LAUGH AND LEARN
Since then it's become de rigeur to add humour to any story about the past aimed at the 7 to 10 age group, with the jokes sometimes outweighing the story. Caroline Lawrence is, thankfully, too skilful an author to fall into this trap. The Sewer Demon, her first title in a new series called The Roman Mystery Scrolls, has humour a plenty. It also has a tight plot, a very accurate sense of place and culture, and characters you will fall in love with. Oh, and there's plenty of historical facts too, mainly about latrines, dodgy plumbing and fake fortune telling. Perfect for both avid and reluctant readers.
The main charcaters are a beggar called Threptus and a soothsayer named Floridius who takes him under his wing. They are both beautifully drawn. Threptus is every-boy, dodging bullies and trying to make sense of a world that seems to have dealt him a tough hand early on in life. Floridius is a world-weary cheat with a sharp tongue and a heart of gold. When a rich widow seeks Floridius' help in getting rid of a noisy demon that seems to be haunting the sewers under her house, she sets off a chain of events that will have young readers racing to finish the book. An exciting and informative read indeed. Can't wait for the second installment in the series.
Return to REVIEWS HOMEPAGE