TAG is a medical slave, doomed to spend his life healing his master's injured gladiators. But his warrior's heart yearns to fight in the gladiator ring himself and earn enough money to win his freedom.
LUCIA is the daughter of Tag's owner, doomed by her father's greed to marry a much older Roman man. But she loves studying the natural world around her home in Pompeii, and lately she's been noticing some odd occurrences in the landscape: small lakes disappearing; a sulfurous smell in the air. . . .
When the two childhood friends reconnect, each with their own longings, they fall passionately in love. But as they plot their escape from the city, a patrician fighter reveals his own plans for them -- to Lucia's father, who imprisons Tag as punishment. Then an earthquake shakes Pompeii, in the first sign of the chaos to come. Will they be able to find each other again before the volcano destroys their whole world?
Vicky Alvear Shecter
Vicky Alvear Shecter is the author of CLEOPATRA'S MOON, the winner of the SCBWI Crystal Kite Award, and three nonfiction books for young readers, most recently ANUBIS SPEAKS! A GUIDE TO THE AFTERLIFE BY THE EGYPTIAN GOD OF THE DEAD. A docent in the Ancient History department of the Carlos Museum of Art, she lives near Atlanta, Georgia. Please visit her website at www.vickyalvearshecter.com or follow her on Twitter at @valvearshecter.
- The world had gone silent. The dogs that had been howling moments before had quieted.
Even the ragged chickens in the streets had stopped their infernal clucking and
squawking. Her sandaled feet slapping on the cobblestones and her rapid breaths
sounded unnaturally loud.
Then a boom erupted around her, through her --
in her -- with such ferocity she fell to the ground in a crouch, covering her ears.
The force of the explosion rattled her teeth and bones. She felt a blast of sudden
heat, like someone had opened an immense kiln in her face.
As if in a dream,
she watched the cobblestone street ripple at the top of the lane, then hurtle toward
her like an ocean wave.