Daniel Godfrey's New Pompeii will be published by Titan Books in June 2016.
Information about Daniel Godfrey:
Daniel Godfrey has had several short stories published, including in My Weekly and Writers' Forum, and is a dedicated reader of SF and historical fiction. He studied geography at Emmanuel College, Cambridge, and gained an MSc from Leeds in transport planning. He lives in Derbyshire.
Click here to visit his official website.
Information New Pompeii:
Some time in the near future, energy giant NovusPart develops technology with an unexpected side-effect: it can transport objects and people from deep in the past to the present day.
For post-grad historian Nick Houghton, the controversy surrounding the programme matters less than the opportunity the company offers him. NovusPart's executives reveal their biggest secret: they have saved most of the people from Pompeii, minutes before the volcanic eruption. Somewhere in central Asia, far from prying eyes, the company has built a replica of the city. In it are thousands of real Romans. And Nick has been chosen to study them.
But Nick soon realises that NovusPart are underestimating their captives. The Romans may be ignorant of modern technology - for now - but city boss Manius Barbatus wasn't appointed by the emperor because he was soft. The stage is set for the ultimate clash of cultures in which time itself is a weapon...
A REVIEW OF DANIEL GODFREY'S NEW POMPEII
Daniel Godfrey's New Pompeii is one of the most intriguing reading experiences of the year, because it's an enjoyable and original blend of various elements. What makes this debut novel especially intriguing is that the author gives a whole new twist to the fate of Pompeii by writing about how a company has saved most of the people from Pompeii and placed them into a replica city by means of new technology.
I was impressed by New Pompeii and its entertainment values, because it turned to be a clever novel. Before I began to read it, I had a few reservations about its quality, because I've often been more than a bit disappointed by this kind of sci-fi thrillers due to their lack of originality. Fortunately, all my fears concerning the quality evaporated quickly as the fast-paced and action-filled story began to unfold, because the various twists and turns, action scenes and historical details appealed to my imagination and sense of style.
New Pompeii has an entertaining and intrigue-filled story. The story begins in a fascinating way:
In the prologue, Manius Calpurnus Barbatus witnesses the destruction of Pompeii with her daughter Calpurnia... Kirsten Chapman wakes up and realises that something has happened to her and everything is not as it should be. Something strange has happened to her, because she sees people, but they can't see her... Nick Houghton has problems securing funding for his research proposal. He fears that he may be made redundant and won't get his doctorate. He is contacted by a company called NovusPart, which uses technology to transport things - items and people - from the past to the present, and is offered a job as a historical advisor with a six-week trial period. Nick finds out that NovusPart has created an almost exact replica of Pompeii and saved many people from the eruption of Mt. Vesuvius. When Nick accepts the job, he begins to wonder what happened to his predecessor...
The characterisation is fluent. The author writes especially well about Nick Houghton, because he's a well-created protagonist with realistic problems.
Nick has a bit complicated life, because his career prospects look dim and seem to have been hindered by his father's deeds. He's interested in research, but his future as a researcher is threatened by lack of funding. He has a lot to think about, because he must decide what he will do with his life.
The author's way of writing about Nick's career problems feels believable and realistic, because many researchers face problems due to lack of funds and other people's interest in their research fields. I think that many readers (especially those who have personally experienced what it feels like to prepare applications to secure funding) will sympathise with Nick's problems.
The replica city, New Pompeii, which has been built and created by NovusPart, is quite a sight to behold, because it has been designed to house the people who have been rescued before the ominous eruption of the volcano. This marvellous city is one of the highlights of this novel, because it has been built to resemble the real Pompeii (A.D. 79) as closely as possible.
NovusPart controls Roman people in an interesting way. People who live in the New Pompeii believe that they're still in Pompeii, because NovusPart has done their best to create a realistic vision of a city that has survived a major cataclysm. People have to stay in the city and are forbidden to travel elsewhere, because the Italian penisula is in chaos. People believe that the tremors and the eruption permanently changed the landscape beyond the walls. The NovusPart men are believed to be their saviours, sent by the god-emperor Augustus Caesar.
Reading about how Nick reacts to what he sees and witnesses in the replica city was fascinating for me. I enjoyed finding out things about the city and how it was controlled, because NovusPart had thought of various things when they had built the city and tried to contain the Romans within the city.
The chapters about Kirsten Chapman add a nice touch of mystery and strangeness to the overall storyline. In order to avoid writing spoilers, I won't go into details about these chapters, but I'll mention that they're intriguingly connected to the story.
Daniel Godfrey builds up tension and atmosphere in an excellent way. The gradually deepening atmosphere is enhanced by revelations about the happenings in the replica city. The author writes well about what Romans think about their situation and how the NovusPart staff members deal with arising problems, because NovusPart seems to have underestimated the rescued people.
One of the main reasons why New Pompeii is such a good and entertaining novel is the author's way of exploring the ethics of time travel in an interesting way. His approach to these issues feels intriguing.
It was entertaining for me to read about the cultural differences between the Romans and modern-day people, because the clash between people from different eras brings depth to the story. As an example of a major cultural clash I can mention that the ancient people were more openminded concerning nudity and sexuality.
In my opinion, Daniel Godfrey is one of the few debut authors who have managed to blend time travel and thriller elements in an enjoyable and intriguing way. I consider him to be an heir to Michael Crichton, because his writing style is similar to Crichton's style. He has an eye for all details and he pays attention to entertainment values, which means a lot in this kind of fiction.
The author's love for history and fascination with the ancient way of life can clearly be seen in the story. He writes so well about historical details and facts that there's no doubt about his enthusiasm and commitment to write this kind of science fiction.
I look forward to reading the sequel, Empire of Time, which will be published in June 2017. I have a feeling that we can expect a lot from it in terms of cleverness, entertainment and originality, because this novel is a promising start to the series.
Daniel Godfrey's New Pompeii is not to be missed by readers who love fast-paced sci-fi thrillers with fresh ideas. It's an absorbingly told story with an emphasis on intrigue, action and entertainment. It will appeal to a wide range of readers (and it will be of special interest to fans of Michael Crichton and Dan Brown). If you're tired of reading bland sci-fi thrillers and think that most of them are boring and not worth reading, this novel will restore your faith to the genre, because it's a genuinely thrilling reading experience.
My final words are:
New Pompeii is an enjoyable and well-told sci-fi thriller that provides plenty of entertainment to those who are looking for something new and exciting to read! It's light and intriguing sci-fi entertainment at its best and most fluent.