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Pompeii by Robert Harris

About the book

A sweltering week in late August. Where better to enjoy the last days of summer than on the beautiful Bay of Naples? But even as Rome’s richest citizens relax in their villas around Pompeii and Herculaneum, there are ominous warnings that something is going wrong. Wells and springs are failing, a man has disappeared, and now the greatest aqueduct in the world – the mighty Aqua Augusta – has suddenly ceased to flow. Through the eyes of four characters – a young engineer, an adolescent girl, a corrupt millionaire and an elderly scientist – Robert Harris brilliantly recreates a luxurious world on the brink of destruction.

Reviewed by U3A Book Group 4:

We all loved this book. It taught us more about Pompeii and was so well researched you could almost feel you were there. It is very rare for us all to agree and like a book so much and yet want to discuss it in depth.

Star rating: ****

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6 thoughts on “Pompeii by Robert Harris”

  1. Review by Enjoying Books Reading Group:
    We were rather divided about this book! We all appreciated the depth of research but after that others were bored with the pedantic prose whilst others were fascinated.
    Star rating: ** to ***

  2. Review by New Forest/Waterside U3A theatre and literature Reading Group:
    A book marked with the stamp of the journalist and none the worse for it. Convincingly researched and presented, the technical details had the piercing simplicity of Vitruvius and Harris has clothed Pliny with just enough modernity to make the book acceptable for todays reader. The group discussion ranged widely to match the extent of human behaviour portrayed and evoked a mixture of responses. The one certainty was that it was a great read. Readers not yet into the wealth of fiction dealing with Roman civilisation were set off in new directions by veteran Romanists.
    Star rating: ****

  3. Review by Gosport Bookworms:
    A wonderful read, fast and gripping. Harris’ writing style is very straightforward, no frills and this makes the novel all the more real and the events so terrible. Our group read it during the Icelandic volcano ash problem. How coincidental is that!
    Star rating: ****

  4. Review by Boaters Book Club:
    It was considered riveting, full of intrigue and emotion with good visuals and very descriptive of life then and historical aspects especially the banquets, the aqueduct, diarist and corruption. The characters and their names were enjoyed. The ending was not liked by all and it was compared to a docudrama.
    Star rating: ***+

  5. Review by Romsey Abbey Reading Circle
    The author has weaved a romantic story around the events of the volcanic eruption. Using authentic accounts and with careful research he makes the reader feel as it he/she were there. He also gives insight into the local politics of the time. An excellent read.
    Rating: ****

  6. Enjoyed by the whole group, not a common event. A painless way to learn about Pompeii, aqueducts and the sleazier side of Roman life. Who knew that aqueducts could be so interesting. A pity history lessons at school were not given by Robert Harris.
    Star rating 4

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