it was not really an epic. It was a story of a man - an Aquarius - and was melded with a intriguing blend of geology, volcanology and precise Roman history. Very well done, in my opinion, but no epic.

I do not know if the geological and volcanological elements would put others off, whether others may prefer a story about people only, but I happened to find them extraordinarily fascinating.
I have a feeling the book was not what some may expect. Where you may have expected a Wilbur Smith type epic - multiple characters and their lives in the lead up to the Mt Vesuvius explosion - that is not what you got.

Robert Harris gave you instead, Attilius (the all round Mr Nice Guy), an Aquarius who came to the Bay of Naples as a result of the mysterious disappearance of the former Aquarius, Exomnius, and took over the running of the Aqueducts. And for the most part, this is Attilius' story as he finds the water supply in disarray and bit by bit, clue by clue, he starts to unravel the causes. Will it be in time though? Obviously, since everyone knows what happened to Pompeii and Herculaneum, everyone will realise he cannot be in time to do anything about those disasters, but can he be in time to avert others?

I found the final third of the book to be the most compelling. The eruption and the various stages of the eruption and how it might be experienced from different places in the surrounding area. In the towns, at the base of the volcano, on the water, in the Bay. I was mesmerised by it all.
There was a moment where I thought the book perhaps could have finished and yet it went on. And there was a scene or two that seemed inserted to make the book longer as those scenes kind of tripped up the urgent momentum of the book during the eruption.
But I had to give the book 5 stars. It deserved it in my opinion. For despite its flaws, it had me at ave.

*nb: ave is a Roman hello.

Profile Image for John.
1,070 reviews76 followers
November 19, 2021
An enjoyable read. The main character Atticus a water engineer was well written. The slight romance not unplaced. Against the backdrop of the eruption of Vesuvius the aquarius must find and repair a blocked aqueduct.

Pompeii and the description of Roman life is interesting a class system built on slaves and obedience. Pliny was a great character and his stoicism captured well by Harris. The slave who became wealthy through corruption and belief was believable. The volcanic description and chronology of the eruption set against Atticus race to unblock and repair the aqueduct is tense and exciting.

The ending was a bit weak and I would have preferred a more darker ending. Overall though I will be reading more Harris novels.
Profile Image for HBalikov.
1,693 reviews628 followers
January 5, 2021
What child isn’t intrigued with their power and scared by their force?
We don’t build major population centers around them for good reason. But in ancient times, a dormant volcano was not well understood and the resorts/trade centers of Pompeii and Herculaneum became rich and populous in the shadow of Vesuvius, and Harris writes about the consequences.

This is a novel but it has much of the science of volcanic eruption that I found in Simon Winchester’s Krakatoa https://www.goodreads.com/review/show...
But, more credit to Harris, he weaves it into a plot involving a new “aquarius,” a chief engineer responsible for one of the Roman Empire’s aqueducts. The Aqua Augusta’s previous engineer has gone missing and Marcus Attilus Primus, from a long line of water engineers is persuaded to fill the gap. What he doesn’t know is that Vesuvius is about to erupt and that its early stages are responsible for the problems with the aqueduct.

We know a great deal about the lifestyles of this period of Roman history because they have been perfectly captured in the ash, etc. by the eruption. Harris creates a story of vanity, corruption, duty, honor, family and politics that brings it all into focus. 4.5*

I want to add a few quotes:

“Baths were not a luxury. Baths were the foundation of civilization. Baths were what raised even the meanest citizen of Rome above the level of the wealthiest hairy-assed barbarian. Baths instilled the triple disciplines of cleanliness, heathfulness, and strict routine. Was it not to feed the baths that the aqueducts had been invented in the first place? Had not the baths spread the Roman ethos across, Europe, Africa and Asia as effectively as the legions, so that in whatever town in this far-flung empire a man might find himself, he could at least be sure of finding this one precious piece of home?”

“While rocks are extremely strong in compression, they are weak in tension…Thus, the strength of the rocks capping a cooling and vesiculating magma body is easily exceeded long before the magma is sold. Once this happens, an explosive eruption occurs.”

“But it was not jus Pompeii’s buildings he knew. It was its people, and the mysterious working of its soul, especially at elections: five neighborhood wards – Forenses, Campanienses, Salinienses, Urbulanenses, Pagani – in each of which he had an agent: and all the craft guilds – the laundrymen, the bakers, the fishermen, the perfume makers, the goldsmiths, and the rest – again, he had them covered.”

Discoveries about Pompeii are still being made. In 2020, A fast-food eatery at Pompeii has been excavated, helping to reveal dishes that were popular for the citizens of the ancient Roman city who were partial to eating out.
“Pompeii Archaeological Park’s longtime chief, Massimo Osanna said Saturday that while some 80 such fast-foods have been found at Pompeii, it is the first time such a hot-food-drink eatery — known as a thermopolium — was completely unearthed.”

