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The eruption of Italy’s Mount Vesuvius in A.D. 79 buried a city and its people, including their treasures and secrets. Classics professor Sophie Chase travels to the beautiful island of Capri in to unravel the secrets of one unusual household, immersing herself in a culture simultaneously fascinating and frightening.
Beneath layers of volcanic ash lies the Villa della Notte, home to first-century nobles who engaged in pagan rituals and a slave girl named Iusta whose life may have ended during the eruption—or may have helped to alter the course of Italy’s religious history. As Sophie and her team piece together Iusta’s story, they unearth a subterranean labyrinth and a set of invaluable antique documents believed lost to the ages. But for both women, suspicion, fear, and danger lurk in the tunnels and chambers beneath the estate. As Iusta races to escape Vesuvius’s impending fury, Sophie rushes to uncover what happened to Iusta before all traces of her life disappear—or are erased.