NEW POMPEII

Re­stored Ro­mans

SFX: The Sci-Fi and Fantasy Magazine - - Reviews -

The pub­lic­ity ma­te­rial de­scribes au­thor Daniel God­frey’s de­but as “Juras­sic Park meets Gla­di­a­tor”, which is pithy but mis­lead­ing. A fear­somely pow­er­ful com­pany learns how to snatch peo­ple out of the past into the present. To avoid chang­ing his­tory it fo­cuses on trans­port­ing the vic­tims of dis­as­ters (an idea also used in the 1989 film Mil­len­nium). The com­pany’s big­gest project is to save the Ro­man vic­tims of the vol­canic de­struc­tion of Pompeii, bring­ing them into a copy of the city for study – and other rea­sons.

It’s not an ac­tion-heavy novel, in­stead play­ing up the con­spir­acy/mys­tery an­gle, with a sub­plot about a woman slid­ing help­lessly through time in a Cam­bridge col­lege. The his­tor­i­cal de­tail is im­pres­sive, the mys­tery is in­ter­est­ing, and there’s a chewy time-travel puz­zle for fans of the genre.

How­ever, the char­ac­ters aren’t vivid enough to make the story emo­tion­ally grip­ping: in par­tic­u­lar the hero, a ner­vous re­search stu­dent who ven­tures into New Pompeii, is only ad­e­quate. Per­haps it would have been bet­ter to tell more of the story through the eyes of the time-trans­ported Ro­mans, who are hav­ing a far big­ger ad­ven­ture. Ad­di­tion­ally, some of the fi­nal plot rev­e­la­tions are B-movie bonkers. An­drew Os­mond

In 1958 hor­ror Curse Of The Face­less Man, the skull-crush­ing mon­ster is a pet­ri­fied gla­di­a­tor found at Pompeii.

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