In the Shadow of Vesuvius Blog Tour


Book Synopsis:

Vesuvius is Awakening. Mira, a fifteen-year old slave who saw the coming death and destruction in a vision. Now it is time to fulfill the vow she made to the mother of the Roman child in her care. To do this, she must escape the watchful eye of the slave ordered to guard her, and the stubborn father who refuses to believe there is any danger. Before Mount Vesuvius erupts and buries the town, she has to convince her guard to go with her or suffer the fate of Herculaneum and all who have not yet fled to safety. Seeing his neighbours leave, her owner decides to join them, but first he will make sacrifices to the gods. To Mira’s dismay he takes them to the temple farthest from the best escape route. Mira thinks about killing the slave keeping watch on her, or even better the child’s father, then they can all run from the certain death she knows is on its way. But can she commit murder, even if to save the life of the child she loves?


I enjoyed this book very much.  With plenty of action the book moves quickly and would be perfect for reluctant readers.  The characters are interesting and believable, the plot is focused and intense, and the setting is vivid.  The only thing I had a problem with was that I wanted more, more details about the characters and the setting, and more story.  I wanted to know more about what happens to Mira and Remy. Of course this happens with a lot of stories, you get attached to the characters and hate to say goodbye. I do recommend this to all who enjoy a quick, intense read.  If all historical fiction was written like this, I think more children would read it.

Author Liz Carmichael has stopped by today with a character interview with Mira from her new book In The Shadow of Vesuvius.

What is life like as a slave in your city?

Depending on our owners some slaves think they have a good life. I am well fed and clothed, but not allowed out on my own, and I would much prefer my freedom. Some slaves are chained day and night, and fed scraps. Others, who have proved themselves loyal, may come and go as they please in their free time. They would still be whipped, though, if they tried to run. We all wear either a collar or arm bracelet with our owner’s name engraved on it.  

Have you had visions before? If so, what About?
 I have had small visions about who was going to be sick, the gender of a baby, where lost objects were, or a storm coming suddenly from a clear sky. The eruption was the biggest and most important. I believe Fortuna sent it because I prayed faithfully, and sacrificed to her.  

Tell us about the man who owns you and his family. Dominus Octavius is a stubborn, blustering man. He owes much money because of his gambling habit, and will often bet a slave on the throw of the dice. His wife, Domina Serena’s dowry money keeps him safe. She is only a little older than me, and she chose me to be her Son’s nursemaid. She, too, has visions but keeps them to herself. If you were to gain your freedom what would you most like to do/be? Not if but when I gain my freedom, I will try to find my way to our farm in the mountains, to be reunited with my mother and younger brother and tell them what happened. They must wonder why my father and I never returned from our trip to the Pompeii markets.  

Could you describe for us what you plan to do if /when the volcano erupts? Where will you go?

It is my intention to be as far from Herculaneum as possible before that roiling death cloud comes. But I must fulfill my vow and keep Remy from harm. If Domina cannot, or will not, come with us, I shall escape somehow and take Remy with me into the mountains in the north. I cannot let him die.  

About the Author:  Liz Carmichael has been an avid reader of historical fiction since she was allowed to go to the library on her own.  She taught writing and editing for two years, but then the writing bug became too strong to ignore and she listened.  Although born in Scotland, she has spent time in several countries and is now settled in Melbourne, Australia.

Author Links: Website Purchase on Amazon for Kindle Purchase on Amazon in Paperback Purchase on Barnes & Noble


  1. Did you know there is a 1977 book with almost this same title? The Shadow of Vesuvius is by Eilis Dillon and is pretty good. I think the two deserve to be read together. I'll be looking forward to this one!

    1. A friend told me about the Ellis Dillon book a few weeks ago. She discovered it when she was looking on Google for mine. If I'd known earlier I could have changed the title. But, as you say, reading them together would work well.

      I'd love to hear if you enjoy In the Shadow...

  2. LOVE the concept--and the character interview. I have been eerily fascinated by this historical event for many years. Sounds like a compelling read!

    1. There's a New Zealand site that lets you take a virtual tour of the streets and some houses. I learned a lot from viewing the uncovered remains of Ancient Herculaneum.

      There is a list of sites of interest at the back of the book.

  3. Thank you so much, Heidi, for your great character interview, for being a host on this tour, and for an excellent review.

    The story of how a much younger Mira became a slave "An Unfortunate Journey" will soon be released, followed by her year as Remy's nursemaid, showing more of her life and that of the household of Dominus Octavius. These will probably suit younger children more.

    Again my thanks, it's been delightful to drop by. Now I have to go check what the tradesmen are up to. What a time to decide they could come.


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