This novel is just excellent: a perfect bedtime reading book. Even though we know what’s going to happen from the get-go, namely, that Vesuvius is gonna blow its top and destroy Pompeii, the story is told so well it doesn’t matter that the outcome is known beforehand.
The protagonist is an “aquarius,” or water engineer, charged with repairing the Aqua Augusta, one of the great aqueducts of the Roman Empire. In doing so, he unearths a sinister plot to divert Pompeii’s water, and his efforts to repair the damaged aqueduct dovetail with his investigation and the approaching eruption of Vesuvius. Superb.