Christian Fiction Book Club — Pompeii: City on Fire

9 Jul

This month the Christian Fiction Book Club is discussing T L Higley’s historical novel, Pompeii:  City on Fire.  I reviewed this book in June, so I will just stick with the discussion this time around.  You can find my review by clicking HERE.

A city shadowed by a roiling volcano
A young politician running from his destiny
A Jewish slave girl with a desperate plan
Are any of them safe from harm?

Pleasure-seeking Romans find the seaside town of Pompeii the perfect getaway. But when the rich patrician Cato escapes Rome, intent on a life of leisure, he is unprepared for the hostility he encounters. In the same place, but at the opposite end of society, Ariella has disguised herself as a young boy to be sold into a gladiator troupe. Survival is her only ambition.
But evil creeps through the streets of Pompeii, and neither Ariella’s secret nor Cato’s evasion is immune to it. Political corruption, religious persecution, and family peril threaten to destroy them, even before an ominous mountain in the distance spews its fire.

As Vesuvius churns with deadly intent, Cato and Ariella must bridge their differences to save the lives of those they love—before fiery ash buries Pompeii, turning the city into a lost world.

Here are the discussion questions I chose:

Pompeii is a city reveling in its decadence. How did you feel about the way the author portrayed the society? Did it make you uncomfortable? Did you feel it was realistic?

I was somewhat surprised at how similar the decadence was in Pompeii to what is now the norm in Western Culture.  No we don’t have the arenas for blood sport, but we are a society of voyeurs looking for the newest and most sensational thing to watch.  I felt Higley’s portrayal was realistic and it did make me uncomfortable.  Uncomfortable in the knowledge that we in America are not any better than those pagans of the 1st century.

In what ways do you think our society parallels the Roman world in its obsession with death and sex? Would you say the world is getting worse or improving?

First off, death is a subject we cannot stand to think about, at least our own death.  Yet life has become so cheapened in our society — drive-bys, school shootings, road rage and the alarming abortion statistics show that we don’t really value life that much.  Perhaps that is why sex has become an obsession for some.  It is labelled an addiction now!  Sex may be a way for people to fight off the futility they feel in their lives.  When there is nothing in the future, why not live life to its fullest!  The Romans were not the only hedonists.

Well those are my thoughts on Pompeii:  City of Fire.  To find other  great discussions, click HERE.  A big Thank You to Seasons of Humility for hosting this month’s discussion.

Want to be part of the Club?  Here’s how:

1. Secure a copy of the book club pick and read it before the discussion date.

2. Find the reading group guide in the back of the book or on the publisher’s website. Choose one or more of the discussion questions to address in a blog post. You might also want to include a short review of the book.

3. Schedule your blog post to run on the discussion date. You may copy and use the book club logo above if you’d like.

4. On the discussion date, the host will run his/her review and answer a few discussion questions. The host will also include a MckLinky at the bottom so bloggers can link their posts.

5. On the discussion date, we all hop around reading and commenting on the reviews and opinions of participating bloggers.

6. If you do not have a blog of your own, you can share your opinions about the book club pick in the comment sections of other blogs.

7. Have you already read our book club picks? Great, participate anyway! You’ll have a head start answering some of the questions!

Book Club Schedule

August 13- Digitalis by Ronie Kendig
Host: TBD

September 24- The Preacher’s Bride by Jody Hedlund
Host: TBD

November 5- Dancing on Glass by Pamela Binnings Ewen
Host: TBD

December 17- She Walks in Beauty by Siri Mitchell 

Host: TBD

4 Responses to “Christian Fiction Book Club — Pompeii: City on Fire”

  1. Joy Tamsin David July 9, 2011 at 8:32 am #

    Thanks for linking up this month!

    I agree, the parallels of our western society with the ancient Romans are uncanny. It’s a lttle scary when you think about how the Romans ended up. 🙁

  2. gravesok July 9, 2011 at 9:08 am #

    I think that a lot of us chose the same questions to answer. We are all pretty much in agreement too. I liked what Serena(filling in for Joy at Edgy Inspirational Fiction) said when she quoted Solomon saying that there is nothing new under the sun. Does that mean we should lay down and let debauchery reign? I don’t think so. I think we still need to be shocked and appalled by how humanity can sink to the depths of immorality. Great review! And great discussion questions!

  3. Kacie Woodmansee July 9, 2011 at 9:59 am #

    It is really sad to see the parallels between the society of Rome in the first few centuries to our culture now. The methods have just evolved with changing technology. Thanks for your take on it!

  4. Amber Stokes July 9, 2011 at 2:45 pm #

    Thank you for linking up and sharing your thoughts! I agree that it was uncomfortable to read about some of the obsessions in this book, and it’s horribly sad how desensitized humans are in general–then and now. Sin is sin, no matter what century. 🙁


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