Author: Robert Harris
Information in Goodreads: Yes
Available in My Library: Not yet
This book is from those, which reminds us about the problem, that we are wasting so much time in sleeping, instead of using it to read fascinating and interesting stories like the one described in “Pompeii” 🙂
WARNING, THIS PARAGRAPH UNVEIL THE BOOK’S PLOT: The plot is laid in 79 AD in the ancient city of Pompeii and its surroundings, a few days before the colossal eruption of the Vesuvius volcano. The main character, young aquarius (hydraulic engineer in the Roman Empire, who was in charge of an aqueduct) in the Pompeii surroundings. He has to find out why the aqueducts in the area have run dry and the cities around Pompeii remain without water. While looking for the problem, he stumbles on the issue with Vesuvius eruption. He outlive the eruption, witnessing the burning to ashes the entire city. Of course, there is a romantic story, but it is presented in a discrete manner, and it rather enrich the plot, than to be bother the reader during the reading. 🙂
What I liked in the book is the dynamism of the plot, complexity of the background on which the action is laid (from historical/political/social/architectural point of view), the authenticity of the historical facts and the additional information related to the aqueducts and volcanology as well.
Maybe for the dynamism of the plot contributes the presenting of the main character’s actions on the background with the processes which evolve in the volcano before and during the eruption. Although I’d been read a lot about the tragedy in Popmeii, it was interesting to find more new facts about what happened.
It turned out that the author uses classical and contemporary scientific works in the area of the volcanology, architecture, archaeology, politology, social science, history of the Antiquity and Roman Empire, as well as quotes from many literary/philosophical works from the Antiquity (before to understand about that I managed to distinguish some Seneca’s quotes). Likewise, he has consulted with many experts in the aforementioned areas, which (in my opinion) makes the book highly valuable starting point, for research in various interesting directions as: aqueduct architecture; volcanology (and its relation to the fluid mechanics); evolution of the political system in the Roman Empire; the works of Pliny the Elder etc.
It’s awfully interesting the description of the Roman’s acueducts construction and working mechanisms. So far I haven’t been read anything about them, but it turned out that this is one of the areas in which the Romans were unsurpassed at the time being.
In the plot are woven many interesting facts about the Roman’s homes and cities, as well as their habits, society rules, which additionally enrich the picture, which the author creates.
If one hasn’t read in advance about Pompeii and the volcano eruption stages, (s)he could misunderstand some of the author’s allusions (e.g. the vesicles found in the volcanic ash, which remained from the dead bodies during the eruption).