Book review: A Day of Fire by Stephanie Dray et al.

If you like historical fiction about the Roman Empire, A Day of Fire should really be on your TBR list.

From the official blurb:

“Pompeii was a lively resort flourishing in the shadow of Mount Vesuvius at the height of the Roman Empire. When Vesuvius erupted in an explosion of flame and ash, the entire town would be destroyed. Some of its citizens died in the chaos, some escaped the mountain’s wrath . . .

Six authors bring to life overlapping stories of patricians and slaves, warriors and politicians, villains and heroes who cross each others’ path during Pompeii’s fiery end. But who will escape, and who will be buried for eternity?”If you like historical fiction about the Roman Empire, A Day of Fire should really be on your TBR list.

Thanks to Crystal King’s debut novel, I’m now on an Ancient Roman kick; so, apart from  adding the whole of Lindsey Davis to my wish list, I’ve bought this book – and I wasn’t disappointed. Among its other merits, such as the detailed historical surroundings and the poignant plots, it contains the kind of thing I like in particular – showing a momentous event of an era through (very) diverse and multiple viewpoints.

The book consist of six stories of vastly different characters, overlapping and intertwining in often unexpected ways. There is a spirited heiress, who watches with terror as the wedding murals bloom upon her villa’s walls, unsuspecting of the real terror to come. There is a gruff ex-legionnaire down on his luck, who stakes his future on a gladiatorial context; but the roar of the arena is drowned by the roar of Vesuvius. There is a crippled senator, tired of life and willing to stay in the doomed city, until an unexpected savior comes his way…

Most of all, I loved the multilayered nature of the tale. A conniving temptress of one character’s story might turn out to be a much-abused survivor of her own, and a stereotypical smug, corrupt official might show unexpected depths, when the world starts to burn.

Buy on Amazon


  1. I have not read any ancient Rome books before but this one sounds interesting. I will have to get a copy.

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