The Shadow of the Volcano
"The mountain cracks and spews out fire, the daytime sky turns black as night ..."
Max and the children find themselves in the ancient city of Pompeii in the year 79AD and something terrible is about to happen...
Don't miss this exciting adventure!
WINNER OF THE BEST MIDDLE GRADE SERIES -
CHILDREN'S LITERARY CLASSICS BOOK AWARDS 2017
The ancient Roman town of Pompeii lies in the shadow of Mount Vesuvius, but its inhabitants are blissfully unaware of the deadly threat of the volcano that is about to devastate their lives.
Twins Joe and Jemima Lancelot, still on the hunt for their missing parents, travel back in time to the year 79AD, accompanied by friend Charlie, and Max their Tonkinese cat.
Arriving in the middle of a slave auction in the Forum, the children are shocked to find themselves being sold to the highest bidder. Trapped in the household of a wealthy Pompeian, how will they manage to escape before the town is buried by the erupting volcano?
POMPEII - August 79AD
Scylax wiped the trickle of sweat from his brow as he gazed up at the overcast sky. It was unbearably hot today, but the sun appeared to be hidden behind a greyish haze, making the temperature feel even stickier and more oppressive. As he glanced across towards the mountain he was surprised to notice small wisps of smoke which seemed to be coming from the very tip of the summit. That’s odd, he thought, wondering if someone had started a fire amongst the scorched shrubs and tinder-dry vegetation on the slopes of Vesuvius.
Shaking his head, Scylax hurried on towards the Porta Marina, the gate which led out of the city down to the harbour. One of his boats was due in with a new shipment of slaves and he wanted to be there to check them off on his wax tablet. Last time he’d been three short and he was determined that there wouldn’t be any funny business with this one – he didn’t entirely trust those port officials. Just because he was a foreign merchant, they thought he’d be too dim to notice some of his cargo was missing. Pushing his way through the noisy crowds which thronged the narrow streets of the busy town, he cursed as he was jostled by sharp elbows pushing him off the pavement and slowing his progress.
‘Hey, Scylax!’ A voice from behind stopped him in his tracks and he spun round to see who it was.
‘Greetings, Caecilius. Salve!’ He bowed his head respectfully to the man who was one of his most valued customers. Scylax had sold several slaves to the wealthy banker in recent years.
‘I’m looking for a couple of new servants,’ began Caecilius. ‘In particular, my wife’s been nagging me to get her another maid and if I go home empty-handed this evening I’ll never hear the last of it. I’m hoping you’ll be able to help me out. What have you got at the moment?’
‘You might be in luck, sir. I’m just on my way down to the harbour to check out a fresh delivery which should be arriving any minute now. They’ll be on sale at the auction in the Forum later this afternoon. I’m sure you’ll find something suitable if you come along.’
The banker nodded. ‘I’ll be there. Don’t sell them all before I arrive, will you?’
The slave trader rubbed his hands together with glee as Caecilius turned away. The banker wasn’t short of money and would be prepared to pay top prices, so Scylax felt certain he’d be able to make a decent profit out of today’s cargo. He just hoped they’d turn out to be a decent selection and not a bunch of ugly, knock-kneed weaklings or he’d have trouble persuading anyone to part with hard cash for them.
At the prospect of a sale before he’d even collected the goods, Scylax began to whistle a jolly tune as he arrived at the port. Ah good, he was just in time - there was his boat being tied up at the quayside. He hurried towards it, keen to see the quality of the merchandise which was about to be unloaded.
In September The Shadow of the Volcano reached the NUMBER ONE slot in the Kindle charts for children's historical fiction on both Amazon.com and Amazon.co.uk.
Review for The Shadow of the Volcano
"Wendy Leighton-Porter's historical adventure novel for children and preteens, The Shadow of the Volcano: Shadows From the Past, Book Five, finds the time-travelers in Pompeii, and seeing the doomed city and its inhabitants just days before the eruption is poignant and moving. While this is book five in Leighton-Porter's Shadows From the Past historical series, each of these books is complete and can be read as a stand-alone novel. I was fascinated by the historical aspect of this work as I was not all that familiar with Pompeii, aside from the tragic images taken after the town was rediscovered. The author breathes life anew into Pompeii, showing the likely culture one would have found there at that time in history. She also addresses the issue of slavery in an upfront and personal way by having her characters experience it first-hand. The Shadow of the Volcano: Shadows From the Past, Book Five is a thrilling and exciting read, and it's most highly recommended."
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