ISBN: 0812974611
ISBN 13: 9780812974614
By: Robert Harris

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About this book

All along the Mediterranean coast, the Roman empire’s richest citizens are relaxing in their luxurious villas, enjoying the last days of summer. 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.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—decent, practical, and incorruptible—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—both natural and man-made—threatening to destroy him.With his trademark elegance and intelligence, Robert Harris, bestselling author of Archangel and Fatherland, re-creates a world on the brink of disaster.From the Hardcover edition.

Reader's Thoughts


I'm always curious how an author (or a director in the case of Titanic) is going to take a situation about whose tragic outcome we are already aware and attempt to render it nevertheless suspenseful and narratively driving, and Robert Harris succeeds here beyond all expectation. In terms of books that have made an indelible impression on my memory in the recent past, this is at the top of the list. For pure force of visualization, detail that is not only brilliant and vivid - and bone-chilling - in its own right but that is also completely in service to the story, I have a hard time recalling a piece of writing so taut and well-executed. The pacing is near perfection. The mix between real and imagined characters - all equally well imagined - has the effect of giving them all a wonderfully tangible life. And I think Harris actually managed to leave me, going forward, picturing death itself as hovering a bit on the periphery of my life like the chillingly impersonal fireball spewing mountain in the near distance that is Vesuvius in this book. If I have one minor cavil it is that the book in a couple of brief asides a little too pointedly breaks its poker face, revealing itself to be clearly inspired by the political and historical obtuseness of the George W. Bush years. But of course for that I forgive him.

Paula Hebert

a different approach to the roman history novel, pompeii takes place during the last four days of the city, and the story revolves around an architect for the aqueduct system, trying to track down a breakdown in the system and running into political intrigue and corruption standing in the way of doing his job. the combination of mystery and a very realistic rendition of the eruption(s) and being in the middle of a paniced populice is a pretty good way to experience the past, and I got a better understanding and appreciation of the aqueduct system and the romans ability to achieve the impossible.


I'm not usually much for historical fiction, but I thoroughly enjoyed this one. It is the well-known story of the eruption of Mount Vesuvius, but told from a slightly different perspective: the engineer of the aqueduct, dealing with a drought, a pipe blockage, and strange smells of sulfur in the water. In addition to the science (which I found fascinating - Roman technology was amazing), there is plenty of personal and political intrigue to keep the plot rolling along. This fun little book made me want to learn more about Pompeii and the Roman Empire, which says a lot, considering I'd never given them much thought outside the occasional History Channel documentary. Definitely recommended if you're in the mood for some good historical fiction.

Patricia Rodrigues

Achei este livro muito interessante em vários aspectos. Vamos acompanhando um engenheiro de aquedutos - o aquarius - com os problemas no abastecimento de água. Temos também uma pequena "amostra" sobre o modo de vida dos romanos e da corrupção existente na altura. Bem, como o descobrimento existente na altura sobre estes fenómenos naturais, pois vamos tendo pequenos sinais de que a erupção do vulcão está para breve, mas para a população da altura, Vesúvio era apenas um monte.Apesar da pequena janela temporal - 4 dias, 2 dias antes da erupção e os 2 dias da erupção - temos um livro muito interessante.


I read a review of this in The Atlantic Monthly a couple of years back that was quite favorable. What I found most intriguing about the book was the perspective of the main protagonist (an engineer trying to ascertain why the water flowing through the aqueducts was poisonous and dropping rapidly). Harris's writing here is much better than it is in Imperium; it's a fascinating read with lots of interesting historical notes and a riveting chronicle of the actual explosion.With that said, there's some fairly disturbing sexual content, primarily disturbing in that it's not taking place between people who love each other. So if you decide to read this, be prepared to skip paragraphs!


