Teens visiting Rome become embroiled in a battle between ancient gods.
Laura loves learning about the ancient world, so her Classics class trip to Rome is a natural for her. But it’s even more exciting than she’d expected. Statues and paintings seem to move, and she sees a boy with wings on his feet. Could he be Mercury? Tension mounts when someone tries to steal Laura’s bracelet. It holds a star sapphire that her grandfather had found in Rome during World War II. Oddly, she finds in her backpack another stone almost identical to hers. As the story progresses, mayhem develops, starting with a volcanic eruption that blankets the city with ash. Sea gulls attack, while crows seem to be defending the teens. It seems that the ancient Roman gods are still around and still fighting. Laura becomes the epicenter of the battle and soon learns the supernatural importance of her two stones. Morris weaves history and mythology into the story but focuses mostly on action, ratcheting up the violence of the supernatural events. Laura continually comes across as uncertain, finally forcing herself to a snap decision that leads to an exciting battle and the story’s climax—but then to a rather anticlimactic ending that doesn’t seem to follow through on the novel’s potential.
A passable supernatural adventure for the summer break. (Paranormal suspense. 12-18)