Patrick and Beth learn that Mr. Whittaker’s fancy ring can be seen inside the Imagination Station but not outside of the machine. A mysterious letter leads the cousins to fifth-century Rome in search of a special cup that belongs to a monk. If found, the cup could keep the mysterious Albert out of prison.
At the Roman Colosseum, Emperor Honorius is hosting a gladiator battle in celebration of a war victory. Beth attends the event as the emperor’s slave; Patrick attends as a monk’s apprentice but is taken prisoner and sent to fight in the arena. During their adventure, the cousins meet Telemachus (a true historical figure), a monk who believes that fighting is wrong. Telemachus is willing to risk everything—even his life—to stop the killing. When the cousins return with the cup, they find that a third letter has been sent with more information about Albert’s fate.
I can not say enough about how much I love this series of books! McCusker and Hering bring history to life in a way children can enjoy and parents can feel good about the lessons they are learning.
As readers follow Patrick and Beth on their adventures, they get a glimpse into history, but also learn about faith. In this one, readers learn about gladiator events and how prisoners were forced to fight in the arena. I like the way young readers can learn a little bit about life in Ancient Rome at an age appropriate level.
This series continues to provide parents with an alternative to Magic Tree House books with books that hold younger readers interest, but hold true to Christian ideals. The books do not have to be read in order, which is always a plus with book series.