There’s an excellent new review, by Debra Williams, of The Key to Rome. The review was published on the popular Buzz Words site. This is what she said:
This is a first-class middle-grade historical adventure. It is set in Ancient Rome, in the province of Britannia, and the year is AD84. When motherless and only child Livia’s father dies, she is orphaned. On his death bed, her father gives her a mysterious key with instructions to find his brother, a former centurion, and give him the key.
12-year-old Livia sets out two days later, on her old horse, determined to find the estranged uncle, whom her father guaranteed would give her a home. The future journey was going to be neither smooth nor easy, with many pitfalls. Arriving at her uncle’s house, he has gone, and Livia is unable to find out where he is. Along the way, Livia is aided by a young runaway servant, Mato, who has a journey of his own to complete, after hearing of his mother’s illness. He also claims to know where her uncle is.
So begins a treacherous journey of danger, lies, deceit and mistrust. There are heart-stopping moments as the reader becomes absorbed in Livia’s quest, and the deadly cat-and-mouse games with various characters, Roman and otherwise.
Multi-award-winning author Sophie Masson has carefully crafted a believable and suspenseful adventure. Her details of the period have been thoroughly researched to create an intriguing historical mystery.
There’s another great review for The Key to Rome, which has just appeared on writer Sue Bursztynski’s Great Raven blog.
Here’s a short extract:
Here is another one of the talented Sophie Masson’s exciting historical adventures. Many of them have fantasy elements but this is a straight historical mystery, well researched and with a useful historical background and glossary at the back.
The cover art and internals, including a map, are drawn by Lorena Carrington, a gifted Aussie artist who has worked with Sophie Masson before.
Livia is a strong leading character who refuses to give up, even when the quest for her uncle looks as if it might be useless. She weaves together the clues to lead her in the right direction.
This novel, aimed at ages about nine to twelve, reads like a Rosemary Sutcliff adventure, perfect for young readers who enjoy history and are inspired by strong characters their own age. It’s also not a bad place to start children on historical fiction.
We are proud to present a great little trailer for our upcoming Eagle Books title, The Key to Rome, an exciting historical mystery novel by award-winning author Sophie Masson. The book, which is out in May, is set in a tumultuous period in Roman Britain, and is for middle-grade readers. It includes a map(created by illustrator Lorena Carrington, who also created the cover and internal illustrations) and a glossary.
Enjoy the trailer, may it whet readers’ appetite for this fabulous novel!
We’re delighted to announce the acquisition of our next Eagle Books title, which will be published in May 2023: it’s The Key to Rome, a new novel for middle-grade readers by multi-award-winning author Sophie Masson.
Set in AD/CE 84, in the Roman province of Britannia, The Key to Rome is an exciting historical mystery that takes the reader on an enthralling ride into a very different world.
Twelve-year-old orphan Livia has to keep a promise made to her late father: to take a mysterious key to her estranged uncle Marcus. She sets out with the key, her old horse Pegasus and her father’s doctoring kit, only to learn that her uncle has left for a town further north.
By the time she reaches it, her uncle has gone, and she can’t find out where–until a boy named Mato informs her that he knows. But he refuses to tell her unless she takes him with her. As the two young people journey on the trail of Livia’s uncle, they start to suspect that the key holds a very dangerous secret. And now Livia and Mato must keep their wits about them, in a deadly game of cat and mouse. But figuring out who is friend, and who is foe, is the greatest challenge of all…
Here’s the fabulous cover, created by Lorena Carrington. Isn’t it gorgeous!
We’re excited to announce that Pamela Rushby’s fabulous middle-grade novel The Secret Battle, which we published last year, has been longlisted by the Historical Novel Society of Australasia for the 2022 ARA Historical Novel Prize in the CYA (Children’s and Young Adult) category.
This year’s Longlists explore a diverse range of powerful themes, from reinvention and the meaning of truth, through to mischievous, fast-paced fables and the recasting of literary classics. The Longlists demonstrate the power of historical fiction to bring the past vividly to life, explore often unspoken truths, and illuminate the challenges faced by humankind throughout the centuries.
The Prize is a true celebration of historical fiction, and a real opportunity to foster the genre on a grander scale, and we are very proud that The Secret Battle is part of it. And we offer big congratulations to Pamela!
Here at Eagle Books, we love historical novels for young readers, and we’ve published quite a few in the last few years. And now we have some exciting news for writers: on Tuesday February 1 we will be opening for submissions of original unpublished historical novels for children and young adults! Historical fiction sub-genres such as historical fantasy, historical mystery, alternative history, timeslip etc, are also eligible.
Submissions will be open for the month of February only, and only for Australian and New Zealand writers(sorry, we can’t take submissions from other countries). Read all about it on our submissions page here: and remember, please follow the guidelines exactly, including not submitting till February 1 and checking your ms fits the definition of historical fiction as detailed on our submissions page.