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Michael Cumpsty

5 Hours 44 Minutes

Random House (Audio)

November 2003

Audio Book Summary

Ancient Rome is the setting for the superb new novel from Robert Harris, author of the number one bestsellers Fatherland, Enigma and Archangel.

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.

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  • Anonymous

    A unique look at the ancient disaster. I really enjoyed the story and the history of the event.

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  • Anonymous

    So enjoyable, I wished it were longer. May have to get the unabridged book. Couldn't be too many Roman titles for me. Love em. The narrator was great. I think he was having a lot of fun with the names. The aqueduct description was fascinating. And I felt the blast from Vesuvius. Can't wait for the film.

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  • Bonnie

    Probably better to read than to listen to. I found it too distracting to keep track of the long Roman names of people and places. The history was interesting but the love story was boring. I would have liked more time devoted to the eruption and aftermath than just part of the last disc. This book didn't keep me riveted and anticipating my next drive in the car.

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  • Anonymous

    Thoroughly trite...a love story transparently superimposed on a not very detailed account of the Pompeii natural disaster. So not worth the time.

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  • Lee Werley

    I was glad to read this. It gave me a historical perpective and it was a nice change from all of the murder mysteries. Nicely written.

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  • Kathy

    This was not exactly a thriller, but it was fascinating and kept us curious and interested from beginning to end. I would recommend it to anyone interested in history.

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