Extended Audio Sample

Download Pompeii: A Novel Audiobook

Extended Audio Sample Pompeii: A Novel Audiobook, by Robert Harris Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (11,793 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Robert Harris Narrator: Michael Cumpsty Publisher: Penguin Random House Format: Abridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: November 2003 ISBN: 9780739307908
Regular Price: $12.95 Add to Cart
— or —
FlexPass™ Price: $11.95$5.95$5.95 for new members!
Add to Cart learn more )

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 ?rst 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.

Download and start listening now!

BK_RAND_000340

Quotes & Awards

  • Blazingly exciting...Pompeii palpitates with sultry tension....Harris provides an awe-inspiring tour of one of the monumental engineering triumphs on which the Roman empire was based....What makes this novel all but unputdownable...is the bravura fictional flair that crackles through it. Brilliantly evoking the doomed society pursuing its ambitions and schemes in the shadow of a mountain that nobody knew was a volcano, Harris, as Vesuvius explodes, gives full vent to his genius for thrilling narrative. Fast-paced twists and turns alternate with nightmarish slow-motion scenes (desperate figures struggling to wade thigh-deep through slurries of pumice towards what they hope will be safety). Harris’s unleashing of the furnace ferocities of the eruption’s terminal phase turns his book’s closing sequences into pulse-rate-speeding masterpieces of suffocating suspense and searing action. It is hard to imagine a more thoroughgoingly enjoyable thriller.
    London Sunday Times
  • Breakneck pace, constant jeopardy and subtle twists of plot...a blazing blockbuster... The depth of the research in the book is staggering. Daily Mail
  • [A] stirring and absorbing novel...The final 100 pages are terrific, as good as anything Harris has done; and the last, teasing paragraph, done with the lightest of touches, is masterly. The Sunday Telegraph
  • The long-drawn-out death agony of [Pompeii and Herculaneum]—a full day of falling ash, pumice stone, and then, the final catastrophe, a cloud of poisonous gas—is brilliantly done. Explosive stuff, indeed. The Daily Telegraph
  • Acclaim for Robert Harris’s Pompeii, the #1 international bestseller

Listener Opinions

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 laura | 2/15/2014

    " It was interesting to me to read about the eruption of Mt. Vesuvius from the view of the local aquarius. To see him discover so many warning signs (i.e. sulfer in the water, the collapse of the Aqua Augusta, etc.) and still not know what was ahead made me squirm. Having walked the streets of Pompeii, I thought the descriptions of the city were fantastic. From the raised cross-walks, to the bath-houses and brothels, it really painted the perfect picture. Overall, I really liked this book. However, I thought it was absolutely ridiculous that such a "happy" ending for the protagonist was tacked on to such a tragic tale. It would have made a better story if he had died, just like the rest of the city. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Tina H. | 2/6/2014

    " This is a fun beach book, if you aren't on a land mass with a volcano! While it really does not focus on Pompeii itself, it is incredibly illuminating regarding the aqueduct systems Rome built; this is worth the read alone. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 George Ilsley | 2/1/2014

    " Thought this was pretty good until I arrived at the anomalous line about global warming. Really jarring. Dropped a star just for that. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Rachel | 2/1/2014

    " I don't usually like non-fiction or anything that closely resembles non-fiction but this book was actually really good. I thought Harris was able to weave a plausible story the way life might have been like for the different people living around Pompeii. An interesting perspective. Great book! "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Judi/Judith | 1/17/2014

    " This book is not what I expected. It started off mildly interesting and went downhill from that. It was full of boring engineering details of aqueducts and one dimensional, lifeless characters. Of course, historically we all know the volcano Vesuvius spews ashes enveloping the entire city but the characters before the eruption could have come alive on the pages by the hand of Robert Harris. Sadly, the Roman culture was never developed. I wanted to know about the interactions of the families that lived there. I also thought a little more action could have livened it up a bit.I don't like books that are a chore to read and this one was certainly that. I am glad it was only 300 pages. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Bethany | 1/16/2014

    " Thanks for this lend, Derek! A clearly written account of the last days before the Pompeii explosion from the unique perspective of the aquarius. Great characters and a suspenseful plot that made you curious about the outcome (although you know *basically* what happens) til the last page! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Popebrak | 1/13/2014

    " A lovely romp through the sunny hills and villas of the bay of Naples. . . as it explodes. I picked this up to tide me over till Harris' third Cicero novel comes out. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Mark Holmes | 12/31/2013

    " Outstanding story telling of the big eruption that buried a city "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Carol | 12/26/2013

    " A fascinating look at the days surrounding the eruption of Mount Vesuvius. Much better than Harris's Imperium "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Puja Sheth | 11/27/2013

    " This book wraps in a story as well as several historical references; great read! "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Jenny | 11/23/2013