Volcano stories are never really about volcanoes, just like shark stories are never about sharks, and zombie stories are not about the shambling hordes, but the few that cower from them. Sadly, this volcano story IS about a volcano--or rather it is about the volcano-related research that the author did in order to write it. It's full of sentences like, "They could feel the warmth from the hypocaust, a clever Roman heating system that worked like this..." in which you can feel how Harris is dying to tell you about this cool thing from ancient times. I'm all for cool things from ancient times, but it takes a great writer of historical fiction to make the details seamless, and this one doesn't fit the bill. (Disclosure: I made up that sentence, and it's a bit of an exaggeration, but not too much.)Story-wise, Harris devised a pretty great premise, and then proceeded to march it forward step by deliberate step, occasionally prodding at it with something sharp, until it was devoured by pumice and ash and noxious gasses in the final 50 pages.That premise is: Something is wrong with the aqueduct that services the towns around the Bay of Naples, and tenderfoot engineer Marcus Attilius is dispatched from Rome to investigate. The previous hydro-engineer, or "aquarius," has vanished without a trace, and it is all quite mysterious. Except that it isn't. The mystery is neither very complex nor very interesting, even to a reader who like me who NEVER figures out whodunnit and never sees the twist coming. In this case, there is no twist; the answer to everything is volcanoes.But it's Attilius himself who is the real ball-and-chain of this book. If I had to describe his personality, I'd say...he doesn't have one? I guess he's kind of serious and stoic, humorless, not a good leader of men, not especially bright (though Harris seems to want you to think he is). He has a dead wife, which feels like something from the Instant Characterization Toolbox. "What's that? Nothing interesting about the character? I don't know [rummages through toolbox] here, give him this dead wife!"Attilius's job in this book is not to be a person, but to convey the story forward. His job is to stay on the path, to go where Harris needs him to go. Go where the action is, fix the aqueduct, meet Pliny, visit Pompeii before and after, and so on. He's an unmanned drone taking us on a tour.All that said, this isn't the worst way to pass the time. It is competently written, largely devoid of hideously amateur genre prose, and it's about ancient Rome, so it can't be all bad. If you've been to Pompeii, that will probably help. Harris's descriptions certainly do recall the place in recognizable ways. But this is no "I, Claudius." You'd be better off re-reading that.


After a day in Pompeii -- my mother claims I walked through every single house: not true, some are inaccessible -- I heard people on the platform of the Circumvesuviana local train talking about this book. I was being fussy about everything else I was reading, so I grabbed this on the Kindle store and kicked back with it (once we eventually got back to Rome, anyway; I read The Map of Time on the Eurostar).It's a quick read, and reasonably accurate to the interpretations of what happened in Pompeii. Obviously, it invents things, and I don't know nearly enough detail to know exactly what, but what I do know, for example the appearance of the explosion and the details about Pliny, seemed accurate.Obviously, as other people have observed, there can be no suspense about whether Vesuvius will erupt or not -- spoiler: it did, and Pompeii was destroyed; that's just historical fact, like the sinking of the Titanic. But there can be atmosphere, and there are several subplots -- a romance, civic corruption, the work of the engineers on the aqueducts... These are mostly well handled, though I couldn't believe in the love story -- mostly, I felt it was spoilt by the ending, which was a bit too... easy.Still, it's enjoyable and a fast read, and not even too fluffy. The detail and research is there.

