Pompeii in all it's glory

Curses and Smoke: A Novel of Pompeii - Vicky Alvear Shecter

Pompeii. The name says it all. We think of volcanic eruptions, Pliny, and the heartbreaking scenes we've seen from history shows on television.


This book has much more to offer. We are introduced to Lucia. She is the daughter of Lucius, owner of a gladiator school in Pompeii. When we meet Lucia, she is becoming betrothed to a man 45 years older than herself. She will be the young trophy wife of an old man who can infuse money into her father's school. Sad but true, women were used in this manner. Lucia is a very sheltered young woman, educated but naive. She is in love with Tages (Tag) a medicus (healer) who happens to be a slave owned by her father. What, a slave? Yes. As you can probably guess, a slave and the daughter of the house is a no-no.

As their love blossoms, we are witness to tremors, earthquakes and finally, the eruption of Vesuvius. Mixed in with this is a romantic triangle involving a rich boy from Herculaneum. No spoilers, but this is quite a punch added to the story.

I enjoyed this book. I found it historically accurate and highly entertaining. Vicky Alvear Shecter is a fantastic author. The scenes of Vesuvius' eruption are spellbinding. I could not put this book down. The ending is heartbreaking, the descriptions of Pompeii post eruption are just amazing. The author includes some historical information. For example, she places the eruption in October 79 CE, a date many scholars feel may be more accurate than August.

All in all, a fantastically written book, well researched and interesting to read.

Source: http://bookloversparadise.blogspot.com