High in the Samnium Mountains of southern Italy, Chloé, daughter of a Roman patrician and his Greek wife, lives as a slave. The mysterious and tragic story of Chloé’s birth is told and retold to her by her fellow-slave Melissa, who served her mother and now cares for the young Chloé. But hatred for the father who abandoned her festers in Chloé’s heart as she and Melissa weave for long hours each day in the tiny mountain hut above her father’s neglected villa—which he has not visited since before Chloé’s birth. As she grows older, Chloé’s spirit is kept alive by the poetry of Greece, stolen moments in the lovely woodland, and her covert watching of the family of the neighboring villa, whose life seems as far removed from her own as the gods and heroes of the old songs. Aulus, son of that household, wholly immersed in the exciting sports and politics of his Roman world, knows and would care nothing of the lonely watcher on the mountain—until the foundations of his own life crumble beneath his feet. This Newbery Honor book, set in the dramatic time of the Gracchi, brings the wild flavor of ancient Greece together with the iron stamina of conquering Rome in a story of two young people whose very different lives are destined to intersect.
Did you find this review helpful?