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THE SECRETS OF VESUVIUS by Caroline Lawrence


The Roman Mysteries: Book II

by Caroline Lawrence

Pub Date: Oct. 1st, 2002
ISBN: 0-7613-1583-7
Publisher: Roaring Brook Press

Four young friends in ancient Rome, 79 C.E., and environs attempt to solve a riddle at a time of great historic import in this absorbing sequel to The Thieves of Ostia (2001). Flavia, her neighbor Jonathan, Lupus, a boy slave who had his tongue cut out, and Nubia, the freed African slave, still learning Latin, are going to stay the summer at Flavia’s uncle’s farm near Pompeii. Before they leave, the youngsters help rescue a swimmer who turns out to be the historian, Admiral Pliny. He invites them to visit him in Pompeii. When they arrive, the youngsters overlook tremors and strange animal behavior while they try to puzzle out the riddle Pliny had given them. The interaction among the children: Jonathan, whose Jewish family is secretly Christian converts; Nubia, who is learning Latin poetry and speaks like it; Lupus, only eight and fierce, just learning to read; and the spirited Flavia keeps the story moving. The climax, the eruption of Vesuvius, uses many historical details that add excitement and verisimilitude. The riddle the children try to solve is also real, and no one, even today, knows what it means. (glossary, historical note) (Historical fiction. 9-12)