Pompeii - Robert Harris

Brian G Turner

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The opening two scenes felt a little slow to me - but since then it's been whizzing along. Never been so enthralled by a story about a water engineer!

His use of prose to convey historical detail is masterful - enough to allow a picture, but nothing so detailed as to detract from the pace.
 

kythe

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I read this book a couple of years ago and really enjoyed it. I thought it was a well paced story with engaging characters that really make history come to life. I found that I learned from this book as well, both about technology developed and the daily living of people of that time and place. Roman science was very advanced, but their society was based on social inequality. The author seems to have really done his research to make the story as accurate as possible.
 

MWagner

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I thoroughly enjoyed Pompeii. Robert Harris is one of those writers who sweep you up and make you keenly interested in subjects you have little knowledge of. And when it comes to his prose, he does a lot with very little ornament or artifice. Just a first-rate writer, and one underrated by those who turn up their nose at bestsellers. Fiction that reads so effortlessly takes tremendous skill. He's a testament to the skills (exposition, clarity, clean prose) that a seasoned journalist brings to the table as a novelist.

Have you read his Cicero books? They're cracking political thrillers that sacrifice nothing in historical authenticity or psychological depth.
 

Bugg

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Have you read his Cicero books? They're cracking political thrillers that sacrifice nothing in historical authenticity or psychological depth.

Ditto to this - although I managed to read Lustrum before realising it was the second book :whistle: Still loved it, though.

I really enjoyed Pompeii, too :)
 

Bugg

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LOL, yeah, it's a bit like the people who were shocked that the Titanic sank at the end of the movie :D
 

Toby Frost

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I enjoyed Pompeii, but I didn’t like it as much as either Fatherland or The Ghost. The only other novel of his that I’ve read, Archangel, was a mixed bag: while I thought it portrayed the corruption of Russia very convincingly, “Stalin” seemed slightly absurd and it felt like a weaker re-treading of Fatherland. I should probably have a look at his other Roman novels.
 

Brian G Turner

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I should probably have a look at his other Roman novels.

Imperium is a superb book, the first in a trilogy about Cicero.

I was expecting something dull and heavy, and after the mauling Cicero got under Colleen McCullough, I really never expected to like the character at all.

But Robert Harris pulls it all off beautifully, and I can't wait to read the next two books, Lustrum and Dictator.
 

MWagner

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I was expecting something dull and heavy, and after the mauling Cicero got under Colleen McCullough, I really never expected to like the character at all.

One of the things I enjoy most about historical fiction is the different portraits authors paint of historical figures. Alexander, Augustus, Claudius, Alfred the Great, Cleopatra, Richard Lionheart. Heroes, visionary leaders, ruthless schemers, power-mad tyrants. I've come across some hagiographies of Caesar, and they don't ring true to the historical sources. I find Harris' Caesar - brilliant, arrogant, cold, consumed by ambition - wholly believable. And his Cicero, too, rings true compared with the caricature in the Rome TV series (I haven't got to far enough in McCullough's series to judge).
 

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