Submitted by evesham on

In the world of Book-to-Movie powerhouse actress and director, Reese Witherspoon and others with a talented eye for knowing which books will come to life on screen, the book comes first; then the movie. When best-selling British author Robert Harris saw the movie Chinatown, he knew he could weave the plot of corruption, technology and disaster into a page tuner. Many years later, he wrote Pompeii. We know about the volcanic disaster, but technology and corruption? In 79 A.D.?

A few years before he wrote Pompeii, Harris saw a newspaper article about new research into the eruption of Mount Vesuvius. New scientific conclusions about the causes of the catastrophe had been discovered giving him the idea that ancient Rome would provide a more appropriate setting for the book he wanted to write.  Previous scholars assumed that the victims of the volcano died instantly. No, they didn’t.  Many died after they thought all was safe. The Romans were ingenious engineers of water systems; however, greed is not restricted to modern times and nothing in the Roman Empire was more valuable than water. The Romans thought no empire in the world could ever be as mighty. Despite its ancient setting, Pompeii is very much a modern story.

Robert Harris gives us a likeable and heroic character in Attillus to take us on the journey through daily life in ancient Rome. In a novel with a “known ending,” can it still be suspenseful? Very. According to the author, ''… if you know what's going to happen, it can be more tense waiting for it to come.''