Cover image for The secrets of Vesuvius
The secrets of Vesuvius
Lawrence, Caroline.
Personal Author:
First edition.
Publication Information:
Brookfield, Conn. : Roaring Brook Press, 2001.
Physical Description:
173 pages : illustrations ; 22 cm.
Ten-year-old Flavia and her friends encounter the Roman admiral Pliny before making a journey to her uncle's farm near Mt. Vesuvius, where they try to solve a riddle, reunite a family, and get out of the path of a natural disaster.
Reading Level:
680 Lexile.
Program Information:
Accelerated Reader AR MG 5.0 6.0 65958.

Reading Counts RC 6-8 5.2 11 Quiz: 33996 Guided reading level: T.

Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
X Juvenile Fiction Open Shelf
X Juvenile Fiction Central Closed Stacks
X Juvenile Fiction Open Shelf
X Juvenile Fiction Mystery/Suspense
X Juvenile Fiction Mystery/Suspense

On Order



"Kirkus" called T"he Thieves of Ostia" "a fast-paced, crackling good mystery." In this second book in "The Roman Mysteries" series, Flavia and her friends depart Ostia for a summer in Pompeii and are quickly caught up in a mysterious riddle and a hunt for great treasure--while above the town, Mount Vesuvius rumbles, ready to erupt.

Author Notes

A classical historian and archaeologist, Caroline Lawrence lives in London, England.

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

Gr. 4^-6. In this peril-wrapped sequel to Thieves of Ostia [BKL Mr 15 02], a trip to her uncle's farm near Mount Vesuvius provides more opportunities for teenage sleuth Flavia Gemina, along with her multitalented sidekicks, to solve mysteries against a superbly detailed first-century B.C.E. backdrop. Drawn into a welter of parallel plots, red herrings, tantalizing riddles, new friendships, and romance, Flavia displays positively Holmesian powers of observation and deduction, at the same time learning about human nature. She also comes away with some thought-provoking views on paganism and Christianity (illegal at the time). Lawrence tucks in several historical places and figures--among them, the renowned naturalist Pliny, a charming, chatty scene stealer--and draws it all together in time for a frantic flight from the volcano's eruption. The author conveys the flavor of the times, but modern kids will have no trouble identifying with the young characters, thanks largely to some timeless bathroom humor and horseplay; mystery fans will have the chance to watch this Roman Nancy Drew in action while witnessing one of the world's worst natural disasters through her eyes. --John Peters

Publisher's Weekly Review

Young detective Flavia Gemina and her sidekicks Jonathan, Nubia and Lupus return in The Secrets of Vesuvius, the second in The Roman Mysteries series after The Thieves of Ostia. Here the quartet travels across the Bay of Naples to spend time with Flavia's uncle near Pompeii. They investigate a potentially treasure-yielding riddle, but when Vesuvius erupts, the friends run for their lives. (Oct.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

School Library Journal Review

Gr 4-7-A mystery set in ancient Rome. When Flavia, Jonathan, Lupus, and Nubia rescue an admiral from a boating accident, he not only rewards them, but he also offers them a riddle that holds the promise of great treasure to anyone who can solve it. He explains that he saw the riddle on the wall of a blacksmith shop and that the blacksmith could help solve it if they can find him. Later, the four friends spend the summer with Flavia's uncle, who lives near Mt. Vesuvius in Pompeii and find Vulcan, the blacksmith. He is an orphan and wants to solve his own mystery of why his parents abandoned him. Just as they are all beginning to figure out these conundrums, the great Vesuvius erupts and they must flee for their lives. The action begins slowly and doesn't really pick up until the volcano starts erupting, about halfway through the book. Also, the mystery element is somewhat confusing and hard to follow. However, the many interesting details about Roman life incorporated into the story provide insight into the period. Readers who are interested in the time as well as fans of the first book in the series, The Thieves of Ostia (Roaring Brook, 2002), may be willing to stick with it until the end.-Kristen Oravec, Cuyahoga County Public Library, Strongsville, OH (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.