The Roman Mysteries #3: The Pirates of Pompeii

by Caroline Lawrence

Hardcover, 2003



Local notes

Fic Law





Roaring Brook Press (2003), Hardcover, 176 pages


At a refugee camp following the eruption of Mt. Vesuvius which buried Pompeii, Flavia and her friends discover that children are disappearing and a very powerful citizen might be involved.


Original publication date


Physical description

176 p.; 8.49 inches

User reviews

LibraryThing member the_hag
The Pirates of Pompeii follows immediately after the events in The Secret's of Vesuvius, and is the third in Lawrence's Roman Mysteries Series. Here we rejoin Flavia, Nubia, Jonathan, and Lupus as they find themselves in a refugee camp near Surrentum. As with the previous books, this volume is set
Show More
in the first century, 79 A.D. As we start out here, the group (along with Uncle Gaius, Aristo, Miriam, Mordecai and the dogs) are working hard to help the survirors with Mrodecai offering his services free of charge and running a surgery out of a bath house near the harbor of Stabia. Not long after arriving there, the foursome discovers a frightened young girl hiding in a cave on the mountain and learns that children are disappearing from the refugee camp...and we all know this is a mystery that Falvia and her friends cannot turn their back on. They begin immediately trying to solve it, a task which takes them to Villa Limona the home of Publus Pollius Felix. Their mystery leads them to search for a man known as "The Patron" and they have encounters with run away slaves, pirates, and the Emperor himself all in the course of solving this mystery!

As with the previous book, this is an excellent glimpse into the daily life of the Roman people and deals with wide ranging issues from disaster relief, the treatment (abuse of slaves is a big topic in this book) of slaves, the division of the class system, and the fall of Jerusalem (ten years prior). The children must deal with all manner of human failings from pirates who want to sell them as salves, to spoiled bratty rich children, to the issue of profiteering from the disaster at Pompeii. All in all, it manages to address a lot of series issues, give a solid look at life in the given time period, and still be entertaining and fun to read! The Pirates of Pompeii the focus is almost exclusively on the four children with the adults playing only a brief role at the beginning and end. The only adult to have a significant part here is Pollius, who I would label as a "guest star" in this volume.

Overall, this was a highly enjoyable mystery/thriller/adventure book for young readers that is heavy on the details of Roman daily life and is highly descriptive with likable and believable characters (for the most part). Previously, what I felt that there was a bit of a heavy handed Christian message to the series, however it's much more subtle in this book and is more welcome...woven into the story with more skill. I also liked that the inequality between Falvia (freeborn) and Nubia (her slave) is addressed more directly here (as with Lupus also). I give it four stars, The Pirates of Pompeii strength is in details and overall, it is a light and entertaining read.
Show Less




½ (32 ratings; 4)
Page: 1.1281 seconds