This is one of a bunch of cheap ebooks I picked up early in my Kindle days, and they’ve turned out to be a rather mixed bunch, some brilliant, some meh, and some... well, at least they were cheap. This is more ‘meh’ than anything else, but that’s partly because it’s really a children’s book, which limits the options. The plot revolves around a collection of Roman household gods, or Lares, essentially little stone people imbued with magical powers, who’ve been left behind by their family at their Roman villa in Britain to guard the household treasure. There’s also a nymph, a dryad and a Genius Loci (a spirit of place), as well as a lot of humans, including a troop of TV archaeologists bent on digging up said villa for the cameras. Oh, and some descendents of the original Roman family.
Now, all this leads to a lot of fun moments, some sly digs at real TV archaeology (ie Time Team), and a smattering of Latin and other historical information, as the TV guys try to tear the site apart in two days flat, the various locals try to stop them, and everybody tries to get their hands on the treasure. Unfortunately it tips over the edge into outright silliness more often than I would have liked, but it’s still a moderately entertaining read. Three stars.