Profile Image for ESRAA MOHAMED.
629 reviews286 followers
September 17, 2021
رواية أخذت ظاهرة ثانوية من كارثة كبيرة وحولتها إلى فكرة أساسية لحدث تاريخي حدث بالفعل متوجاً ببطولة شخصيات  واقعية وخيالية أيضاً وهو ما أثار انتباهي وأعجبني ..

لتوضيح الجملة التي في الأعلى علي سرد ملخص الرواية ولن يعتبر حرق لأي حدث بغض النظر عن معرفة المعظم بكارثة بومبي وجبل الفيزوف (فيسوفيوس) عام 79 بعد الميلاد .

تبدأ الرواية بساقي شاب أتيليوس - مهندس مياه - تم انتدابه من روما للبحث في ظاهرة جفاف غريبة قد تهدد المدن القائمة على ضفاف قناة الأوغوستا ليذهب إلى ميسينوم وهي على مسافة لا بأس بها من المدينة المنكوبة بومبي، فيقرر جمع فريق عمل للبحث عن الأسباب التي أدت إلى توقف بعض القنوات الفرعية من الأوغوستا وإيجاد حل سريع لها، يعاني المهندس من كره العمال وعدم توافر أي معلومات دقيقة بخصوص القناة وذلك لاختفاء المهندس السابق في ظروف غامضة..

في البداية تشتت ذهني وداومت على الرجوع إلى الخريطة في أول الرواية كي أحاول أن أكتشف علاقة ميسينوم ببومبي فهي المدينة التي ينبغي على الكاتب توطين الأحداث بها وليس مدينة تبعد عنها وما علاقة الجفاف بثوران بركان جبل الفيزوف ؟؟! 

وظهر ذكاء المؤلف لجعلي أتابع إشارات الكارثة كأي بطل في روايته بدأت العلامات بانحسار الآبار الجوفية وظهور رائحة كبريت مثيرة للغثيان في مصادر المياه بالإضافة إلي نفوق الأسماك في فيلات الأغنياء المعتمدة على جزء من مياه القناة لضخ المياه في الأحواض..

لم يعتمد المؤلف فقط على وصف جغرافي يسلب اللب ولا على وصف اجتماعي لكل مظاهر الحياة الرومانية ليجعلني أتخيل كل شيء كأنني بينهم ولكن نجح أيضا في خلط النوايا البشرية الدنيئة والجشع والطمع المتأصلين في البشر منذ بداية الخلق، وأهداني فيلم متكامل في خيالي مع تصوير داخلي وخارجي لحركة الناس في الحياة الرومانية وردود أفعالهم تجاه الكوارث وصراعهم للبقاء لأجل الحياة..

وكانت الشخصية المحورية للشر هي أمبلياتوس العبد الذي حرر نفسه بالحيلة ومن بعدها صار يمتلك السلطة والمال واليد العليا في ميسينوم وبومبي فكان هو المحرك الرئيسي لمجلس الحكام والأغنياء من خلف الستار..

وعودة إلي المهندس أتيليوس الذي يقابل صدفة كوريليا ابنة أمبلياتوس ويقوده قدره إلى بومبي وسوء حظه يقنعه بالبحث وراء سر جبل الفيزوف والغيوم البيضاء المحيطة به وحتى عندما تسنح له فرصة الهرب والنجاة من الهول الذي وقع والجنون الذي استعر في سكان مدينتي بومبي هيركولانيوم يتخذ قرار بالرجوع لإنقاذ كوريليا من قبضة أبيها المجنون..

الشخصية الأهم بالنسبة لي كان بليني وبعد بحث صغير اكتشفت أنه كان حقيقي ويُعرف باسم بليني الأكبر وهو مؤلف كتاب التاريخ الطبيعي وكانت هذه النقطة متعة شخصية لي لإدراج شخصية تاريخية حقيقية في أحداث رواية تصف كارثة حدثت بالفعل مع شخصيات خيالية ووصف شجاعة بليني وحماسته لاستكشاف ظاهرة التجلي ( ثوران البركان ) ومحاولته إنقاذ الضحايا إلى أن مات بعد أن حققت الطبيعة وعدها له وأهدته ظاهرة لم يكن يعلم عنها شيء وكل من قام بتوثيق هذه المعلومات كان بليني الأصغر - محامي - ابن أخته والذي أيضاً ظهر في هذه الرواية..

ولذا معنى أول جملة في الريفيو : حدث في مدينة ميسينوم بداية لظاهرة جفاف مياه والتي كانت من إشارات لثوران بركان جبل الفيزوف وقام المهندس أتيليوس بمعرفة الكارثة مع الأميرال بل��ني الأكبر ولكن متأخرا مقاوما في مغامرته طمع وجشع أمبلياتوس للحصول على المياه..

عُرفت بومبي بجانب جبل الفيزوف (فيسوفيوس) بالحضارة المزدهرة وكان معظم السكان من الأثرياء ، وظهر ذلك على معالم المدينة فكانت شوارعها مرصوفة بالحجارة وبها حمامات عامة وشبكات للمياه تصل إلى البيوت بالإضافة إلي ميناء بحري متطور و مسارح وأسواق، وآثارهم أظهرت تطور بالفنون من خلال النقوش ورسومات الجدران .