Lance Greenfield

This is the story of a latter day Super Mario, an Italian plumber who overcomes very difficult challenges to fix the water supply to Napoli and surrounding areas before the local volcano erupts to ruin everything for everybody.OK, I admit that I am grossly trivialising a tremendous story, which is really about Marcus Attilius Primus, the aquarius, or chief water engineer, who is sent to the Bay of Naples to manage the water supply to all of the towns in the area. The main artery of the supply is the aqueduct, Aqua Augusta, which Attilius's grandfather may have had a hand in building under the supervision of the great Agrippa. Water engineering has been the career path of Atillius's family back through at least four generations.From the off, Attilius is up against it. His predecessor disappeared mysteriously, and neither his team of engineers and slaves nor those masters who govern Naples and the surrounding area, are inclined to trust the new aquarius. The first chapter opens with the horrendous execution of a slave who has been held responsible for the deaths of one of the local lord's prize fish. The lord's daughter, accompanied by the unfortunate slave's mother, urgently seek the help of Attilius, who quickly discovers that it is something in the water which has killer the precious fish. But they are too late to save the wretched slave.Events unfold and develop during the two days leading up to the famous eruption which buried Pompeii.This is a rivetting read, if ever there was one. As you would expect, there are many dangers to overcome, and, as you read, you will be wondering who will survive and who will not. This does not become clear until the final pages. I have to confess that I was wishing for the demise of certain characters, whilst hoping for the survival of others. That is a sign of how well Robert Harris engages the reader with the actors in this story.Definitely merits five stars.


This book gives an intense, visceral impression of what it must have been like to live in the Roman Empire during the era - the laws (and how they seemed to only apply to certain people), the position of women, and the politics.It also gives a strong sense of the hard decisions facing those who lived in one of the towns surrounding Vesuvius when the initial rumbles began. It reminded me of how Angelenos might have been before the Northridge earthquake, knowing that the rumbles came occasionally but thinking nothing truly catastrophic could ever happen. (In fact, it was so well done that I had nightmares for days.)And those bits are just the background! The two central parts of the story are a crackerjack murder mystery and a romance. Both are fascinating, and Harris' main characters are so vivid it feels like he was there.

Sue Smith

Again - my rating is more of a 3.5 than a 4, but I upped the rating because it was so nice to read about someone else having a wee bit of heat in their lives. Well, until the mountain exploded anyways. Then I felt a little sorry for their lot.It was actually kind of fun to read a fictional book about a catastrophe that we all know about and marvel over. It would have been quite a thing to witness actually and this book lets you be a witness to the tragedy without any of the trauma to your personal self. The story was rather well laid out and plausible - even though I thought it was going to be the exact opposite. All I really wanted was a story that took me to a warm place (albeit only in my mind) so I could escape the nasty reality of my -45 windchill winter mornings. This winter really has been the worst for making me want a warm destination to soak up some vitamin D from those glorious sun rays. But, a story and popping extra vitamin D pills was going to have to do. For now.I won't go into the plot. Suffice it to say it follows an aquarian (water engineer) as he tries to fix an issue with an aqueduct during one of the hottest, weirdest summer weather that the area has had to endure. Of course, it's all about the eminent blow up of Vesuvius - the pre signs to what is still regarded one of the worst natural disasters in the world. It was an interesting glimpse and was handled with a lot of thought so it made for good story. There's nothing worse than going into a historical fiction and thinking 'Pfffft, this is ridiculous'. I thought it might fall into that, but it thankfully did not and I enjoyed it as a result. Worth the read.


In 79 AD, a new Aquarius is appointed to the area around Pompeii. There has been a water shortage in the cities around Pompeii and Marcus Attilius Primus is sent to find the problem and correct it.Attilius begins to investigate a possible fault in the aqueduct while certain officials try to stop him becuase they fear he will learn that they have manipulated the water for their own profit.There is excellent drama as the action begins two days before Veseuveus errupts. Attilius investigates the problem as his life becomes more and more in danger.This is a highly entertaining story that shows the author's detailed research into the times and life in the city of Pompeii. We become interested in the history as the characters come to life and a momentous disaster looms.

