Reader reviews and comments on Pompeii, plus links to write your own review.

Summary |  Excerpt |  Reading Guide |  Reviews |  Readalikes |  Genres & Themes |  Author Bio

Pompeii

by Robert Harris

Pompeii by Robert Harris
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

  • First Published:
    Nov 2003, 304 pages
    Paperback:
    Oct 2004, 368 pages

  • Rate this book


Buy This Book

About this Book

Reviews

Page 1 of 1
There are currently 2 reader reviews for Pompeii
Order Reviews by:

Write your own review!

Alan (08/27/08)

The Lost 40 Pages
Straight out of The Titanic stable (if there is chaos, go to it!). This is a cumbersome read, weighted down by a onslaught of detail ('realism') that works hard to disguise the incredible plot devices. As if that wasn't bad, there are no less than 40 pages missing in my copy...surely not the only one!
Jon Paul (02/01/05)

Harris has been working the historical fiction vein for a number of years now, but only with Pompeii has he finally hit his stride. The work is a seamless blend of good plotting, excellent character writing, and exciting action. As with both Enigma and Archangel, Harris grounds his plot in real events, setting during the last four days before the historic erruption of the volcano in CE 79. But this novel marks a distinct advance on Harris' ability to get inside the lives and cultures of other times and places, thus, his immersion of the reader in the reality of the Roman empire is so well done, that you quickly forget the imminence of the erruption, and get deeply involved in the lives of the various characters.

For his central character, Harris has chosen a Roman engineer, Attilius, whose job it is to keep the aqueducts working so that running water can be supplied to all the cities along the Bay of Naples. Against the background of the coming erruption, he struggles with the obduracy of both municipal politics and the materials of his craft. And that's all I can say without giving away too much. To be honest, I don't mind ommitting the details of the plot, interesting as they are, because what interested me was more the sense of lived life with which Harris infuses his novel.

In his previous works, perhaps a little too much turned on spectacular villainy. In Enigma, it was nefarious Nazis in the heart of the Allies' code-breaking effort and a love that had turned sour; in Archangel, a psychotic son of a psychotic father, with an ending almost like one of a dozen "serial killer" fantasies – and really, the truly mad are not very interesting, and mad murderers the least interesting of all. In Pompeii, however, Harris has written a realistic novel about ordinary people caught up in extraordinary events, and the two play off against one another excellently well. It's the quotidian nature of the setting, it's everyday municipal reality, that highlights the extraordinary intrusion, and which allows Harris to exhibit his gifts as a writer of characters. There are no cardboard villains here, and no unbelievable heroes, just people reacting to the events around them. And what events.

I'll say no more. If you're a Harris fan, get this one and read it; Harris is continuing to develop and grow as a writer. I look foward to his next.
  • Page
  • 1

Support BookBrowse

Become a Member and discover books that entertain, engage & enlighten!

Join Today!

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket: Hillbilly Elegy
    Hillbilly Elegy
    by J.D. Vance
    In this illuminating memoir, Vance recounts his trajectory from growing up a "hillbilly" in ...
  • Book Jacket: The Dark Flood Rises
    The Dark Flood Rises
    by Margaret Drabble
    Margaret Drabble, the award-winning novelist and literary critic who is approaching eighty and ...
  • Book Jacket: All Our Wrong Todays
    All Our Wrong Todays
    by Elan Mastai
    You need a great deal of time to read All Our Wrong Todays, but don't let that put you off. ...

Book Discussion
Book Jacket
The Atomic Weight of Love
by Elizabeth J. Church

In the spirit of The Aviator's Wife, this resonant debut spans from World War II through the Vietnam War.

About the book
Join the discussion!

First Impressions

  • Book Jacket

    Our Short History
    by Lauren Grodstein

    Lauren Grodstein breaks your heart, then miraculously pieces it back together so it's stronger, than before.
    Reader Reviews

  • Book Jacket

    Lola
    by Melissa Scrivner Love

    An astonishing debut crime thriller about an unforgettable woman.
    Reader Reviews

Who Said...

When an old man dies, a library burns to the ground.

Click Here to find out who said this, as well as discovering other famous literary quotes!

Word Play

Solve this clue:

O My D B

and be entered to win..

Books that     
entertain,
     engage

 & enlighten

Visitors can view some of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only.

Join Today!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends books that we believe to be best in class. Books that will whisk you to faraway places and times, that will expand your mind and challenge you -- the kinds of books you just can't wait to tell your friends about.

 
Modal popup -