وبالرغم من التطور فقد لُقبت مدينة بومبي بالمدينة التي توقف عندها الزمن و بقرية الفاحشة وذلك بسبب انتشار أفعال إباحية وفحش منتشر في العلن..

تم اكتشاف المدينة صدفة بعد دفنها ��أكثر من 17 قرن وبدأت عمليات التنقيب فيها ولكنها لم تكن كأي مدينة قديمة دُفنت نتيجة كارثة أو عوامل طبيعية فقد كانت مدينة كاملة بسكانها المتصلبين على نفس أشكالهم في آخر لحظات حياتهم فقد كشفت العمليات التنقيبية عن عدد من الجثث التي اتخذت نفس الهيئة والشكل بعد أن قام الغبار البركاني بردمهم متقولبا حول كل شخص وحولهم إلى جثث إسمنتية لذا توجد جميع الأوضاع البشرية كأنها تماثيل مصنوعة من الأحجار .

تحولت بومبي إلي مزار سياحي مع وجود بعض الأماكن للبالغين فقط لما يوجد فيها من رسومات منافية للأخلاق والآداب العامة ..

أنتجت BBC فيلم وثائقي عن كارثة بومبي باسم  Pompeii The Last Day  غير عمل سينمائي باسم Pompeii ..

وقام الفنان كارل بيرلوف بزيارة بومبي عام 1827 وتأثر لرؤية مدينة كاملة توقف عندها الزمن وبدأ بدراسة المدينة وتاريخها مستعينا بوثائق بليني ثم استغرق في رسم لوحة فنية تعبر ��ن ثوران الفيزوف لمدة ثلاث سنوات الذي استحق بسببها لقب كارل العظيم  ..

استمتعوا .. 

دمتم قراء ..❤️❤️❤️

127 reviews7 followers
December 27, 2022
Robert Harris – Pompeia

De Robert Harris li recentemente dois livros – Conclave e V2. Se com o primeiro fiquei preso pela forma minuciosa e elegante como descreveu a cúria romana e o ambiente da eleição de um Papa, no segundo, V2, senti-me digamos, traído nas expectativas que, achava eu, tinham sido demasiado altas.

Quando comecei a leitura deste “Pompeia”, publicado em 2003 e com uma primeira edição em português em 2022, fi-lo assim tempestiva e sem a promessa de uma qualquer notoriedade. Foi por isso que me pareceu a leitura ideal a iniciar enquanto cruzava o atlântico a 4.500 pés de altitude.
Na primeira página, nas notas do autor, este descreve de que forma como os romanos dividiam o dia (em duodécimas) e a noite (oito turnos), designações que habilmente usou para dar título aos vários capítulos. Assim, e logo no início me apercebi que se não abandonasse a postura depreciativa e se mantivesse o “pé atrás” rapidamente me arriscava a sucumbir à minha própria desconfiança.
E não demorei muito a baixar a guarda e deixar-me invadir pela clareza da escrita, pelas figuras de estilo, pela elegância do enredo, e principalmente conhecimento que o autor denota tanto dos assuntos da vulcanologia, como dos hábitos da vida mundana dos romanos nesse que veio posteriormente a ser conhecido como o ano 79 d.C.
Pompeia de Robert Harris, não é só um Thriller, não é só um livro ficcionado, é muito mais que isso. É um romance, bem guarnecido pelo conhecimento do autor sobre os hábitos e modo de vida dos romanos do sul da península italiana, da forma como se organizavam e geriam a água com as suas magnificas e resistentes obras de engenharia, bem como sobre a ciência e semiologia dos vulcões. Um trabalho de pesquisa notável.
E se esse deslumbramento não bastasse, brinda-nos Robert Harris nesta história ficcionada, mas plausível – podia muito bem ter sido assim, muitíssimo bem escrita e com muitos e variados pormenores, pormenores que habitualmente só são visíveis em escritores maiores.

Quando aterrei no aeroporto Lisboa tinha apenas lido algumas dezenas de páginas. Este não é um livro para se ler de supetão como se não houvesse amanhã. Como quase sempre nas coisas boas, não é para sôfregos, é para saborear.
Espero que também goste! Bon appetit.
Profile Image for Sam Quixote.
4,425 reviews12.7k followers
September 19, 2011
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 job of creating an atmosphere of anticipation in the reader. He's also done a great job at recreating the feel of living in Roman times, as well as supplying a lot of information on Roman aqueducts giving you a sense of awe and genius for the Roman Empire.

