Good friends of ours lent my husband this book and he really enjoyed it, so I thought I would read it to see if it was appropriate for my kids who are doing Latin and Greek in high school, and it turned out to be a great read! (And yes, I think it is appropriate for my 15-year-old.)
The story follows a young "aquarius", the man responsible for maintaining the flow of water in the aqueducts that bring the precious liquid down from the springs to the coastal towns on the Bay of Naples. He has recently started his new job after the mysterious disappearance of the previous aquarius. Unfortunately, problems soon arise as one of the branches of the aqeduct suddenly runs dry and is contaminated by sulphur. He and his staff must figure out the problem as soon as they can, before there are problems in the coastal towns for the local leaders.
His mission takes him to Pompeii and the way he wants to solve the problem doesn't endear him to the town's leader, an ambitious and ruthless man. As the aquarius discovers just what is causing the problems with the water supply and the imminent threat of the eruption of Vesuvius, he realizes they are all in mortal danger.
The final part of the book details the eruption of Vesuvius and how that affected the people in various parts of the coast. It is fascinating and fast paced. It is also an interesting book as regards what it might have been like to live in roman times. I think my son will enjoy the Latin words that come up here and there as well!
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