Reviews of: A. D. 62: Pompeii, a novel by Rebecca East

Visit the Pompeii Gateway page at Illustrations from ancient works of art that inspired the descriptions of characters and settings in the novel; links to sites about Roman history and archaeology; on line communities for people interested in the ancient world; travel information for Pompeii; on-line shopping for replicas of ancient artifacts; an interactive map of Pompeii; and more.

From: Midwest Book Review, April 2003

A.D. 62: Pompeii is an engaging time-travel novel about a twenty-first century woman who is sent to first century Pompeii when a time travel experiment fails to work as planned. Adopted into a wealthy family as a house slave, Miranda manages to improve her lot through telling stories, yet the master's wife becomes jealous and plots vengeance against her. Superbly written, A.D. 62: Pompeii is a compelling and imaginative saga of romance, adaptation, and adventure.

Historical Novel Society, Reviews, Issue 24, May 2003, p. 34

A volunteer in a time travel experiment, the studious Miranda has prepared herself for everything except arriving in the middle of the Mediterranean. Pulled from the sea by a poor fisherman, she swiftly finds herself sold as a house slave. She begins her new life in 62 A. D. in the Roman city of Pompeii, in the patrician household of Marcus Tullius. Although well versed in the manners and mores of Imperial Rome, Miranda discovers there's a vast difference between theory and reality and then she discovers that the recall device planted in her arm doesn't work. She's trapped in 62 A. D.

Now her life as a household slave is no longer a game she can end at will. Facing the realization that she is imprisoned in time, Miranda calls upon all her knowledge and training to improve her lot. Using her talent for storytelling and her historical knowledge, she gains prestige as a seer who can accurately predict the future. Miranda's quick mind and quiet courage enable her to mold a new life and to create a place for herself in the frightening, fascinating world of the past.

An interesting, well-told story (think Upstairs, Downstairs crossed with I, Claudius) with a strong and intelligent heroine, A. D. 62: Pompeii draws the reader into a vividly imagined ancient world. Definitely recommended.

Reviewed by India Edghill

From: Romantic Times, June 2003 (**** Four Stars)

Rebecca East restores the ruins of Pompeii to vibrant color with a detailed immersion into the once prosperous, ancient Roman resort town and the private villas, elaborate gardens and markets, bath houses and political forums that stood before the catastrophic eruption of Vesuvius in 79 AD. Sick of her 21st-century reality, Miranda takes part in a time-travel experiment to the fascinating forgotten city of Pompeii. She lands in the custody of fishermen who sell her into slavery. Fortunately, she is bought by a wealthy family that treats slaves well, but she is assigned the most menial of tasks. She soon tires of the domestic-servant status that keeps her homebound and prevents her from exploring the culture and society outside. Plans to escape back to her century go awry when the homing device implanted in her arm fails and Miranda is forced to return to her master's home, where reality sets in and she is punished. Believing she'll never return to the present, Miranda adapts to the household and town earning a reputation for telling stories and playing her recorder. As she becomes comfortable in her new world, she is attracted to the master of the house {plot spoiler deleted here}. Rebecca East deals with the ambivalence, confusion and guilt over slavery and parallels these emotions to the modern world. More astute as a historical storyteller than a romantic novelist, the author has produced a compelling page-turner. It may have a slower pace and less intense emotions than you'd expect in a love story, but it is a must-read for those who wish to visit the real Pompeii.

Excerpts from: The Best Reviews, May 21, 2003

Here's a unique "back-in-time" novel... Rebecca East adroitly develops the main characters, Miranda, Demetrius, their master Marcus Tullius, his wife Holconia, their two children Marcus Jr., 14 and Tullia, 13. Three other slaves play significant roles in the novel: Alexander, the household steward, Iris, a beautiful 27 year old that Holconia sent to her husband after Tullia was born, and Cnaeus, the cook. Julia Felix plays a major role late in the novel. East creates a tender and charming interaction of Miranda and the other characters. She brings in scenes of courage, love, loyalty, selflessness, bravery and heroism. East's story would be interesting in any time period, but her placing the story in first-century Italy (with her knowledge of Roman history and archaeology) adds a charm that fascinates and educates. The reader gets an in-depth exposure to Roman life and customs.