Where he falls down though is in the characterisation. Attilius, the engineer, is the hero. He's a stoic, good looking gent who sends his pay home to his mother and sister in Rome. He doesn't take bribes, he's hardworking, and is disliked for his strict attention to detail (all for the good of Rome naturally). He's so perfect in fact that he's boring. But he's not alone. A equally dreary love interest is introduced who meets the engineer no more than 3 times briefly but over the course of those 3 encounters the reader is supposed to buy that they have fallen madly in love and would die for each other. The whole reason for the engineer to rush back to Pompeii after escaping it is because of this love interest and as such everything feels very contrived.

It's this lack of convincing that stops the reader in their tracks because there's no real reason, once the eruptions start, to care what the engineer's motivations are. He's a paper thin cardboard cut out and so is his love interest. So what?

The third act also falls down. Harris does a great job of setting the scene but once Vesuvius erupts he somehow manages to make it boring. For a thriller to fail in the third act is not a good sign and I could quite easily put the book down and do anything else.

It's not a bad novel by any means it just seems trite at times which spoils the overall effect. Harris has obviously done his research, it's just a shame the same effort didn't go into making an interesting enough scenario to take place during this immense natural disaster or characters worth caring about.
Profile Image for Clemens Schoonderwoert.
1,052 reviews77 followers
November 10, 2021
Read this book in 2007, and its a most splendid standalone book about the eruption of Vesuvius, and its two main witnesses, the engineer, Marcus Attilius Primus, and the scholar and commander of the navy, Pliny.

It tells the story, which is set in August, the disaster that will take place and that will set the world around Pompeii and the Roman world on fire.

With the Roman Navy at Misenum, tourists in Baiae, Herculaneum and Pompeii, and engineer Attilius, a decent and reliable man, heads towards the aquaduct to repair it, before the reservoir runs dry.

With a promise to Pliny that repairs will be successful, not knowing what is about to happen when he gets to that place, Attilius and Pliny and many other people in that area will encounter a disaster that is unbeknown to each and everyone, and that will cost the lives of many.

What is follow is a terrific tale about the historical events about the eruption of Vesuvius and the consequences it will bring to human lives, and all this is brought to us, particularly from the views of the engineer Attilius and the scientist Pliny, in a most magnificent fashion.

Highly recommended, for this is a superb standalone novel about the Roman history about and around the eruption of Vesuvius, and that's why I like to call this book: "A Wonderful Eruption Of Vesuvius Tale"!
Profile Image for Donna.
3,831 reviews10 followers
March 19, 2017
This book was just okay for me. I liked the historical side of this. I have always found this story kind of 'sadly fascinating'. I just didn't find 'that' in this book. This wasn't particularly character driven. There was a problem with the water plaguing the area and it focused mainly on that without giving depth to the characters. There was a lot time and detail that went into this problem, but I needed that same attention to detail regarding the people. The historical part felt well done; the fiction part just didn't grab me.
Profile Image for Labijose.
926 reviews382 followers
August 25, 2017
Before he wrote “Imperium” and “Lustrum”, his two magnificent novels of the Cicero trilogy (Now available “Dictator”, the third one, which I’m eager to read), Robert Harris wrote “Pompeii”, a novel based on the historical volcano eruption during the roman era. Having visited the place a few years ago I wanted to not miss this one.
Not to the great standard as the Cicero ones, “Pompeii” is nevertheless a great read, full of realistic moments about the inferno that took place on 24 August 79 AD, through the eyes of the aqueduct builder. It feels quite real. The preface on each chapter, about volcano eruptions studies are very well interspersed, a good adition to the unfolding drama. I found the descriptions mind blowing. Yes, I enjoyed “Pompeii”, and now can’t wait to finish the Cicero final one, “Dictator”.

Profile Image for Nicky.
4,138 reviews1,003 followers
September 18, 2011
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 Pompeii. Obviously, it invents things, and I don't know nearly enough detail to know exactly what, but what I do know, for example the appearance of the explosion and the details about Pliny, seemed accurate.

Obviously, as other people have observed, there can be no suspense about whether Vesuvius will erupt or not -- spoiler: it did, and Pompeii was destroyed; that's just historical fact, like the sinking of the Titanic. But there can be atmosphere, and there are several subplots -- a romance, civic corruption, the work of the engineers on the aqueducts... These are mostly well handled, though I couldn't believe in the love story -- mostly, I felt it was spoilt by the ending, which was a bit too... easy.

Still, it's enjoyable and a fast read, and not even too fluffy. The detail and research is there.
Profile Image for Shirin T..
350 reviews35 followers
August 19, 2021
Volcanic eruption in A.D. 79 in Pompeii was beautifully and precisely described in three points of view, Roman culture, fictional story, and geological events.

