A message through time by Anna Ciddor

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A message in a bottle leads to an accidental slip through time for Felix and his ‘almost’ stepsister, Zoe. Travelling from the Roman ruin located in France, back into the Ancient Roman world, presents all sorts of immediate difficulties for the pair. Felix aged 11, and the 15-year-old Zoe have not always got on harmoniously and having to adjust to life in the ancient society is challenging. An encounter with a grand young lady, Petronia, enables the two almost-siblings to overcome some of their animosity towards one another … but first Petronia gets a chance to travel forward in time to the modern world, and then back to her own ancient world. Time travel causes some further challenges as well as opportunities, but for Felix who ‘misplaces’ the vital stylus needed for his return to his real world, there are also stresses as they race to restore Petronia to her ancient-world life.

This book is the second in Anna Ciddor’s time slip books, and although there are a few touches of connection between the two books, they are quite separate stories and can be read independently. The input of Anna’s Ciddor’s sister as researcher utilises her Archaeology background and historical knowledge to give credibility to the setting in Ancient Roman times. There is action, plus drama and history rolled together with a funny Felix and his more mature almost-sister Zoe as they navigate the role of slaves, the power or powerlessness of women and the restoration of their own relationship. This is a very enjoyable story for lovers of Ancient history, but also for any reader aged 10-15 who enjoys thinking through the challenges of time travel.

Themes: Ancient Rome, Time travel.

Carolyn Hull