The Shadow of the Volcano

Shadows From the Past, Book 5

Children - Educational
270 Pages
Reviewed on 08/13/2016
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Author Biography

I spent 20 years as a teacher of French, Latin and Classical studies, before a change of career led me to writing children's fiction. Originally from the UK, I now live in France with my husband and our beautiful Tonkinese cat.

Shadows from the Past is a series of time-travel adventures, featuring 3 children and a rather special Tonkinese cat - the incomparable Maximus Lancelot to give him his full name. I'm currently working on the eighteenth book, The Shadow of the Slave Ship. The full-length books are also accompanied by some shorter stories, Max's Adventures, all of which see the talking feline hero, Max, undertaking solo missions in the past.

As I take my young readers on a magical mystery tour through the past, I'm hoping that my love of history, myth and legend will rub off on them too.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Jack Magnus for Readers' Favorite

The Shadow of the Volcano: Shadows From the Past, Book Five is an historical adventure novel for children and preteens written by Wendy Leighton-Porter. It had already been a busy summer as the twins, Max, and their friend, Charlie, continued to search for the twins' parents who were lost in time. They had already been to Atlantis, ancient Crete, Troy, and ancient Egypt, but each time they found that their parents had been there, but had left some time before. Now they were ready for another adventure, and they consulted the strange book that kept sending them out to find their parents. This time, they ended up in Pompeii in August of AD 79. The eleven-year-olds arrived and found themselves in a line of people on a dock. Before they knew it, they were sold as slaves, fortunately as a group and to a kind master. Still, adapting to the concept of being a slave is challenging, and convincing the friends they make during their stay and their kindly master to flee before Vesuvius erupts is even more difficult. Will they be able to escape Pompeii themselves before it's too late?

Wendy Leighton-Porter's historical adventure novel for children and preteens, The Shadow of the Volcano: Shadows From the Past, Book Five, finds the time-travelers in Pompeii, and seeing the doomed city and its inhabitants just days before the eruption is poignant and moving. While this is book five in Leighton-Porter's Shadows From the Past historical series, each of these books is complete and can be read as a stand-alone novel. I was fascinated by the historical aspect of this work as I was not all that familiar with Pompeii, aside from the tragic images taken after the town was rediscovered. The author breathes life anew into Pompeii, showing the likely culture one would have found there at that time in history. She also addresses the issue of slavery in an upfront and personal way by having her characters experience it first-hand. The Shadow of the Volcano: Shadows From the Past, Book Five is a thrilling and exciting read, and it's most highly recommended.

Jemima Pett

In book 5 of the Shadows from the Past series, twins Jemima and Joe, friend Charlie and superstar Max the Tonkinese cat are whisked off to the port at Pompeii. Fortunately they have picked up enough history to know that it’s the worst place anyone could be on 24th August 79AD. So, arriving in mid-August and being mistaken for slaves, they have little time to work out how to get people to leave the city – and little chance to do so.

Jemima and Joe find friends and more influential slaves in their own household, while Charlie gets a more prestigious place. Max becomes an alley cat of sorts, and has some amazing adventures of his own. That cat needs a book to himself. Oh… check out Max’s Arabian Adventures and Max’s Christmas Adventure!

What marks this book out as special is the level of detail about daily life in Pompeii, which is interesting in itself, yet with enough plot and sub-plot to capture the attention of the reader. There is plenty to stir the nerves and make you wonder ‘will they, won’t they’ before the inevitable eruption occurs.

This is another superb episode from Wendy Leighton-Porter!

Wendy Leighton-Porter

Thanks to Readers' Favorite for another great review!