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Mary Ray (1932 - )

Eastern Beacon, The
Cape, 1965


In this children's book, Helena and Fabius are shipwrecked off the coast of the Scilly Islands in the 200s AD. Her aunt and uncle have died in the wreck, and his parents are out of the picture. The children have many adventures - mostly negative - with the indigenous population. Finally they are banished to a small island where they are put in charge of the "eastern beacon," a warning for the islanders in case of invasion. The children learn to fend for themselves and along the way Fabius re-invents the potter's wheel. There is a final happy ending. The book really doesn't deal with Rome per se; the children speak Latin, and they are rescued by Roman British soldiers, but this is a peripheral tie. The writing is simple, suitable for middle school. -Ruth Breindel

- Ruth Breindel , 12/19/2005

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