Plot The protagonist of the story is Marcus Attilius Primus. The last sentence of the novel reports a local legend that a man and woman had emerged from the aqueduct after the eruption -- implying that Attilius and Corelia likely survived the trip up the aqueduct.
In this novel of Pompeii, there is no Isis-worship or astrology to muddy the metaphysical waters; the only waters here are, in fact, honest-to-goodness H2O, and the only aquarius you encounter is the main character, Marcus Attilius Primus -- although here ''aquarius'' is merely the Latin word for a job title.
Attilius' scientific curiosity -- and knowledge -- places him squarely within the tradition of the best literary detectives, such as Sherlock Holmes and Hercule Poirot: men who don't allow themselves to be distracted by sentiment and emotion. Harris gets this type of filthy rich wannabe perfectly right, down to the preposterous food served at his overelaborate dinner parties.
Readers are treated to a blast to the past particularly during the time of the Romans. In Pompeii, however, as in the earlier books, Harris shows a great talent for the organisation of a story. Pompeii is a thriller set in the Roman city of Pompeii, at the time of its destruction by the volcanic eruption of Vesuvius in 79 AD.Since The Usual Suspects , novels and movies have become obsessed with the trick ending: no carpet can avoid having something swept under it, all rugs must be pulled. As the volcano spews hot ash, Attilius fights his way back to Pompeii in an attempt to rescue Corelia. Readers who have followed Harris on the wide page as well as the narrow one may regret that some of the irony and humour of his columns is missing from the novels, but this is presumably because the latter are written for a broader, international audience. The novel shared that it was the ingenious water supply that enabled the Romans to prosper amidst the hot climate. The model here was surely Harris's friend Roy Jenkins, a more recent example of a man who combined a brilliant literary output with high political office. Some might argue that to invent a human-interest subplot in order to give the events of August 79 more pizazz is, so to speak, to gild the lilium; still, that Bulwer-Lytton's clanking morality play has provided a certain satisfaction is evident in the fact that his novel was adapted for the screen in every generation of the past century: in a Italian silent epic; a version, featuring Basil Rathbone; a remake with, inevitably, Steve Reeves as a gladiator; and finally as a ABC star-studded mini-series featuring, inter alios, as the Romans might say, the late-stage Laurence Olivier. Rather than a whodunit, Pompeii is a whenwillit in which the killer looms in full view over the city, hissing magma. Attilius went back to save Coreliia not mind the risk. A culture in which we routinely see CCTV footage of murder victims in their final minutes and read transcripts of the last things terrorism victims ever said is particularly open to the subject of people living their lives half an hour from disaster. A rattling good yarn that will also painlessly teach you a lot about volcanology, first-century Pompeii and Roman water engineering. Now, switching his fictional co-ordinates from to AD79, he attempts, in Pompeii, a suspense novel in which every reader knows the close before they open it. Though Ampliatus tries to persuade Attilius to fill in Exomnius's role, he refuses.
Even as the volcano was making its devastating debut -- raising a deadly cloud of stones, ash and fumes to a height of How, with the roads clogged feet deep in shifting pumice?
The object of affection Attilius.
While exploring Vesuvius on his own, Attilius discovers Exomnius's corpse in a pit of earth choked by noxious fumes, which also kills Corax, who has come to assassinate Attilius. The two somehow managed to locate each other.