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Pompeii by Robert Harris
Robert Harris has written a novel set in Pompeii just before the eruption of Mount Vesuvius buried the city. He's re-created the time and place of the ancient city with his fictional account, even mixing in a few historic figures. Pompeii was a city of luxury and opulence for the empire's aristocracy and autocracy. Pompeii is written as a thriller, but one where the ending is still known. Harris' skill at creating the tension and suspense through the lives of its citizens and the history of the city has generated many positive reviews. The Spectator says, "Harris is therefore handling a subject on which it would have been easy to slip up and incur the scorn of persons who have enjoyed, or endured, a classical education. He has handled it with skill and created a setting which carries conviction, avoiding the traps of stuffing in too much local colour, or of emptying out in front of us the contents of a well-filled card catalogue."