New Pompeii by Daniel Godfrey
Manius Calpurnius Barbatus = from Pompeii AD 79 transported to New Pompeii, one of the Duomvir
Calpurnia = Manius’s daughter also transported to New Pompeii
Kirsten Chapman = college bedder, possibly dead/murdered, saved McMahon’s life
Nick Houghton = researcher and student of History Department, at risk of being redundant (father saved him) replaces Samson in New Pompeii (aka Decimus Horatius Pullus when in New Pompeii)
Professor Drockley = new head of the History Department
Harold McMahon = last person Kirsten was seen with, CEO of Novus Particles (slob) and enjoying being seen as god-like in New Pompeii
Ronald Saunders “Ronnie” = Nick’s friend, has conspiracy theories about NovusPart
Mark Whelan = Chief Operating Officer at NovusPart (soldier) and trying to control New Pompeii but realizes there are problems within groups of people
Professor eric Samson = worked for NovusPart, specializes in alternative history, left New Pompeii
Joe Octavian “Octo” Arlen = (geek) third founding member of NovaPart, no one has seen him in years
Maggie Astridge = was excited to be in New Pompeii, excitement was short-lived
Noah = Maggie and Noah’s son, adopted
Robert Astridge = Maggie’s husband, project architect for New Pompeii, has a huge ego
Patrick = McMahon’s personal guide in New Pompeii, has a secret relationship with person inside the city (aka Appius Seius Canus in New Pompeii)
Felix = one of the first people from Pompeii to the present
Mr. Black = trying to help Kirsten
Mary Kramer = chef at McMahon’s house, tries to kill McMahon
Cato = slave of Manius
Lucius Salonius Naso = Aedile in New Pompeii
James Harris = McMahon wants him dead, an agent who doesn’t trust NovusPart
Perkin Warbeck = imposter claiming to be one of Edward IV’s sons
One of the reviewers stated “Like Crichton at this best” on the cover, and I will agree with that statement. The ending is hinted at, but leaves some questions open and a bit of a mystery, yet wraps up the story at the same time. The plot twists are believable in this world that the author created and you almost want to believe in the possibility that it could really happen one day. Using a technology to pull people into the future right before the brink of a disaster that would have killed a large number of people, sounds great, but there are flaws as well. The flaws are hinted at during the first half of the book and start being strung together in the second half with the ending being satisfying and true the characters.
I was impressed that Calpurnia is the one who notices the food is not right, and her father realizes that the town is not right and there are empty town homes that people could be living in. The people in New Pompeii realize that there are flaws and the Pompeii they left is not the Pompeii they are in, despite being told otherwise. Nick starts to see the issues that the townspeople are dealing with, and try to communicate that to NovaPart, but doesn’t fully understand the danger he is in. NovaPart has been altering timelines, and you see some of that in Kirsten’s plot, which nicely ties into Nick’s plot at the end.
The taking of almost an entire town, Pompeii, right before the disaster hits and bringing them into the future but placing them in a town almost identical to the one they were pulled from has flaws from the start. Whalen realizes this, and brings Nick into the town to try and learn more about the people. Nick faces struggles from Robert, who thinks all you need to do is give them the town and the people are fine. Nick realizes that moving them away from a port and the mountain disappearing create immediate suspicion in the people. Nick also sees a problem with the temple that the townspeople are worshiping at, but struggles to tell NovaPart what he is seeing as proof is hard for him to find. Manius has his own agenda in town, and brings Nick onto the chessboard without Nick realizing it. Manius is a professional politician and rather cold-hearted, and plays his hands well even surprising Nick. Kirsten’s plotline takes several chapters to start making sense, and at the end it all becomes clear. The two main characters, Nick and Kirsten, have individual story lines that take time to make a connection, but when it happens it is the twist that makes so many other little plot twists and plot hints make perfect sense. I really enjoyed the ending, because while there are still a few mysteries the story is concluded and stayed true to characters. The author gave a satisfying ending without sacrificing character development or plots, it was a good ending while staying true to what you had been reading for the entire book.
This book did remind me of the better works of Crichton and I am looking forward to more books by this author.