Nancy (Hrdcovers)

POMPEII.....BEFORE AND AFTERAfter visiting Pompeii, on a recent trip to Rome, I was eager to read something about that fateful day in August,79 AD, when Mt. Vesuvius erupted suffocating an entire city with ash and rocks. If you've been to Pompeii, you've probably left there with an eerie feeling and a desire to learn more. This was the impetus in my searching out some historical fiction surrounding this event and Robert Harris' book looked like it might be the right one for me. Based on all the other reviews here, I think I'm in the minority in saying that I really wasn't that drawn to this book. When I'm reading a good book, I can't wait to get back to it. I found myself putting off picking this one up again and again and ended up taking more time to read it than I usually do with a book this size. I will say, however, that the second half was much better than the first half. While I found it interesting how the eventual catastrophe was foreshadowed by blockages in the water system, I just found the beginning descriptions so tedious. After seeing what still remains of the town, I was able to clearly picture the streets and the stores and the homes of the Roman inhabitants having walked around this same town myself. I guess when you're reading a book where you know the eventual outcome, it takes some of the bite out of it for me and I'm probably being too critical of a book that I just thought could have been better. One thing I will say with some certainty is that I'm glad I didn't live during this time of overall decadence. Some of it really sickened me.

Ron Charles

One cataclysmic disaster can ruin your whole day, but at least it has the advantage of surprise. That's more than can usually be said for stories about cataclysmic disasters, which lumber toward their climax like some bore telling a multipart joke you've already heard. Who honestly didn't feel the urge to push a few heads under water to speed up James Cameron's interminable "Titanic"? We endure documentaries about German aerodynamics because we want to see the Hindenburg in flames. "Oh, the banality!"Robert Harris confronts this very problem in his new novel about the explosion of Vesuvius, called simply "Pompeii." When the story opens on Aug. 22, AD 79, we know that by the end of the week, none of these characters will be shouting "TGIF." But how to fill the pages till that moment when the mountain erupts with a force 100,000 times as strong as the Hiroshima atomic bomb, shooting magma at a speed of Mach 1?Harris admits that he just barely avoided disaster himself. After observing the United States for more than a year, he had intended to write a novel set in the near future. "The story I had in mind," he says, "might loosely be described as 'The Walt Disney Company takes over the world': a thriller about a utopia going horribly wrong," but "the characters stubbornly refused to come alive and the subject remained as flimsy as smoke." Or, perhaps he realized that Julian Barnes had already written that novel brilliantly just three years ago in "England, England." But for whatever reason, we've been spared another Brit's satire of America ("Vernon God Little" is enough to endure for this season), and given this terrifically engaging novel instead.The key to Harris's success is his concentration on a crisis that preceded the volcano's eruption by two days. Back in 33 BC, the Romans had constructed a 60-mile aqueduct that eventually served towns all along the Bay of Naples, giving rise to a culture and an economy that floated high on the presumption of dependable, clean water. When a break in the main line begins shutting off one town after another, only Marcus Attilius Primus knows how to save the day.Attilius, as he's called, is a young widower, a