Where else to enjoy the last days of summer than on the beautiful Bay of Naples. All along the coast, the Roman Empire's richest citizens are relaxing in their luxurious villas. 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.
Only one man is worried. The engineer Marius 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. Springs are failing for the first time in generations. His predecessor has disappeared. 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. Marius -- decent, practical, incorruptible -- promises Pliny, the famous scholar who commands the navy, that he can repair the aqueduct before the reservoir runs dry. But as he heads out towards Vesuvius he is about to discover there are forces that even the world's only superpower can't control.
Pompeii recreates in spellbinding detail one of the most famous natural disasters of all time. And by focusing on the characters of an engineer and a scientist, it offers an entirely original perspective on the Roman world.
From the Hardcover edition.
'Robert Harris's Pompeii is his best yet: as explosive as Etna, as addictive as a thriller, as satisfying as great history' Simon Sebag Montefiore, 'Books of the Year', Daily Telegraph 20031017
Blazingly exciting... Harris, as Vesuvius explodes, gives full vent to his genius for thrilling narrative... pulse-rate-speeding masterpieces of suffocating suspense and searing action Sunday Times Breakneck pace, constant jeopardy and subtle twists of plot... a blazing blockbuster Daily Mail Harris has done a tremendous job in evoking life in ancient Italy... I am lost in admiration at his energy and skill Mail on Sunday The long drawn-out death agony of the two cities is brilliantly done. Explosive stuff indeed Daily Telegraph Robert Harris's Pompeii is his best yet: as explosive as Etna, as addictive as a thriller, as satisfying as great history Daily Telegraph Gripping, topical and dauntingly intelligent Sunday Times A stunning novel... The subtlety and power of its construction holds our attention to the end The Times A whole community, buried in volcanic ash 2000 years ago, has been brought to life... Stirring and absorbing Sunday Telegraph A supremely good piece of storytelling, most impressively researched Guardian
Robert Harris is the author of Fatherland, Enigma, Archangel, Pompeii, Imperium and The Ghost, all of which were international bestsellers. His latest novel, Lustrum, has just been published. His work has been translated into thirty-seven languages. After graduating with a degree in English from Cambridge University, he worked as a reporter for the BBC's Panorama and Newsnight programmes, before becoming political editor of the Observer and subsequently a columnist on the Sunday Times and the Daily Telegraph. The film of The Ghost - for which he co-wrote the screenplay - directed by Roman Polanski and starring Ewan McGregor and Pierce Brosnan is due to be released at the beginning of 2010. He is married to Gill Hornby and they live with their four children in a village near Hungerford.