با خود گفت شاید مادر طبیعت به خاطر خودخواهی و حرص و آز، قصد تنبیه ما را دارد. ما همیشه او را به وسیله آهن و چوب، و آتش و سنگ آزار میدهیم. زمینش را میکنیم و خاکش را در دریا میریزیم. دل کوه هایش را میکنیم و سنگ های معدنی اش را بیرون میکشیم. چگونه میتوان او را سرزنش کرد که گاهی از فرط خشم به خود بلرزد؟ (صفحه 224)
ترجمه ی خجسته کیهان
Profile Image for Eirini Proikaki.
327 reviews106 followers
September 5, 2017
Πάντα θαύμαζα τα ρωμαϊκά υδραγωγεία,αυτό το θαύμα της μηχανικής,και πάντα με γοήτευε η ιστορία της έκρηξης του Βεζούβιου και η θαμμένη πολιτεία της Πομπηίας.Οπότε αυτό ήταν το ιδανικό βιβλίο για μένα.
Θα πω το υπέρτατο κλισέ(δεν μπορώ να το αποφύγω) που λένε συνήθως όσοι γράφουν τις απόψεις τους για τα βιβλία που διάβασαν(όχι το "διαβάζεται απνευστί",το άλλο ): o Χάρις ,λοιπόν,ζωντανεύει την ιστορία.Σε κάνει να νιώθεις οτι είσαι εκεί,οτι περπατάς δίπλα στον Ατίλιο,ότι νιώθεις τη ζέστη,την ξηρασία,το έδαφος να δονειται κάτω απο τα πόδια σου.Βλέπεις το υδραγωγείο,τις κολώνες του,τα τούνελ του ,ακούς τη βουή του νερού.Περπατάς στους πολύβουους δρόμους της Πομπηίας και ανεβαίνεις στον Βεζούβιο.
Οι περιγραφές του είναι εξαιρετικές και δεν γίνονται ποτέ κουραστικές.Και όταν φτάνει η ώρα της έκρηξης ψάχνεις μέρος να κρυφτείς.
Η ιστορία είναι απλή:ο Ατίλιος έρχεται απο τη Ρώμη για να αντικαταστήσει τον προηγούμενο υπεύθυνο του Υδραγωγείου που έχει εξαφανιστεί μυστηριωδώς.Βρίσκει τους εργαζόμενους εκεί λίγο εχθρικούς απέναντι του αλλά πριν προλάβει καλά καλά να τακτοποιηθεί αρχίζουν τα προβλήματα.Η ξηρασία είναι έντονη και το ζωτικής σημασίας σύστημα ύδρευσης αρχίζει να στερεύει και χιλιάδες κόσμος μένει χωρίς νερό.Ο Ατίλιος πρέπει να βρει τη βλάβη και να την επιδιορθώσει άμεσα την ώρα που κάποιοι ραδιουργούν εναντίον ��ου.Εντωμεταξύ ο Βεζούβιος στέλνει κι άλλα σημάδια για το τι πρόκειται να συμβεί (ψάρια ψοφάνε,το νερό μυρίζει θειάφι,η γη δονείται)αλλά κανείς,ούτε καν ο γνωστός συγγραφέας και φυσιοδίφης Πλίνιος,δεν κατάφερε να προβλέψει την καταστροφή εγκαιρως.Ή μήπως οχι;Πού εξαφανίστηκε ο πρώην υπεύθυνος του Υδραγωγείου;
Πολύ ωραίο βιβλίο,διαβάζεται εύκολα κι ευχάριστα και πραγματικα το απόλαυσα.Έχει και την αμερικανιά του ,απο ένα σημείο και μετά θυμίζει ταινία καταστροφής αλλά in a good way.Το αρνητικό του είναι οτι οι χαρακτήρες δεν έχουν ιδιαίτερο βάθος,περισσότερο υπάρχουν για να εξυπηρετούν την πλοκή και νομίζω οτι οι πραγματικοί πρωταγωνιστές του βιβλίου είναι ο Βεζούβιος και η Aqua Augusta το εντυπωσιακό σύστημα ύδρευσης του κόλπου της Νάπολης.
Profile Image for Omaira.
715 reviews117 followers
September 21, 2022
El título del libro debería ser “Aqua Augusta”, pues ese acueducto es lo que más importa. Tanto Pompeya como el volcán tienen poca relevancia, así que creo que el título solo tenía un fin comercial. A pesar de todo, la lectura no empieza mal, lo que pasa es que posteriormente va decayendo.

El protagonista principal es Atilio, el aguador encargado del mantenimiento del acueducto. A raíz de la muerte de unos salmonetes y de unas alteraciones en el flujo del agua, Atilio comenzará a notar que algo raro está pasando, aunque lo que no se imagina es el final de todas las anomalías que van surgiendo. El acueducto, su estructura y todo lo que pasa con la dichosa agua, eso es lo que centra la atención. Ojo, al principio no está nada mal conocer información sobre el sistema de abastecimiento de agua de esa época, pero llega un punto en el que todo eso va resultando muy repetitivo.

Más allá de lo del acueducto, no hay muchas más subtramas. Encontramos un pequeño romance que no tiene mucha base y una conspiración insulsa que resulta casi ridícula por lo improvisada que es. Creo que la mayoría de los que se lancen con esta novela sabrán lo que ocurrió en Pompeya, así que es inevitable pasarse la lectura esperando a que eso cobre importancia. Lamentablemente, ese asunto apenas ocupa las últimas 60 páginas (mi edición tenía 307 en total) y ni siquiera impresiona la forma de narrarlo. Ahí yo solo quería acabar y hasta veía que no se daban datos muy variados de lo sucedido.