water engineer from a long line of water engineers, who's just been appointed to Misenum, home to a Roman fleet. His early weeks on the job have been rough: His predecessor has vanished mysteriously, his staff mocks his authority, and now the water has stopped flowing for the first time in 100 years, threatening to plunge a quarter of a million people into dry chaos.Piecing together reports from travelers about the status of other towns along the coast, Attilius quickly deduces that the break must be some- where near Pompeii. As the reservoir drains in Misenum, he secures permission from Pliny the Elder (wonderfully brought back to life here) and heads out with a small, reluctant crew.The passage of 2,000 years has not diminished the technical dimensions of this task - nor the social risks of failure. Harris conveys the modern elements of this ancient life with startling effect.One can't help considering the two crumbling tunnels that supply New York City with all of its water. Let's hope there are many Attiliuses toiling away on Tunnel No. 3, to be completed in 2020. (Sip slowly, New Yorkers.)In fact, what's even more interesting than the mechanical aspects of this ancient system are the moral developments that Harris traces through these characters. First-century Romans enjoyed the benefits of a remarkably advanced system of commerce, science, and art, but their society was dogged by that familiar triumvirate of corruption, cruelty, and sloth. Attilius emerges as a timeless hero, a man driven by duty but animated by compassion, courageous enough to fight nature, but wise enough to fear its fury. His struggle to solve this engineering crisis, fend off his mutinying workers, and resist the grief that always threatens to wash back over him makes him an utterly fascinating and sympathetic character. And though he's far removed from the sophisticated economy humming around him, he demonstrates that essential requirement for a successful market economy: integrity.But in the literary tradition of all great struggles, the flashier part goes to the villain. Numerius Popidius Ampliatus rose from slave to master the modern way: insider trading. Cruel and clever, he's both Caligula and Ken Lay. We meet him on the afternoon he's trying to generate a little entertainment by feeding a servant to the eels. Attilius interferes, earning Ampliatus's rage and his daughter's heart. But this self-made crook owns a heavily mortgaged empire of bathhouses that need cheap water so he pretends to support Attilius's emergency efforts - at least until he can kill him.Of course, while our hero races against the clock to stave off a collapse of the aqueduct and avoid being murdered, we know that his clock is about to be blasted away by one of history's most spectacular natural disasters. Harris marks the passing hours and minutes with fanciful precision at the beginning of each chapter, along with pithy quotations from volcano experts ancient and modern.If the present-day dialogue sounds a bit incongruous in togas and the romance a bit forced, such minor objections are quickly blasted away. When the moment finally arrives - a column of magma shooting miles into the sky - the story rises spectacularly to convey the surreal conditions that tortured these people for days: the sea filled with pumice, the ground rolling in waves, whole towns flash-burned, asphyxiated, and then sealed beneath tons of ash.But Harris hasn't brought those haunting, calcified forms to life just for the sport of entombing them again 2,000 years later. The light he shines on that awesome crisis, and the way good and bad people responded, illuminates our continued dependence on the most fundamental elements - a stable earth and a righteous man.http://www.csmonitor.com/2003/1118/p1...

