Julia and Sura appear to lead opposite lives, in this historical novel for readers 11 to 14 from National Jewish Book Award winner and Newbery Honoree Kathryn Lasky. Twelve-year-old Julia is the daughter of a wealthy shipbuilder, while her best friend Sura was kidnapped from her parents when she was a small child. Julia bears the Curse of Venus—a withered arm—while Sura's beauty turns heads. Yet Julia is free, and Sura is her slave. Both are to be in thrall, however: Julia will be sent to serve in the Temple of Damia; Sura will be sold as a concubine. But their destinies are suddenly united in the summer of 79 AD, when Mount Vesuvius erupts, and together the girls try to escape the destruction of their world.
"It is the looming volcanic disaster that will hold readers, as well as the stirring fictional story of two young women.... The mounting suspense blends the personal rebellion with what they leave behind as the sky reels with burning rocks and cinder."—Booklist