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Curses and Smoke: A Novel of Pompeii

By Vicky Alvear Shecter


When your world blows apart, what will you hold onto?

Tag wants nothing more than to fight in the gladitorial arena, to earn enough money to win his freedom and escape the curse he bears. But without the chance to become a fighter, his future as a slave is sealed.

Lucia wants to explore the world - to discover the causes of natural mysteries, like the tremors that shake their beloved city of Pompeii. But since her father needs money to expand his business, she is doomed to marry a much older man.

Love is not something either one expects. Yet when the childhood friends reconnect, a forbidden passion sparks between them, stirring up long-buried secrets and lies. As the earth's tremors grow stronger and more frequent, Tag and Lucia must choose between the lives they know and the one they want to claim together - before a volcano destroys their whole world.


Reviews and Awards

"This plot-driven historical novel is a quick read, with enough Latin vocabulary and accurate descriptions of ancient Roman culture to keep readers interested, enlightened, and entertained…. Fans of Shecter’s Cleopatra’s Moon or any one of the many movies and TV shows about ancient Roman or Greek culture, such as Gladiator, should find plenty to like." - Booklist

"An impossible forbidden love in ancient Pompeii delivers history to romance fans." - Kirkus Reviews

"Including detailed descriptions of ancient medicine, religious practices, and gladiatorial combat, Shecter explores Roman society from the perspective of the oppressed…. Shecter makes clever use of the historical eruption to give her tragic climax a bitterly ironic twist." - Publishers Weekly 


Purchase Options
Indiebound  Scholastic • Amazon • Barnes & Noble


Summer 2014
Young Adult Fiction
ISBN: 978-0-545-50993-0
Price: $17.99/$19.99
Trim Size: 5 1/2" x 8 1/4"
Page Count: 336
Foreign Rights: Scholastic
Translation Rights: Scholastic
Rights Available? yes


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