Elizabeth Sulzby

The Google summary is excellent. The book is chock full of helpful history. The protagonist Harris has created has to inspect and repair the Roman aqueduct system and there are tons of details about this system. I'd gotten interested in early Greek indoor plumbing and sewage systems when I visited Knossos on Crete in October 2001. I have noticed such things ever since and wondered why later European societies did not build upon Minoan/Greek/Roman technology.Another development in the book is the presence of Pliny, the Elder, who was then Admiral of the fleet and staying some distance from Pompeii, along with his nephew, Pliny "the younger." Harris brings to life Pliny's massive knowledge and curiosity as he dictates to Pliny the younger what he must record of the eruption of Vesuvius. Unfortunately, Pliny did not take to the boats early enough and died on the water. (Later I learned from a history of Herculaneum that preserved bodies and skeletons of townspeople who were crushed by the pyroclastic flow that hit Herculaneum a day after Pompeii was covered in the looser burning pumice storm.A page-turner.


بومبي كيف تكتب عن كارثة؟ هذا هو السؤال الذي سيجابه أي كاتب روائي يحاول نزع الصفة الإخبارية عن كارثة ما، وإبراز الوجه الإنساني منها، مشكلة هذا النوع من الكتابة هو أن الكوارث ضخمة، معقدة في أسبابها وأحداثها وآثارها، ومتضمنة في داخلها الكثير من البشر، فلذا يلجأ الكتاب إلى الحيلة إياها، أي التركيز على وجوه من وجوه الكارثة، وجعله الصورة الكبيرة، أو الرمز للكارثة، وتعريف القارئ على عدد محدود من الشخصيات التي ستتعرض أو ستتأثر بهذه الكارثة، وعادة يتعرف بهم القارئ قبل حدوث الكارثة حتى يمكن له أن يبنى معهم علاقة عاطفية مبكرة، ويتفاعل مع معاناتهم فيما بعد. فكرت بهذا وأنا أفرغ من رواية الكاتب الإنجليزي روبرت هاريس (بومبي) والتي تناولت كارثة مدينة بومبي التي ضربها بركان جبل فيزوف في الرابع والعشرين من أغسطس سنة 79 م، مدمرا ً ودافنا ً إياها مع من بقي من سكانها. ما الذي ميز كارثة بومبي عن الكثير من الكوارث البركانية المماثلة؟ أمرين الأول هو أنها كانت كارثة منسية، حيث طوت الأرض المدينة وبقاياها لألفي عام حتى لحظة الكشف الأثري لها في القرن الثامن عشر، الأمر الثاني هو أن التنقيب الأثري لم يكشف فقط عن خرائب بومبي، وإنما عن شيء آخر أكثر إثارة، أجساد سكانها وقد تجمدوا بذات الوضعيات التي كانوا عليها في لحظاتهم الأخيرة، بهذا الكشف قفزنا زمنيا ً إلى لحظة الكارثة، إلى اليوم الأخير والدقائق الأخيرة قبل أن تطمر بومبي بالمقذوفات البركانية والرماد، اقترب إنسان العصر الحديث كثيرا ً من تلكم الكارثة، أقرب من أي كارثة أخرى، وصار يمكنه أن يعيد تركيبها ومشاهدتها – وهذا ما فعلته قناة الـ BBC في فيلمها الوثائقي (Pompeii: The Last Day) حيث تم تركيب قصة درامية تحاول الاستفادة من وضعيات الجثث في تركيب قصة ذلك اليوم، حيث نشاهد أسرة تتجمع حول ابنتها الحامل، وسيدة غنية هربت إلى منزل مجالدين وماتت هناك -.كانت هذه بومبي المدينة والكارثة والآن لنتحدث عن بومبي الرواية. لا تبدأ رواية بومبي لروبرت هاريس في بومبي بل في مدينة ميسينيوم التي تقع على الجهة المقابلة من خليج نابولي، عند عنق الحذاء الإيطالي، وكل تلكم المدن المتقاربة بومبي، ميسينيوم، هيراكولوم، أوبلونتس، ستابيي ونولا كانت مدن رومانية، تابعة لسلطة القيصر الروماني حينها تيتوس، وكانت كلها تحصل على المياه من القناة المائية (أكوا أوغوستا) التي أنشأها الإمبراطور أغسطس. يصل إلى مدينة ميسينيوم المهندس – يلقب بالساقي في ذلكم - (ماركوس أتيليوس بريموس) قادما ً من روما، ليتولى مسئولية القناة خلفا ً للساقي السابق اكزومينوس الذي اختفى