All along the Mediterranean coast around 79 A.D., the Roman Empire’s richest citizens are relaxing in their luxurious villas, enjoying the last days of summer. However, the carefree lifestyle and gorgeous weather belie an impending cataclysm, and only one man is worried. The young engineer Marcus Attillius Primus has just taken charge of the Aqua Augusta. His predecessor has disappeared. Springs are failing for the first time in generations. Now, there is a crisis with Augusta-somewhere to the north of Pompeii, on the slopes of Mount Vesuvius.
A medium to brisk paced novel. The details of the period and tidbits on volcanoes slow it down. T he thriller action of natural disaster spurs it on. Minimal character development. The reader gets just enough to have a small understanding of why the characters are whom they are. The atmosphere of impending doom permeates the book with tension and fear. Historically accurate with the exception of a few terms not used in the time period. 2003, 274 pages.