Exciting Historical Adventure for Teens

The Secret Tomb by Sophie de Mullenheim


This middle-grade book is part of the In the Shadows of Rome series published by Ignatius Press. I had not read any of the previous books before reading this novel and was easily able to understand the characters and the storyline. I thoroughly enjoyed this book and am now quite curious about the other books in the series.

Titus and Maximus are young teen boys living in ancient Rome. They’ve shared numerous adventures together, but nothing has prepared them for this latest quest. They live in a very precarious time—the Roman Emperor is governing with an iron fist, dissenters are not tolerated, and Christians are being hunted down and persecuted. As youngsters, life has been fairly easy for this pair of friends, but as they near adulthood, much is now expected of them.

Life suddenly changes drastically for Titus when his father decides that it is time for his son to become a man. After an elaborate ceremony to mark the life change, Titus must now wear the garments of a man and be expected to put his childhood games and friendships behind him. What he doesn’t expect is that his father has paired him up with a Roman police officer to help toughen him up. While this is the last thing that Titus wants, he knows he cannot disappoint his father and works hard, using his unique skills to impress his mentor.

Meanwhile, Maximus is facing his own problems. He is harboring a deadly secret that must remain hidden—he has become a follower of Christ. Danger grows as the secret Christian community is being targeted and persecuted. As scared as he is, Maximus cannot deny his newfound beliefs. When Maximus is tasked with a most precarious mission, he finds himself in even more danger. With his slave and friend, Aghiles, at his side, he embarks on a search of finding where Saint Peter has been buried to protect the great Apostle’s remains from being destroyed. Little does Maximus know that Titus has also been tasked with the same mission but for very different reasons.

This book was a great read, fast-paced and full of excitement. While I haven’t read the previous books, I do feel this would be a fantastic series for young teens. Set in ancient Rome, the reader will learn about the early church and what Roman society was like during that time through the adventures of these likable characters. This series is definitely one to check out!


The Secret Tomb is the 5th volume of the gripping series titled In the Shadows of Rome (6 books total). Being a Christian in ancient Rome was very dangerous. To spread the faith and stay alive, you had to live in the shadows . . .

Titus’ father thinks his son is a coward and arranges a stay with the police to make a man out of him. Soon, Titus finds himself hunting down Christians and trying to discover where they’ve hidden the body of Peter, Apostle of Jesus, who died 250 years earlier. Meanwhile, his friend Maximus is given the mission to find Peter’s tomb before it’s destroyed. Will their friendship survive the test of their loyalties?

Follow their adventures as they forge priceless friendships—and discover the many secrets lurking in the shadows of the Rome.

Author: Leslea Wahl

Leslea Wahl is an award-winning author of Catholic teen adventurous mysteries. She lives in beautiful Colorado with her family. Leslea believes one way to encourage teens in their faith is through positive messages and Catholic values, embedded in great stories. She is excited to share her reviews of some incredible Catholic books, all of which have received the Catholic Writer's Guild Seal of Approval. Find her online at LesleaWahl.com