    " After reading the National Geographic article recently on Pompeii, this book was some extremely interesting historical fiction. It uses an aqueduct expert who travels through the Naples area to tell the story of the eruption of Vesuvius in 79 B.C. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Hazel | 11/10/2013

    " Action packed to say the least! Particularly liked this since I've visited the ruins @ Pompeii. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Catherine | 11/6/2013

    " Excellent book. I listened to it, and the narrator was outstanding. I now have a full and appalled understanding of what happened when Vesuvius erupted in August of 79 AD, a much better appreciation for Pliny, and more knowledge about Roman society. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Jim | 6/27/2013

    " an interesting story of betrayal and romance set in the last few weeks before the eruption of Vesuvius. i was intrigued by the detail of everyday Roman life. Those dudes liked to party! "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Katina | 3/22/2013

    " I would recommend this book over "Enigma". "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Jamie | 2/17/2013

    " It's a bit like reading about the Titanic- you know the volcano is going to erupt and everyone is screwed. But it was an interesting perspective, from the point of view of an aqueduct engineer. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Caroline | 1/6/2013

    " A little slow for the first half, but worth it to me to read about how the eruption proceeded. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Ryan | 12/20/2012

    " Love the author, hated this book. Just gross. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 John | 10/17/2012

    " Does an excellent job of creating an engaging story from historical sources. Made all the more enjoyabe by having vistied Pompei anfd Naples a couple of years earlier. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Stacy | 10/15/2012

    " An amazing story, really gripping, I didn't put it down until I finished it! In-depth descriptions and fantastic characters.. Brilliant! :o) "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Amy | 12/12/2011

    " skimmed through it,.... much potenila.. too much stuff... "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Christine | 10/9/2011

    " "People will perish, but books are immortal." "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Josh | 8/5/2011

    " Good read. I liked the glimpse into Roman life coupled with the impending doom. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Lizzy | 6/11/2011

    " Great read! I love this author. His books make anyone become interested in politics and intrigue. I had heard of this event but I didn't realize the complexity of the eruption and how it would have appeared to those in the path. I loved every minute of this book! "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Bridgette | 5/22/2011

    " it just bored me from the very start. i did not enjoy it that much even though i do like to read historical fiction. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Doug | 5/19/2011

    " Absolutely brilliant! One of the best books I have read in a long time. This is a must read or listen to book. The audio is done perfectly too. Easily a 5 star rating. Now I am going to have to research Pompeii and visit there for sure. Read this book! "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Scott | 5/19/2011

    " A wonderful perspective from which to tell the story of the doomed city.
    As to the plotting and writing, howzabout ........ just plain awful! "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Eric | 5/18/2011

    " So so. The last 40 pages were not bad, but it wasn't worth the wait. Told me more than I wanted to know about aquaducts. I read this for a book club; otherwise I would have chosen something else. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Barbie | 5/10/2011

    " Really liked this one. Feel like in addition to an entertaining read, I got some education on Vesuvius and Pompeii. Will be interested to see other titles by Robert Harris. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Krista | 5/10/2011

    " Interesting account of the days leading up to the eruption of Mt Vesuvius and the disaster itself. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Patricia | 5/5/2011

    " Epic Harris, an intricate account of events at Pompeii,typing in with historical figures, explaining how water courses and buildings were constructed, and weaving everything together with richly-laden prose and intrigue. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Jake | 4/28/2011

    " This was solid, if not quite as good as I was hoping it would be. Interesting setting, obviously. Not as good as The Ghost. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Daisy | 4/25/2011

    " This was so brilliant, the story and the excitement, and his ability to build anticipation when history tells us what will happen anyway is truly amazing. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jeanne | 4/19/2011

    " I can't believe I liked a book that was about the eruption of a volcano but it was great and hard to put down. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Alison | 4/12/2011

    " An interesting and quick read. However, it lacked depth od detail and character. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Tracey | 4/6/2011

    " Amazing how interesting aquaducts can be! "

Write a Review
What is FlexPass?
  • Your first audiobook is just $5.95
  • Over 90% are at or below $12.95
  • "LOVE IT" guarantee
  • No time limits or expirations
About the Author
Author Robert Harris

Robert Harris is the author of ten best-selling novels: Fatherland, Enigma, Archangel, Pompeii, Imperium, The Ghost Writer, Conspirata, The Fear Index, An Officer and a Spy, and Dictator. Several of his books have been adapted to film, including The Ghost Writer, directed by Roman Polanski. His work has been translated into thirty-seven languages.

About the Narrator

Michael Cumpsty is a British actor. He has been acting since childhood. He has worked extensively performing Shakespeare, as well as both musicals and dramas on Broadway. He also performs in films and on television.