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It's the summer of AD 79 and Flavia Gemina and her friends, Jonathan, Nubia and Lupus, set sail for the Bay of Naples where they are going to stay with Flavia's uncle near Pompeii. Once they arrive, they are soon absorbed in a quest to solve a riddle that may lead to treasure. But then tragedy strikes: Mount Vesuvius erupts and the friends must flee for their lives! Not just a mystery - this is an absolutely thrilling action adventure that brings history to life!

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Book Details

ISBN: 9781842550212
ISBN-10: 1842550217
Format: Paperback
(198mm x 132mm x 17mm)
Pages: 224
Imprint: Orion Children's Books (an Imprint of The Orion Publishing Group Ltd )
Publisher: Hachette Children's Group
Publish Date: 1-Jul-2002
Country of Publication: United Kingdom


UK Kirkus Review » Flavia Gemina is the daughter of a famous Roman sea captain and is enjoying a holiday in the Bay of Naples with her uncle. But this is AD 79, and disturbing tremors underfoot have the natives muttering of harbingers of doom. Before Pompeii can be engulfed by its volcanic cataclysm, Flavia and her friends Jonathan, Lupus and Nubia are engaged in trying to solve a baffling mystery. The solution of the mystery will deliver a considerable treasure, but then Vesuvius erupts, and the children find that staying alive is their greatest priority. In accessible, uncomplicated prose, Lawrence weaves an engaging spell. Her young protagonists are nicely differentiated, and the details of day-to-day life in first-century Italy are painted vividly. This is the second of Lawrence's Roman Mysteries, and bodes well for further titles in the series. Ages 10+ (Kirkus UK)

US Kirkus Review » 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) (Kirkus Reviews)

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Author Biography - Caroline Lawrence

Caroline Lawrence is American. She lives with her husband by the river in London and is active as a speaker in schools and at book festivals. She took part in the British Museum's POMPEII LIVE event, giving talks that were streamed to schools all over the UK, and she is the winner of the 2009 CLASSICS ASSOCIATION PRIZE for 'a significant contribution to the public understanding of Classics'. In addition to the 17 novels in the ROMAN MYSTERIES sequence, Caroline Lawrence has written five spin-off titles, all of which have contributed to total UK sales in excess of 1 million copies. Visit Caroline's website at and follow her on Twitter @CarolineLawrenc.

Books By Author Caroline Lawrence

Archers of ISCA by Caroline Lawrence

The Archers of ISCA

Paperback, October 2016
Escape from Rome by Caroline Lawrence

Escape from Rome

Paperback, May 2016
Queen of the Silver Arrow by Caroline Lawrence

Queen of the Silver Arrow

Paperback, January 2016
Case of the Bogus Detective by Caroline Lawrence

The Case of the Bogus Detective

Paperback, June 2015