El libro tiene un ritmo muy lento, aunque es cierto que es soportable. No es excesivamente descriptivo y es tolerable, pero llega un punto en el que la lectura acaba cansando porque siempre estamos hablando de lo mismo. Más que aburrirme, el problema fue que la indiferencia pudo conmigo porque ni siquiera notaba el dramatismo de los acontecimientos más duros. Y luego estaba el hecho de que que, sin venir mucho a cuento, al autor le daba por destacar pequeños rollitos sexuales de algunos personajes, lo cual sobraba porque no era un elemento clave de cara a desarrollar ningún aspecto de la trama.

El cierre no me aportó nada, sencillamente fue lo esperado. Tal vez hubiera estado mejor un último capítulo analizando la tragedia de Pompeya, pero supongo que hasta hubiera quedado forzado teniendo en cuenta lo secundario que parecía ese tema.

No le pongo la mínima puntuación porque no fue una lectura insufrible. La verdad es que simplemente no fue lo que esperaba y no le vi nada muy digno de destacar.
Profile Image for Cherie.
1,270 reviews110 followers
August 25, 2015

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 system called the Aqua Augusta was well written and a poignant human interest addition to the character at the center of the action.
Profile Image for Nancy.
277 reviews42 followers
October 16, 2011
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 harness and move water around was one of their special talents. Marcus Atillius sets out from Miseneum, the terminus of the great Aqua Augusta, to find out what has caused the water to become sulfurous, then to stop flowing altogether, in the towns that rely on the aqueduct. He eventually works his way to the source of the problem in the foothills of Mt. Vesuvius. Along the way he encounters a cross-section of Roman characters - senators, slaves, freedmen, citizens, businessmen, even an ex-gladiator. My favorite character is the historical figure, Pliny, the great ancient Roman naturalist and scholar. He had himself rowed out from Miseneum, where he could have observed the disaster in comparative safety, as close as possible to witness and record events as the mountain exploded, drawn by curiosity and a kind of amazing fearlessness. He became trapped and died along the shores of Stabiae and was buried beneath the falling ash and pumice. Like with Pliny's death, we know what will happen next in this book, but Harris still makes it suspenseful.
Profile Image for George Ilsley.
Author 13 books208 followers
September 15, 2022
Thought this historical fiction was pretty good until I arrived at the anomalous line about global warming.

Really jarring. Dropped a star just for that.

Note: this comment is not directed at the concept of global warming. It is aimed at the use of those words at the time of the destruction of Pompeii.
Profile Image for فهد الفهد.
Author 1 book4,725 followers
June 1, 2011

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 معهم علاقة عاطفية مبكرة، ويتفاعل مع معاناتهم فيما بعد.

فكرت بهذا وأنا أفرغ من رواية الكاتب الإنجليزي روبرت هاريس (بومبي) والتي تناولت كارثة مدينة بومبي التي ضربها بركان جبل فيزوف في الرابع والعشرين من أغسطس سنة 79 م، مدمرا ً ودافنا ً إياها مع من بقي من سكانها.

ما الذي ميز كارثة بومبي عن الكثير من الكوارث البركانية المماثلة؟ أمرين الأول هو أنها كانت كارثة منسية، حيث طوت الأرض المدينة وبقاياها لألفي عام حتى لحظة الكشف الأثري لها في القرن الثامن عشر، الأمر الثاني هو أن التنقيب الأثري لم يكشف فقط عن خرائب بومبي، وإنما عن شيء آخر أكثر إثارة، أجساد سكانها وقد تجمدوا بذات الوضعيات التي كانوا عليها في لحظاتهم الأخيرة، بهذا الكشف قفزنا زمنيا ً إلى لحظة الكارثة، إلى اليوم الأخير والدقائق الأخيرة قبل أن تطمر بومبي بالمقذوفات البركانية والرماد، اقترب إنسان العصر الحديث كثيرا ً من تلكم الكارثة، أقرب من أي كارثة أخرى، وصار يمكنه أن يعيد تركيبها ومشاهدتها – وهذا ما فعلته قناة الـ BBC في فيلمها الوثائقي (Pompeii: The Last Day) حيث تم تركيب قصة درامية تحاول الاستفادة من وضعيات الجثث في تركيب قصة ذلك اليوم، حيث نشاهد أسرة تتجمع حول ابنتها الحامل، وسيدة غنية هربت إلى منزل مجالدين وماتت هناك -.

كانت هذه بومبي المدينة والكارثة والآن لنتحدث عن بومبي الرواية.

