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Disclaimer: I received a free copy of Daniel Godfrey’s New Pompeii for review purposes.
A quick glance at the book’s synopsis had me hooked. A company has found a way to bring people from the past forward through time and land them in the present day. Their biggest challenge so far was to rescue the population of Pompeii moments before it was destroyed by the eruption of Vesuvius.
Nick Houghton is a historian who is running out of career options. When he is approached by NovusPart and offered him a position as the company’s historical advisor, he jumps at the chance.
The people from Pompeii weren’t just dropped into modern-day Manhattan, of course. Dropping them into a world with cars, electricity, and Twitter would be a complete sensory overload. Instead, NovusPart has created a full-scale replica of Pompeii in a remote part of Asia. The company has fabricated a decree from the emperor that gives them great control over the city.
As Nick soon discovers, this is not a perfect world. The Pompeiians know that something is amiss. Like the fact that Vesuvius is just gone. And the fact that they never see any visitors from other city. They’ve been told that there is great chaos in the empire, but come on – literally NOBODY from outside ever visits? The leaders know that they are dependent on the Johnny-come-lately strangers for their survival, and this causes great concern. In other words, the natives are growing restless, and it’s up to Nick to help NovusPart figure out how to solve this problem.
I found the concept interesting, and the book had a good pace. It contained enough detail about historical Pompeii to be enjoyable, but it doesn’t require the reader to be an expert. I had some basic knowledge of Pompeii, but some of the details made me stop and think. I had forgotten that the citizens would have had slaves, and that saving their lives may have simply increased the duration of their suffering.
Nick is without a doubt the lead character in the book. However, there are quite a few other characters who have significant roles. The characters are well-defined, and I found myself with emotional reactions to many of that. That’s my general test for how well characters are developed – if I have some sort of emotional reaction to a character – positive or negative – the author did a good job developing the character.
New Pompeii’s Verdict
As you can probably tell, I enjoyed New Pompeii. It’s a nice, easy read, and you’ll learn a few things about history in the process of reading the book. There are enough plot twists to keep you on your toes. I gave this a grade of four stars on Goodreads, but would have given 4.5 stars if I had that option.
New Pompeii comes out on June 21, with a sequel planned for 2017. You can buy it now now from Amazon and other retailers. If your favorite bookstore doesn’t have it, ask them to order a copy.
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