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Children's LiteratureThis book grips you from the start. Set in A.D. 62, the story centers on Hylas, a seventeen-year-old slave, whose master is murdered and whose family is swept away to be killed. His only hope of saving his family is to stay free long enough to prove their innocence. Befriended by Varro, a neighbor, Hylas enlists the help of Camillus, a young tribune and relative of Hylas's former master. Camillus risks his life and reputation by following a trail through Rome to solve the murder and free Hylas's family. One of the most outstanding things about the book is the realistic portrayal of ancient Rome. From the beginning, the characters are firmly developed within the mindset of their socio and political boundaries. The characters think, feel, and act just as they are living during the time period. This pulls the reader into the story and firmly bonds them with the characters. Once bonded, it is hard to put down the book. This is part of the "Roman Empire Sequence" series. 1999, Bethlehem Books, Ages 14 up.