لا تبدأ رواية بومبي لروبرت هاريس في بومبي بل في مدينة ميسينيوم التي تقع على الجهة المقابلة من خليج نابولي، عند عنق الحذاء الإيطالي، وكل تلكم المدن المتقاربة بومبي، ميسينيوم، هيراكولوم، أوبلونتس، ستابيي ونولا كانت مدن رومانية، تابعة لسلطة القيصر الروماني حينها تيتوس، وكانت كلها تحصل على المياه من القناة المائية (أكوا أوغوستا) التي أنشأها الإمبراطور أغسطس.

يصل إلى مدينة ميسينيوم المهندس – يلقب بالساقي في ذلكم - (ماركوس أتيليوس بريموس) قادما ً من روما، ليتولى مسئولية القناة خلفا ً للساقي السابق اكزومينوس الذي اختفى فجأة.

هذه المهمة تواجه اختبارها الأول سريعا ً حيث تبدأ المياه في النضوب من الخزان الرئيسي لمسينيوم، مترافقة مع رائحة كبريت، عندها ينطلق أتيليوس مع فريق من تابعيه للبحث عن سبب هذا العطل بعدما توقع وفقا ً لأخبار سمعها من بعض القادمين إلى ميسينيوم أن موقع العطل قريب من مدينة بومبي، هذه المهمة التي تبدو روتينية تتم في اليوم السابق لكارثة بومبي، وتمنح أتيليوس وتمنحنا وتمنح الكاتب فرصة استعراض مدينة بومبي في أيامها الأخيرة، حيث نكتشف حجم الفساد السياسي والمالي للمدينة، وسيطرة إمبلياتوس على مجلس المدينة، وهو عبد سابق أعتقه سيده وأثرى بعد الزلزال الأخير الذي ضرب المدينة قبل سنوات، حيث بقي إمبلياتوس وقام ببناء المدينة من جديد مستخدما ً كل الأساليب الممكنة، وأحد هذه الأساليب كان الحصول على المياه الرخيصة من القناة، عن طريق صفقة كان قد أبرمها مع الساقي السابق اكزومينوس، ولكن مع اختفاء هذا الأخير، واحتلال أتيليوس منصبه، يعرض عليه إمبلياتوس الصفقة ذاتها، يرفض أتيليوس العرض بأنفة، فيمده إمبلياتوس بالمساعدة التي يحتاجها في مهمة إصلاح القناة ولكنه يخطط في الوقت نفسه للقضاء عليه بعد إنجاز المهمة.

ينطلق أتيليوس ويتمكن من إصلاح القناة بمساعدة تابعيه والعبيد الذين قدمهم له إمبلياتوس، ولأن موقع العطل كان قريبا ً من جبل فيزوف يكونون شهودا ً على بداية ثورة البركان، حيث يهرع العبيد عائدين إلى بومبي ترافقهم كوريليا ابنة إمبلياتوس والتي كانت قد فرت من منزل والدها الذي يحاول إجبارها على الزواج من ابن مالكه السابق وعضو مجلس المدينة، وجاءت إلى أتيليوس لتنذره مما يضمره والدها له، ولكن أتيليوس يقنعها بالعودة إلى المنزل وقبول حياتها رغم مشاعره تجاهها، يتعرض أتيليوس بعد هذا لمحاولة قتل ينجو منها، فيعود إلى مدينة ميسينوم حيث قائد الأسطول الروماني والمؤرخ العجوز المهتم بالطبيعيات بليني والذي يقود حملة إنقاذ، مصطحبا ً معه كاتبه، مقدما ً وصفا ً شاملا ً للحادثة، جعلت ذلكم الشكل من الانفجار البركاني يسمى الآن في علم البراكين بالثوران البليني، حملة بليني تفشل سريعا ً، وتجنح السفن التي جاء بها إلى مدينة ستابيي وتكون نهاية بليني هناك، ولكن وصفه والأوراق التي كتبها عبده خلال الرحلة تصل إلى يد ابن أخت بليني والمعروف تاريخيا ً باسم بليني الأصغر.

يغادر أتيليوس - قبل هذه النهاية الحزينة لبليني - الحم��ة عائدا ً إلى بومبي على قدميه مخاطرا ً بحياته، كل هذا لينقذ كوريليا من المصير الذي ساقها إليه بكلماته ونصائحه، وبالفعل يلتقي بها هناك والمدينة تعيش الكارثة بتفاصيلها المرعبة، وينجح في إنقاذها من جنون والدها الذي احتجز العائلة كلها في مشروع الحمامات العامة الذي كان يقيمه مراهنا ً على أن المدينة ستنجو من هذه الأزمة كما نجت من أزمة الزلزال السابق، وأنه سيعود منتصرا ً وغنيا ً مرة أخرى، ينهي هاريس روايته بأسطورة نلمح منها إمكانية نجاة أتيليوس وكوريليا وخروجهما سالمين من بومبي باستخدام القناة المائية.

