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In the Shadow of Heroes

In the Shadow of Heroes

Published: 2 May 2019

Paperback / softback, 384 pages

Recommended for age 11+

By Nicholas Bowling

Published by Chicken House Ltd

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When his master disappears and a slave called Tog arrives with a secret message, Cadmus is swept up on a quest that leads to Emperor Nero and his crazed determination to possess the Golden Fleece of Greek mythology. The journey will push him to the edge of the Roman Empire - and reveal unexpected truths about himself ...

Reviewed by Heather Hann

In the Shadow of Heroes is an adventure story set in the world of the Roman Empire, during the reign of Emperor Nero.

Fourteen-year-old Cadmus has been Tullus’ slave since he was a baby and although he doesn’t feel that Rome is his true home, life with his master is all he knows. One day a present from Emperor Nero arrives for Tullus, and he is told that is a thank you ‘for all the fine work you are about to do.’ Then Tullus suddenly disappears, and Tog ( a slave who was formerly a British Princess fighting alongside Boudicca) arrives with a secret message. Camdus must set out to find his master, and alongside Tog, they must discover the truth behind the Greek Myth of the Golden Fleece. Is it real and if it still exists, can they find it before a very determined Nero has its power for himself? The journey will take Camdus to the edge of the Roman Empire and on a journey to discover where he truly can call home.

This book is an exciting and engaging quest story which uses the Roman Empire as its setting. It includes lots of information about living in Roman times, but this doesn’t slow down the narrative and is interweaved skilfully with the action and the relationships between the characters.

I would recommend this book either as a class reader or on the class bookshelf for Year 6 and above. It would be an ideal class book alongside a Roman or Greek theme, but also would be a great introduction to these historical periods and I am sure would stimulate children to find out more about life in Rome, the Empire and Greek mythology.

Heather is currently the Head of School Improvement for a large MAT in Suffolk. Before that she spent 25 years teaching in Essex where she worked as a teacher and part of the Essex School Improvement Team as a Literacy Consultant; before finally becoming Headteacher of a Primary School. She loves reading, baking, visiting her beach hut and Wallace and Gromit; seeking out every opportunity to combine them wherever possible!