The City of the Golden House by Madeleine Polland
1963, Hillside Education, 297 pages, softcover
Suspense, danger, and drama fill the lives of two young boys during the reign of Nero in the City of the Golden House. After Rome burns, Nero sets out to build the most sumptuous palace ever, his future Golden House. This causes further unrest in an already starving and homeless population. To divert attention away from his extravagances, Nero blames the Christians for the fire. In the midst of this danger are Gretorix, a British slave, and his master Diomed, the crippled son of a Roman senator. Both are curious to find out more about this new, outlawed religion called Christianity, but do they dare? If caught, the penalty is death.
To leave his beloved home of England and then be thrust into the midst of this new and terrible world without the man he has come to respect as his father is sometimes more than Gretorix can bear, yet his emerging friendship with his new master and his discovery of Christianity give new meaning to his life.
Tired, angry, and frustrated with his crippled legs, Diomed feels trapped and lonely in his room until he finds a friend in Gretorix. For the first time, Diomed feels like he can see the world through Gretorix’s dangerous excursions into the city.
An intriguing story, appropriate for upper grade school.
Donated by Hillside Education
Reviewed by Elizabeth Yank
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