Thursday, April 9, 2009


The end of POMPEII’S first page reads:

Already he could feel the heat of the morning beginning to build, the promise of another day without rain.

POMPEII is the first book I’ve read by Robert Harris, though I recently purchased IMPERIUM. As you might surmise, POMPEII deals with the infamous volcano that erupted in the year 79 AD. I like the above sentence because it sets a nice tone and foreshadows the volcanic eruption. Preceding it, the main character has just finished fixing an aqueduct two hours before dawn.

In honor of another Thesaurus Thursday, let’s see how else the excerpt might be stated. My effort:

A stifling heat already suffocated the dark fields ahead, signaling another hot, rainless day.

Anyone else want to try? Feel free to critique my sentence or the one Robert Harris wrote. It’s a good exercise I use to hone my writing skills.


  1. Too soon the cool evening air was giving way to the smoldering heat of another bone dry day. The ground itself seemed to smolder.

    Okay, mine's not the best, but this is a fun exercise!

  2. Another day without rain? Seriously? But like every day in the past month, it was true, and as the sun rose so did the thermometer.

    (But did they have thermometers back in Pompeii? I'll use the anachronism card for that one.)

  3. An intense heat rose with the morning sun, searing his skin and boiling off any prospects of rain.

    (I'm no writer, but the exercise is fund, kind of like a puzzle.)

  4. Oh, I like all the different entries so far! Great job, everyone! This is definitely fun. It's amazing how each one of us can take and give a slightly different impression of voice or tone with our styles.

  5. Damn, it was a hot one and that ash falling on her arms couldn't be good for anyone!

    (Ok bad joke)

    I bought the Harris book a couple years back but still haven't read it. Maybe it's time...

  6. Oh my. On POMPEII, it's been a year since I've read it, and I remember overall giving it a 'good' rating. However, I think there were a few places where it comes across clunky. Fortunately, the plot idea and immediate countdown of the volcano carry the rough spots.