"Having learned the art of writing, I am able to tell this story so that others may know of our history…I am Serena, the sister of Romulus and Remus."
With this prologue, Serena begins a spellbinding tale of the founding of Rome. It is not the popular legend, but an elaborate historical fantasy that blends adventure, mythology, and our knowledge of ancient Italy.
The beautiful yet malevolent goddess Discordia, who was responsible for the Trojan War, chooses as her next victims the people of a village near Alba Longa in central Italy. Her meddling compels the teenagers of the tribe—including the twins Romulus and Remus—to leave their home in order to save the other villagers. As they search for a place to live, Discordia continues to plague the Albans. They are ceaselessly challenged by supernatural forces, including an eruption of Vesuvius, a whirlpool caused by Karybdis, and encounters with shapeshifters, the soul-devouring Keres, and ghastly Harpies.
During their journey, the Albans are aided by some of the immortals, who admire the determination of the teens. Among the immortals is Aeneas, who leads them briefly through the Underworld. They are not so fortunate in their dealings with the Etruscans, some of whom are in the thrall of Discordia.
Always at the side of Romulus and Remus is a great white dog, Nivea, who is the source of the rumor that the twins were raised by a wolf. Nivea possesses mysterious powers and is able to communicate with mythical creature like centaurs and a sea serpent who saves all of them. The Albans eventually arrive at a place near the Tiber River where a struggling village welcomes them and omens suggest that this should be their new home. Discordia, however, has other plans, an ultimate confrontation takes place, and Nivea’s true identify is revealed.
About the author
Dr. Michael Milone is a nationally recognized research psychologist and award-winning educational writer who earned a Ph.D. from The Ohio State University in 1978. He has been involved in the development of some of the most successful assessments and curriculum materials in education produced by publishers that include Academic Therapy Publications, Highlights for Children, McGraw-Hill Education, MindPlay, Renaissance Learning, Scholastic, and Harcourt Educational Measurement.
As a grandson of Italian immigrants, Dr. Milone grew up learning the stories of his ancestors, including the classical legends. His interest in antiquity prompted a book chapter on the history of handwriting as well as his first two novels, Nasha: The First Dog and Return of the Lion People. Writing the historical fantasy Juno’s Twins, which is based on the Romulus and Remus story, was a natural extension of his interest.
A frequent visitor to Italy for biking and hiking adventures, Dr. Milone has visited many of the locations featured in Juno’s Twins. He has completed two Ironman triathlons and 33 marathons, including Rome.