الرواية فاقت توقعاتي بقوتها، وأسرتني فيها شخصيات أتيليوس وبليني، حتى شخصية إمبلياتوس الكريهة رسمها هاريس بطريقة ذكية ورائعة، للأسف لم تترجم لهذا الروائي أي روايات أخرى، رغم أن له عدد لا بأس به منها، وخاصة في الجانب التاريخي، فله مثلا ً:

- رواية (Fatherland 1992): وهي من روايات التاريخ البديل، حيث يتخيل الكاتب كيف سيكون العالم لو أن ألمانيا النازية انتصرت في الحرب العالمية الثانية، الرواية كانت من الروايات الأفضل مبيعا ً في بريطانيا بثلاثة ملايين نسخة.
- (Archangel 1998): عن مذكرات ستالين المفقودة.
- (The Ghost 2007): وهي رواية غموض سياسية حولت إلى فيلم بعنوان (The Ghost Writer 2010) أخرجه رومان بولانسكي، وأداه إيوان مكريجور، وبيرس بروسنان.
- وأخيرا ً ثلاثيته عن الخطيب الروماني شيشرون والتي صدر منها حتى الآن جزأين هما (Imperium 2006) و (Lustrum/Conspirata 2009)

Profile Image for Lady Clementina ffinch-ffarowmore.
732 reviews159 followers
October 22, 2020
This is a piece of historical fiction with a mix of mostly fictional but also some real historical figures set in the backdrop of the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in AD 79. Marcus Attilius Primus is a young engineer sent to take charge of the Aqua Augusta, one of the largest and most complex aqueduct systems in ancient Rome that supplied water to nine cities. The previous aquarius, Exominius has vanished without a trace, and there are problems creeping up with the water supply, from the sulphurous smells in the water to the supply literally drying up in some cities. Marcus, who comes from a family of engineers, is keen to restore the aqueduct to normal, and traces the source of the problem to Vesuvius. Corelia a slave-turned-millionaire’s daughter meanwhile seeks Marcus’ help when the water in their home kills her father’s prized fish and a slave is unfairly blamed. Alongside we have the historical Pliny the elder, serving as admiral but also a naturalist and philosopher interested in all manner of natural phenomena, who Marcus turns to for aid when he realises he must reach Pompeii without delay. In this quest become woven the stories of Corelia, her father Ampliatus and his (so-called) friends, and also Pliny. Pompeii is decadent and corrupt, and Marcus’ seemingly straightforward mission soon becomes surrounded with intrigue and conspiracies, putting his life in danger. Meanwhile in the background Vesuvius is preparing to erupt—our story begins two days before the eruption and continues through the eruption and its immediate aftermath.

This is an exciting tale that pretty much has it all—mystery, adventure, danger (from people and nature), a touch of romance, and also manages to give the reader a picture of life in the time period, and the disaster that nature is about to unleash. Throughout the book, while Marcus is tracing the source of the aqueduct’s problems and alongside looking into his predecessor’s mysterious disappearance (and battling his newly acquired enemies), one finds one is constantly thinking of the much bigger disaster looming in the background, which makes these ‘smaller’ events seem almost insignificant—the author certainly manages to get us to be constantly aware of the real reason behind some of the things that are happening which our characters don’t realise until the explosion. Each chapter begins with quotes from volcanology texts which add to this feeling. I enjoyed the entire historical context, how the author wove Pliny’s real-life story in with the stories of our characters, and the picture of the decadent and corrupt city which Pompeii would have been when these events played out. Also the description of the eruption itself—how it would have been experienced by those who were there—people being pelted with pumice endlessly and the scorching (far worse) winds that followed, more deadly than the eruption itself. The stories of the fictional characters too I enjoyed following though as other reviewers have also noted, the characters themselves were perhaps too black and white. Still, this made for an enjoyable read overall.
Profile Image for Bruce.
1,311 reviews17 followers
August 26, 2008
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 beautiful daughter who appeals to Attilius for help.

There’s trouble bubbling up for our hero, and it’s not just political corruption, bribes, missing persons, and bad plumbing. There’s something very strange about the high, flat-topped mountain close to the aqueduct. Odd rumblings, strange gases, and earth tremors have been coming from Vesuvius in the past few days.

This is a disaster thriller that will keep you flipping the pages late into the night. Will the hero be able to save the heroine, or will she need to save him, or is everyone going to end up toast in the explosive conclusion?
Profile Image for Fiona.
806 reviews421 followers
July 9, 2016
4.5 stars. Not 5 because there were one or two frankly cheesy bits!

Robert Harris brings the eruption of Vesuvius to life in this account which starts 3 days beforehand when the signs were there for anyone with sufficient knowledge to recognise. Sadly, few were in that position but thanks to Pliny's eye witness account, the knowledge was made available to future generations. This is a fascinating account of the build up to the eruption, with each chapter headed by a quote from a scientific journal explaining what was happening inside the mountain. By the final chapters, we were caught in the showers of rock and pumice battering and burying the population. It then took half a minute or less for those who had survived the rock showers to be choked by a cloud of gas and ash that came rolling off the mountain which is why their bodies were entombed in positions of flight and fear. An exhausting read but an edifying and exciting one. Highly recommended.
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