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In the fifth volume of the popular series of historical mysteries, a ragged stranger and the prospect of losing her family's fortune lead Flavia Gemina and her friends, Jonathan, Lupus, and Nubia to a seaside villa. There, they discover a shipwreck and sunken treasure--and that someone else is after the treasure, too. As they solve the riddle of the wreck, the four friends also stumble acorss the terrible mystery of Lupus's past.
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Caroline Lawrence grew up in California and moved to England, where she earned degrees in classical archaeology from Cambridge University and Hebrew and Jewish studies from the University of London. She is the author of three previous volumes in the Roman Mysteries series.
Grade 4-6 In this fifth entry in the series, Flavia Gemina's family faces ruin after her father's trading ship is wrecked. She and her friends Lupus, Nubia, and Jonathan are suspicious when creditors show up trying to seize the house soon after the sea captain arrives home, barely alive, with news of the disaster. They have only a day to find enough money to pay the debt. In the forum, Lupus unexpectedly sees Venalicius, the slave-dealer who killed his parents and cut out his tongue. Hoping for revenge, the boy tries to hire an assassin, but discovers that to do so will require a large sum. The friends, along with Flavia's father, take refuge at a country estate where they learn of a sunken treasure ship in the dangerous waters nearby. Lupus claims to be an experienced diver and informs the others that he can retrieve the submerged cargo. However, Venalicius is after the treasure, too--and has his own reasons for attempting the perilous dive. The taut mystery is cleverly plotted, with good clues scattered throughout. There are many interesting and authentic details of early Roman life as well. Familiarity with the earlier volumes is helpful, but not essential. A good choice for mystery fans who enjoy historical settings.--Elaine E. Knight, Lincoln Elementary Schools, IL
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