Plots and counterplots fill Daniel Godfrey’s New Pompeii, a page-turner set at a point when NovusPart, a company seeking cheap, renewable energy has also discovered a way to reach back in time and pull people forward. It begins when Kristen Chapman finds herself caught in a ghostly limbo, sure someone either plans to kill her or has already succeeded. Meanwhile, Nick Houghton is offered the post of historian studying the restored Pompeii. No one in the project has considered that the people of Pompeii have their own plans.
The book begins with Kristen Chapman waking in her bath, finding that no one can see her and that at least two days have passed. This leads to a nightmarish life where she is continually waking at different times, remembering someone threatening her, and trying to figure out what is happening. At the same time, NovusPart reveals to Nick Houghton that the citizens of Pompeii have been pulled forward through time, taken just before the volcano erupted. NovusPart plans to keep them unaware of the time change and offers Nick the position of historian. Once in New Pompeii, Nick begins to suspect that his employers’ plans are not limited to historical study. He also realized that everyone has overlooked the citizens of Pompeii, who might not know about time travel, but know plenty about power.
New Pompeii is an irresistible page-turner. Wondering “What happens next?” and “What are they planning?” pulled me back into the story and kept me reading perhaps a bit longer than I should have whenever I picked the book up—which was often. Godfrey knows how and when to switch points of view to keep tension at the maximum, and the plots are tangled enough to keep a reader’s attention without veering into the realm of complexity for its own sake. Character development is not deep, but it is enough to let a reader know what kind of person each character is, and, ultimately, what motivates them. I look forward to seeing what Godfrey writes next.
New Pompeii is a fast-paced, intense thriller, reminding me most of Tom Clancy’s page-turners, where the technology matters, but not nearly as much as what people choose to do with it. Folks who enjoy a good intrigue will love this book.
New Pompeii is available now from Titan Books. To order from Amazon, click the link in the title. It is also available in other bookstores and possibly in your local library.