Daniel God frey

The author of New Pom­peii talks about his time- travel tale

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What is New Pom­peii about?

En­ergy gi­ant Novus Par­ti­cles de­vel­ops the tech­nol­ogy to trans­port ob­jects and peo­ple from the deep past to the present. Its big­gest se­cret is New Pom­peii, a replica of the city hid­den in cen­tral Asia. Novus claims it’s a his­tor­i­cal re­search fa­cil­ity, but new em­ployee Nick Houghton starts to re­alise it may have other mo­tives.

What sparked off your ideas?

I was read­ing a lot about an­cient Rome at the same time as I was dust­ing off an old short story about time travel. The two snapped to­gether.

Why did you choose Pom­peii?

There’s a mys­tery be­hind Pom­peii: where are all the peo­ple? Sure, the plas­ter casts are fa­mous, but there are rel­a­tively few of them. Some aca­demics say ev­ery­one fled… and yet ovens in the town were found to be full of car­bonised loaves. The vol­cano, the plas­ter casts of peo­ple and the fact we can to­day take a walk around the town add up to some­thing that’s al­ways fas­ci­nated me.

Did you do a lot of his­tor­i­cal re­search?

The tricky thing with Rome is that in many ways it seems very fa­mil­iar – and in other ways it’s very alien. I hope New Pom­peii con­tin­ues the story of th­ese peo­ple in the right way.

What are you work­ing on next?

The se­quel is un­der­way, and I have a few other ideas on the back- burner.

New Pom­peii is pub­lished by Ti­tan Books on 21 June.

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