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The Secret of Vesuvius: The Roman Mysteries, Book II (The Roman Mysteries #2)

3.89  ·  Rating details ·  1,501 Ratings  ·  82 Reviews
Kirkus called The 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.
Hardcover, 192 pages
Published October 1st 2002 by Roaring Brook Press (first published January 1st 2001)
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Leila Anani
Normally I love books set in the Ancient World, and I did enjoy The Thieves of Ostia, the first book in this series, but sadly this one left me cold.

The one thing I did like was how it wove in the real characters of Pliny, Rectina and Pomponianus - the way this handles Pliny's death, is fairly accurate to the sources.

Everything else I hated - The ASINE riddle that kicked this off wasn't enough of a mystery and the answer failed to satisfy me. The mystery of who Miriam's in love with - when it's
Jul 11, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: re-reads
This second book is not my favourite. But its okay.
Jan 28, 2016 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This book is okay in its way though there were one or two issues I had with it.

First of all is the relationship that develops between two characters.
(view spoiler)
Aug 25, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

I was very excited when I discovered Caroline Lawrence because in my view she is the Robert Harris of children’s fiction and Robert Harris is one of my favourite authors. There are certainly similarities in the quality of writing and underpinning depth of knowledge which is evident in Lawrence’s The Secrets of Vesuvius and Harris’s Pompeii.

The Secrets of Vesuvius is a beautifully written book, full of interesting vocabulary, both English and Latin. Lawrence manages to effortlessly develop her ch
May 30, 2016 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: children-s-books
I didn't like it as well as the first, even though, technically, it was probably better. And a little more consistent in tone/grimness level/whatever you'd want to call it. As the title suggests, it happens during a rather famous eruption of Vesuvius and anyone with some history knowledge is going to know that all will not go well with the character's vacation to Pompeii.

Two things made me not continue reading the series, though. (view spoiler)
Socratic Consulting
Author, editor, publisher, audience fail.
The lack of narrative voice about females marrying at 14 to 30 year old [at least] men was appalling for modern fiction to today's young kids, who I find are being referred these [baldly violent and child-marriage and affluence-filled books] at age 8. That irresponsible lack of rising to a teachable gender-history moment is just one failure. The other dimensions of failure include, but are not limited to, the intense and regular episodes of violence [gra
Jun 16, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
It didn't really have a good story and it had strange characters
Sep 05, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I picked up this book because I love anything about ancient Rome and particularly like to read about Vesuvius. Loved it. It is juvenile fiction. But very well written. Story follows four young friends through a few days before the eruption and ends after Vesuvius erupts. It include Pliny the elder trying to rescue friends and dying while attempting the rescue by ship in Stabiae.
Apr 27, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
A decent historical fiction for middle school aged children.
Gary Brennan
Aug 10, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Elizabeth Burdon
You'd be surprised how much this taught me when I was ten
Aug 24, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Read this book in work, and finished it off as I'm using it for part of my pre-entry uni projects :)
While the mystery isn't that mysterious, the adventure of the plot more than makes up for it.
Kevin de Ataíde
Pliny the Admiral, Mordecai the Jew and Aristo the Greek tutor? Well, how original. The best part about this book is its educational value; the author seems to have done a lot of research before writing; there is mythology Roman and Greek, precise geography and maps of the period, descriptions of the Roman towns and technology, culture and language... The pace of the book is rather slow, but it is intended for children. But the more famous Enid Blyton had a much faster pace in her books; Blyton, ...more
Mar 10, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Band 2 geht nahtlos in Band 1 über. In diesem Band lernt man etwas darüber, wie die Römer die Stunden einteilten.
Auch über den detailgetreuen Ausbruch des Vesuvs, bei dessen Beschreibung sich die Autorin an die Beschreibung des Plinius zu halten scheint (die habe ich in Latein auch mal übersetzen müssen), erfährt man viel, sogar was an pyroklastischer Strom ist.
Anders als in den Klassischen Kriminalromanen für Kinder wie 5 Freunde, entwickeln sich die Personen weiter und man erfährt in jedem Ban
Matti Karjalainen
Sep 30, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: 5-7 luokat, historiasta kiinnostuneet
Caroline Lawrencen "Vesuviuksen salaisuudet" (WSOY, 2004) on toinen osa Roomalaismysteerit-sarjassa, joka kertoo kymmenvuotiaan Flavia-tytön ja hänen ystäviensä seikkailuista antiikin Roomassa. Nyt ratkotaan niin aarteen jäljille johtavaa arvoitusta kuin ihmissuhteitakin Vesuviuksen juurella.

Lawrence kirjoittaa jännittävästi ja saa historiallisen miljöön elämään kuvaten niin tapakulttuuria, antiikin myyttejä kuin aitoja, historiallisia henkilöitäkin (muun muassa luonnontieteilijä ja amiraali Pli
Somewhat mixed feelings about this book as the mystery element felt somewhat forced. Perhaps it has to do with a filmsy setup. The young detectives save Pliny from drowning and after he shows his gratitude, he gives them a "riddle" to solve. The riddle is really a pretence to "solve" the mystery of Vulcan's (traveling blacksmith) identity which was not as very hard to discern. Perhaps the most baffling "mystery" was the identity of Mariam's secret admirer which I have to admit, was a bit surpris ...more
Jul 10, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Older Children/Teens into Mysteries
Recommended to Leah by: The front cover attracted me
Shelves: childrens
This book in the series in much more fast-paced than the previous one and the story seems to focus more on others than on Flavia, making me enjoy this story more.

