A Day of Fire: A Novel of Pompeii is an amazing novel by six historical fiction authors – Stephanie Dray, Ben Kane, E. Knight, Sophie Perinot, Kate Quinn, Vicky Alvear Shecter, and an introduction by Michelle Moran. Can you hear me say Wow! This book is a compilation of separate stories that are linked together by place and people and from the opening words of this novel I was hooked! Despite being separate stories they flow together seamlessly to form a cohesive tale and it’s one I won’t soon forget.
This book centers around the deadly eruption of Mount Vesuvius in the time of the Roman Empire. Each story features one character and one part of the story although a few of the characters appear throughout. As you follow each story and each person you can feel the tension starting to build as at first there are only tremors and as they begin to get more severe people are becoming terrified and many begin to try and leave the city. Once the rock and ash begins to fall though many realize that it may be too late for them to leave at all and you feel like you are living in the pages of the book with them as you feel your own lungs constricting as you imagine the smoke and ash filling them.
Normally when I read a collection of short stories I have distinct favorites and ones I just didn’t like but that isn’t so with this book. The way these stories flow you couldn’t even tell you were reading different authors. You can definitely see the work that the authors put into this book to make it so. I can’t say I had a favorite because with the way the stories related to one another I kept getting one more piece of the story and that made all of the stories good. So many of the stories touched my heart though especially ‘The Mother’ by E. Knight and ‘The Whore’ by Stephanie Dray. Both of these stories are taking place during and in the aftermath of the eruption and are written with such passion and sadness that I find them hard to forget even though I put the book down a few days ago.
A brief word on the authors. I have read all of these authors except for Ben Kane and I will be taking a closer look now at his work. The ladies though are some of my favorite authors and I am so impressed with what they did with this novel and I certainly hope they will all get together and grace us with another book in the future. The only thing I missed having had an advance copy is that I didn’t get the introduction by Michelle Moran and I would have given anything to read that which only means I’ll be picking up a copy for myself to get it!
While this is a tale that is pure sadness at its core it is also a story of courage and hope in the face of disaster. It shows the resilience and goodness of people from all walks of life coming together to survive what is surely the worst that could happen to them. The authors did an amazing job of adding a story that brought alive this devastating time in history. A Day of Fire is a book that will touch you as it did me. It is most certainly not one to missed for the historical fiction fan. Highly, highly recommended!
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