Miranda is free to bail out any time, and, at times she is ready to do so, but her curiosity to see more of the undamaged Pompeii and to experience more of the Roman culture keeps her there. Eventually, as she gets to know and love the people, a decision to return becomes more and more difficult. Without spoiling the story for you, I can say that this novel will captivate you and make you wonder if you would actuate the device. Rebecca East has put together a fascinating story, not only about what life would be like in ancient Rome, but a story about characters who become alive in your mind.

Reviewed by Maurice A. Williams

From Synergise travel web site:

This well-crafted love story is realistically set in Pompeii just before it suffered from the volcanic activities of nearby Vesuvius. East treats us to a remarkably readable and well-informed view of what life was like in those times - through the eyes of a slave. It is a page-turner from the start. The protagonist, Miranda, ends up stranded in Pompeii when a time travel experiment fails to bring her back to modern times. Although this work has a sci-fi, time-travel wrapper, virtually the entire novel is set in ancient Pompeii, so you don't need to be put off if sci-fi is not your thing; you can forget that aspect after about two pages - and just live the times. This well-researched work bases many of its characters on people who actually lived there at the time - in houses from that vicinity.

I believe the really good books one reads in a lifetime are those that are remembered long after reading them. And you know which these will be by the impression they make on you at the time. For me, this Pompeii novel is just such a book and I invite you to consider whether it might become one of yours.

Reviewed by Ian Kampel,, 12th April 2005,

.... things go very wrong when [Miranda] finds herself unable to return to the future and a runaway slave in an ancient land. She finds herself closely watched and trapped not only in the past but also in her unwanted role as a slave. She also finds that as a slave, men in the household try to treat her as their property. With men making advances to her from all quarters Miranda's position is very precarious and she has to learn to tread a fine line where she does not make enemies with the men around her but does not unwittingly encourage them either. But life for Miranda is not all bad and she finds friends not only amongst the other slaves but also with Tullia the daughter of the household. A young girl whose life is arranged for her, she is drawn to Miranda to hear stories of women who take charge of their own lives. But Marcus, the master of the house, is far from happy about the influence his new slave has over his daughter. He cannot however deny that some of her stories are enjoyable and he listens to her tales as avidly as his daughter. Miranda soon finds that she is attracted to Marcus but not only is he married to the vindictive Holconia he already has a lover amongst the slaves.With the attention of Marcus upon her Miranda finds herself elevated in the household and her storytelling and prophesizing earn her the respect and thanks of her master. It also earns her his love. But nothing can change the fact that Miranda is a slave and Marcus is her master. He allows her the freedom that she craves but she finds it is only an illusion and he will do anything to keep her with him, even at the risk of losing her love. But when he loses her entirely Miranda finds out just how much she means to her lover and what lengths he will go to, to get her back.

With a strong historical setting and a wealth of information about the ancient city of Pompeii this novel is unique in its setting. Well drawn characters add to the story and in particular the character of Marcus springs to mind as a wonderful three dimensional character.The secondary characters are also a delight and although they never take over the story enough to intrude on the lives of the central characters they are nonetheless powerfully brought to life by Reiction/newreview.htm

Excerpts from the Fred Mench review:

This novel involves time-travel and thus might be classed as fantasy or science fiction, but the time-travel is only a means to move a 21st century Harvard ABD in classics back to shortly before the first earthquake at Pompeii. She brings along her knowledge of the ancient world, including Latin and Greek (which she finds to be rather bookish for common conversation) as well as a knowledge of what would eventually happen, but she shares this knowledge with only 2 people, and only near the end of the novel. She brings, of course, her attitudes as a modern educated and liberated woman to an era when women were rarely educated and hardly ever liberated. Audcasinos will guide you to top online casino Australia based sites with first class gambling services. This problem is compounded for our narrator, Miranda, when she is, right from the start, sold into slavery, where, for a while, she has even less chance to speak her mind or use her talents. ay 25, 2003, page 11C.)

Reviewed by Dr. Richard Weigel, Western Kentucky University History Department.

Recommendations on High School Reading Lists:

Greenhill School

Notre Dame K-12 summer reading list'Rebecca%20East%20Pompeii

Silicon Valley High School teaching unit on ancient Rome'Rebecca%20East%20Pompeii

Nazareth Academy "Latin fun"

Recommended Age Level: Adults, and Young Adults in High School or College

Comment by Dr. Fred Mench at

>with Rebecca East.

Reviewed by Rebecca Brown (four teapots)