“A book like a volcano: powerful and fascinating. On the other hand, it has completely unvolcanic qualities, it is cheerful, shrewd and in places hilarious. (...) Rarely has antiquity brimmed with such vitality and topicality”. Frankfurter Rundschau
“And somehow it all seems familiar: the climate deniers, the profiteers, the pleasure seekers in the face of catastrophe. Eugen Ruge's new novel "Pompeii" (...) also paints a surprisingly contemporary picture of a society that is going to ruin. (...) An outstanding satire!” SWR 2
“Stunningly present (...). After reading, one would like to dive even deeper into this ancient world and learn everything about a city that simply disappeared in a cloud of hot ash and a stream of lava”. Sueddeutsche Zeitung
A distant mirror, separated from us by time, in which we nonetheless recognise ourselves
We are just below Vesuvius. More precisely – it is 79 AD, and we are in the rich, dissolute colonial city of Pompeii. Dead birds are found along the ridge of the volcano.
At a meeting with bird conservationists, the Pannonian immigrant Jowna voices his feelings that something bad is about to happen, and that they should just pick up and run. Despite his lack of schooling, money, and infl uence, Jowna somehow ends up as the head of a disreputable group of nonconformists.
And the nonconformists are successful; soon the town governor Fabius Rufus begins to believe that the volcano could indeed harm Pompeii. But when the nouveau riche Polybius takes an interest in the project, and the powerful Livia Numistria intervenes, Jowna is, bit by bit, forced to change his mind.