I loved learning about Pompeii and Mount Vesuvius, and how the ash clouds covered everything. I loved how the four friends spent a while tryying to figure out the riddle of the treasure. Meeting Clio was enjoyable and I loved how her Christian family help him to believe his son's dreams and he becomes Christian too. Also, even though it
Dharia Scarab

My love of reading started when i was young, and it gives me immense pleasure to provide books to Spread the Word Nevada, an organization that passes them on to children in the community. They are a terrific organization supporting an important cause. If your local I encourage you to check them out. For those living further a field, look in your own community, their may already be a similar program in place. And if not, you can always help start one.

Myself, I go ou
R. C.
Jul 23, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Scott Kennedy
This is the first of the series that I have checked out. A fairly interesting story line for a children's book, although as some others have commented, character development at times is a bit rushed and why a character forms such an attachment to another does not always get explained. Also, the ending did seem a bit rushed. It was nice to see Christians and Christianity portrayed in a good light.

Definitely a series I will get my daughter to read when she's a bit older. I hesitate now (she's alm
Jul 23, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: young-adult
My biggest gripe with this book is the fact that the majority of the characters all survived. The eruption of Vesuvius was totally devastating! But I guess you can't write a YA book and have all your characters die, and Lawrence did kill off a few people. As a mystery, this book was a little lacking, because (view spoiler) ...more
Jeanette Johnson
Nov 08, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Once again this exciting, fast paced mystery brings the roman culture back to life. I always wondered what happened prior to Vesuvius erupting and burying Pompeii.In this mystery we get a first hand vision of some of the terror and difficulties the people experienced before their mountain exploded.

It's the summer of AD 79, and Flavia Gemina the sea captain's daughter along with her friends Jonathan the Jewish boy; Nubia the African slave-girl; and Lupus the homeless beggar-boy set sail for the B
Vicki Cline
May 22, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: roman-mysteries
In August of 79 AD, Flavia and her three young friends go to her uncle's farm near Pompeii. They meet Admiral Pliny, the famous author of Natural History and a mysterious young blacksmith named Vulcan. Given the date and place of the novel (as well as the title), I don't think it's a spoiler to say that much of the action takes place around the eruption of Vesuvius. There is naturally a good bit of tragedy in the book, unusual for something aimed at pre- and young teens.
Sep 10, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: childrens-ya
The second volume of the Roman Mysteries series goes like a rocket, as Flavia and friends travel for a nice peaceful holiday near the city of Pompeii, AD 79. While they poke around at a few mysteries - an odd riddle, an elusive blacksmith - Vesuvius sleeps peacefully - until it doesn't. Not only are the mysteries solved, they're solved while trying to escape a massive volcanic eruption. The characters are downright adorable, the action is superbly orchestrated and paced, the eruption and the rac ...more
Oct 19, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book is on fire! It has a trapping plot that never weakens and I really like how it refers to real ancient Roman facts such as dates and people. It also explores the Roman problems in ancient times like religion and slaves. It had a lot of characters, which was sometimes hard to follow, and there wasn't too much mystery, more action suspense. The writing style was varying, sometimes lull, but at other times a page turner. I would recommend reading this book for readers who enjoy historical ...more
Mar 13, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery
YA book about a scholarly 10 year old girl of ancient Rome who has a penchant for solving mysteries. Flavia's family and friends travel to the country side for a retreat...and the chance to solve a riddle a cryptic riddle, and the find the mysterious blacksmith Vulcan.

The true story is about the erruption of Mount Vesuvius, it's devastating destruction and the courage of survival of those who escaped.

What is great about this series is the details of life of ancient times...and it's not glorifi
Feb 02, 2014 marked it as read-but-not-finished-reviewing
Recommends it for: middle grade readers
This is the second book in The Roman Mysteries series by Caroline Lawrence.

interesting quote:

"'Fortune favors the brave,' he quoted. And added to Phrixus, 'You can write that down.'" (p. 135) [see more about this quote here]
Lawrence steps up her Judeo-Christian moralism in The Secrets of Vesuvius while shirking things like drama, tension, and earnestness. There is no mystery to speak of (other than a riddle, to which the answer is GOD), and the adventure elements that replace it are lackluster. Besides the heavy Christian framing, there's also an annoying preponderance of romance. The Secrets of Vesuvius throws away all of the good will of its flawed predecessor.
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Caroline Lawrence won a scholarship to Cambridge to read Classical Archaeology, then did a degree in Hebrew and Jewish studies at University College London. She now lives in London with her English husband and teaches Latin, Greek, Hebrew, Art and French to children.

* Roman Mysteries
Western Mysteries
More about Caroline Lawrence

Other books in the series

The Roman Mysteries (1 - 10 of 17 books)
  • The Thieves of Ostia (Roman Mysteries, #1)
  • The Pirates of Pompeii (Roman Mysteries, #3)
  • The Assassins of Rome (Roman Mysteries, #4)
  • The Dolphins of Laurentum (The Roman Mysteries, #5)
  • The Twelve Tasks of Flavia Gemina (The Roman Mysteries, #6)
  • The Enemies of Jupiter (The Roman Mysteries, #7)
  • The Gladiators from Capua (The Roman Mysteries, #8)
  • The Colossus of Rhodes (Roman Mysteries, #9)
  • The Fugitive from Corinth (The Roman Mysteries, #10)
  • The Sirens of Surrentum (The Roman Mysteries, #11)

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