24 Feb 2011


April AD 80.
Ostia, the port of Rome.

The sailing season has begun, but the omens are not favourable.

Lupus longs to travel to the Greek islands, to find his mother and fulfil his uncle's dying wish. When he and his friends, Flavia, Nubia and Jonathan, hear that freeborn children are being kidnapped again, they set sail in spite of the omens.

But the voyage is fraught with danger: someone - or something - seems to be against them. Their mission takes them on a thrilling journey from Corinth to Rhodes, site of one of the seven wonders of the ancient world. There they encounter a powerful slave-dealer known as 'the Colossus', and when Flavia, Nubia and Jonathan are caught in a deadly trap, Lupus is forced to make a terrible choice.
Inner front cover.

FIRST SENTENCE: Lupus stared in amazement at the little bronze pendent hanging from its linen cord.

MEMORABLE MOMENT: And there was another treasure on board, a much more precious treasure: people who loved him.

KEEP IT OR NOT?: No, this one will be going to either the book exchange or a charity shop. Not grown-up enough for any family or friends, I don't think even Niece #2 (12) will enjoy this.

One in a series of books, I think I would have benefited from reading at least the previous book as previous happenings were mentioned quite a lot and, if nothing else, may have given me a better understanding of the characters who remained a mystery to me.

Designed for junior readers, I'm not too sure of the appeal of this novel as it wasn't a particularly good story and lacked any real sense of excitement or adventure.

Despite two of the main characters being girls, I'm not too sure this novel has enough to capture the imagination of girls as there is nothing mystical or magical about the story (both of which generally appeal) and yet at the same time I don't think there is enough action to sustain the interest of boys.

So was there anything to recommend it? Yes, I loved learning some of the ancient superstitions and Gods of the sailors and it was interesting that the Greek island of Cos, a place I love, was mentioned. Then, of course, there was the wonderful poem ITHACA that I posted last week as well as the wonderful 'Aristo's Scroll' at the back of the book which enlightened the reader to some of the words they might not have known.

An ex-library book read, this was the 18th book read for the 100+ Reading Challenge and the 9th for the Loving The Reviews Reading Challenge. 


GMR said...

Huh...I didn't figure it for a "junior" read from the description...but I definitely know what you mean on reading in the middle of a series. Sometimes that prior knowledge from books 1 - whatever is REALLY needed. Too bad story wise it didn't hold well with you, but it sounds like you enjoyed the learning experience worked into it. Thanks for sharing...and happy reading!

Patti said...

Thanks for the honest review. Looks like this is one to skip.

Carrie at In the Hammock Blog said...

i love reading aobut this time period!

Melissa (Books and Things) said...

I didn't think this was such a young book especially with the subject matter. Perhaps that is why they thought it might go older? Anyway, thanks for the honest review. Don't think this one is for me.

Melissa (My World...in words and pages) said...

Interesting. Thanks for the great honest review. I've never heard of the book until now. :) Thank you!

Kelly said...

I think the setting and timeframe would have both caught my interest as a child. I've always been fascinated by that period. And as I said when you posted Ithaca....great poem!!!

naida said...

The time period and setting does sound good.