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Publisher's Summary

All along the Mediterranean coast, the Roman Empire's richest citizens are relaxing in their luxurious villas, enjoying the last days of summer. But the carefree lifestyle and gorgeous weather belie an impending cataclysm, and only one man is worried. The young engineer Marcus Attilius 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 of Naples. His predecessor has disappeared. Springs are failing for the first time in generations. 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. Attilius promises Pliny, the famous scholar who commands the navy, that he can repair the aqueduct before the reservoir runs dry. His plan is to travel to Pompeii and put together an expedition, then head out to the place where he believes the fault lies. But Pompeii proves to be a corrupt and violent town, and Attilius soon discovers that there are powerful forces at work threatening to destroy him.
With his trademark elegance and intelligence, Robert Harris, best-selling author of Archangel and Fatherland, re-creates a world on the brink of disaster.
©2003 Robert Harris (P)2003 Books On Tape, Inc.
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Critic Reviews

"Harris' volcanology is well researched, and the plot...keeps this impressive novel moving along toward its exciting finale." (Publishers Weekly)
"With rich historical details and scientific minutiae, Harris vividly brings to life the ancient world on the brink of unspeakable disaster." (Booklist)
"Brilliantly done. Explosive stuff, indeed." (Daily Telegraph
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
5 out of 5 stars
By Marty-Seattle on 12-11-03

Brought my visit to Pompeii back to life

A good yarn that made me wonder all the way through, on what was history and what was fiction. Made me feel very much involved. I just visited Pompeii in October and what I saw there jived completely with the story. The bars, houses, half-restored temple, arena, whorehouses, baths and street layouts all meshed perfectly. The story flows well and kept me entertained and fascinated. The engineering described in the book is amazing ...as it is, in person! The research for this book must have taken a year or more! This was my 6th audio book and the best yet.

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61 of 62 people found this review helpful

5 out of 5 stars
By Charles on 12-02-03

We know the ending

And that doesn't hurt the story-telling at all.
Fine mystery and suspense woven around real characters of the period. A peek at a society not so different from ours. In the best tradition of Falco and Gordianus. (Whose stories I wish were here too)

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74 of 76 people found this review helpful

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