New Pompeii by Daniel Godfrey
This is an unexpectedly enjoyable tale of time travel and mystery. The reader is dropped right into the story and has to figure out what is going on and why. Nick gets a job at a replica city full of Romans saved from the eruption of Vesuvius. He uncovers secrets and arrogance and realises they have under-estimated their not so quiescent captives. This has enmity, furtive plotting, appalling injustices, misperceptions and significant objections.
You have to have endless patience to get through this tale of unpleasant people, Romans who do menace particularly well, buried atavisms and a non-nuanced conclusion. This has the benefit of low expectations, blood and treachery, no moral rectitude or cultural vitality, depraved mindsets, non-compliance and a modern disconnect. Its okay, I’ll read the sequel.
“Why are the chickens so large, and the carrots orange?”
“The Roman emperors were brutal.”
“And most of them ended up murdered.”