فجأة. هذه المهمة تواجه اختبارها الأول سريعا ً حيث تبدأ المياه في النضوب من الخزان الرئيسي لمسينيوم، مترافقة مع رائحة كبريت، عندها ينطلق أتيليوس مع فريق من تابعيه للبحث عن سبب هذا العطل بعدما توقع وفقا ً لأخبار سمعها من بعض القادمين إلى ميسينيوم أن موقع العطل قريب من مدينة بومبي، هذه المهمة التي تبدو روتينية تتم في اليوم السابق لكارثة بومبي، وتمنح أتيليوس وتمنحنا وتمنح الكاتب فرصة استعراض مدينة بومبي في أيامها الأخيرة، حيث نكتشف حجم الفساد السياسي والمالي للمدينة، وسيطرة إمبلياتوس على مجلس المدينة، وهو عبد سابق أعتقه سيده وأثرى بعد الزلزال الأخير الذي ضرب المدينة قبل سنوات، حيث بقي إمبلياتوس وقام ببناء المدينة من جديد مستخدما ً كل الأساليب الممكنة، وأحد هذه الأساليب كان الحصول على المياه الرخيصة من القناة، عن طريق صفقة كان قد أبرمها مع الساقي السابق اكزومينوس، ولكن مع اختفاء هذا الأخير، واحتلال أتيليوس منصبه، يعرض عليه إمبلياتوس الصفقة ذاتها، يرفض أتيليوس العرض بأنفة، فيمده إمبلياتوس بالمساعدة التي يحتاجها في مهمة إصلاح القناة ولكنه يخطط في الوقت نفسه للقضاء عليه بعد إنجاز المهمة. ينطلق أتيليوس ويتمكن من إصلاح القناة بمساعدة تابعيه والعبيد الذين قدمهم له إمبلياتوس، ولأن موقع العطل كان قريبا ً من جبل فيزوف يكونون شهودا ً على بداية ثورة البركان، حيث يهرع العبيد عائدين إلى بومبي ترافقهم كوريليا ابنة إمبلياتوس والتي كانت قد فرت من منزل والدها الذي يحاول إجبارها على الزواج من ابن مالكه السابق وعضو مجلس المدينة، وجاءت إلى أتيليوس لتنذره مما يضمره والدها له، ولكن أتيليوس يقنعها بالعودة إلى المنزل وقبول حياتها رغم مشاعره تجاهها، يتعرض أتيليوس بعد هذا لمحاولة قتل ينجو منها، فيعود إلى مدينة ميسينوم حيث قائد الأسطول الروماني والمؤرخ العجوز المهتم بالطبيعيات بليني والذي يقود حملة إنقاذ، مصطحبا ً معه كاتبه، مقدما ً وصفا ً شاملا ً للحادثة، جعلت ذلكم الشكل من الانفجار البركاني يسمى الآن في علم البراكين بالثوران البليني، حملة بليني تفشل سريعا ً، وتجنح السفن التي جاء بها إلى مدينة ستابيي وتكون نهاية بليني هناك، ولكن وصفه والأوراق التي كتبها عبده خلال الرحلة تصل إلى يد ابن أخت بليني والمعروف تاريخيا ً باسم بليني الأصغر. يغادر أتيليوس - قبل هذه النهاية الحزينة لبليني - الحملة عائدا ً إلى بومبي على قدميه مخاطرا ً بحياته، كل هذا لينقذ كوريليا من المصير الذي ساقها إليه بكلماته ونصائحه، وبالفعل يلتقي بها هناك والمدينة تعيش الكارثة بتفاصيلها المرعبة، وينجح في إنقاذها من جنون والدها الذي احتجز العائلة كلها في مشروع الحمامات العامة الذي كان يقيمه مراهنا ً على أن المدينة ستنجو من هذه الأزمة كما نجت من أزمة الزلزال السابق، وأنه سيعود منتصرا ً وغنيا ً مرة أخرى، ينهي هاريس روايته بأسطورة نلمح منها إمكانية نجاة أتيليوس وكوريليا وخروجهما سالمين من بومبي باستخدام القناة المائية. الرواية فاقت توقعاتي بقوتها، وأسرتني فيها شخصيات أتيليوس وبليني، حتى شخصية إمبلياتوس الكريهة رسمها هاريس بطريقة ذكية ورائعة، للأسف لم تترجم لهذا الروائي أي روايات أخرى، رغم أن له عدد لا بأس به منها، وخاصة في الجانب التاريخي، فله مثلا ً:- رواية (Fatherland 1992): وهي من روايات التاريخ البديل، حيث يتخيل الكاتب كيف سيكون العالم لو أن ألمانيا النازية انتصرت في الحرب العالمية الثانية، الرواية كانت من الروايات الأفضل مبيعا ً في بريطانيا بثلاثة ملايين نسخة.- (Archangel 1998): عن مذكرات ستالين المفقودة.- (The Ghost 2007): وهي رواية غموض سياسية حولت إلى فيلم بعنوان (The Ghost Writer 2010) أخرجه رومان بولانسكي، وأداه إيوان مكريجور، وبيرس بروسنان.- وأخيرا ً ثلاثيته عن الخطيب الروماني شيشرون والتي صدر منها حتى الآن جزأين هما (Imperium 2006) و (Lustrum/Conspirata 2009)

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