||Hard Shell Word Factory
||Feb 1 , 2000
A fascinating blend of history and mystery.
Set in ancient Rome and Judea during the reign of Tiberius, The Centurion teems with historical figures, including: Pontius Pilate, his wife Procula, and King Herod.
An absorbing story of political intrigue.
Poems, Short Stories and Novels of Alex Domokos
Late August - 14 A.D.
THE HEAVY VELVET of a hot August night lay over the peaceful basin of the Mediterranean. Above the city of Nola, stars blazed in the heavens, their fire distorted by the humid air.
Tiberius Nero paced the small courtyard of the rented villa. His sleeveless tunic clung to his body in a damp mass that did little to lighten his mood. Nola was on the sea and a night breeze should be blowing from the water to cool the land, but the air, the land and the sea were quiet, hushed, as if all creation were holding its breath in anticipation of what was to happen now.
The Guardian of the Imperium, the Father of the Nation, had left his earthly domain to take his place among the immortal gods. Tiberius ran his hand through his thinning hair and scratched at his prickly skull. He cursed as he examined several wispy stands of hair trapped between his fingers. The itching problem was becoming more frequent of late and the humid weather didn't help. He allowed the hair to fall to the paving stones as he resumed his pacing.
Where was his mother? Livia had asked that he meet her here an hour after cena. The evening meal was over long ago.
Already rumours were spreading that she had hastened the death of Augustus. It didn't help matters that he had hated Augustus, and in turn Augustus bore no love for him. It was also common knowledge that Augustus had chosen him, the adopted son, as his successor only after all the more favoured heirs had died.
A tray with cooled wine, a jug of water, and two red pottery cups sat atop a nearby table. Tiberius crossed the space with a few long strides, splashed wine and then water into one of the cups and raised a toast to the heavens. "To a swift passage, Augustus."
The wine washed some of the bitterness from throat.
A thought came to mind. Earlier, a servant had told him that while on his deathbed Augustus asked whether he had played his role in life well. Tiberius chuckled. Few men, even Emperors, had any choice in their destiny. What really mattered was how they fulfilled that role, even if it was unpleasant.
He raised the cup again in salute. "You played your part well on the stage of life."
"How about for your comrades put to the stake at your command? Or sent to the gauntlet? Have you remorse for their suffering?"
"Are you a soldier or a woman? What would you do with a soldier who fell asleep on guard duty? Or disobeyed an order? Or instigated mutiny? He deserves the harshest, most painful punishment. Even death. Rome's strength is her army, and an army runs on discipline. Complete obedience. Without complete obedience we would become weak."
"So you don't try to separate the person from the uniform?"
"I don't understand what you're getting at. It's the uniform that makes a soldier out of a man. How can we separate the two?"
History Brought to Life
"... The times, traditions and values of Rome are brought to life. The people, their motivations, joys and fears are genuine. You can learn more about Rome from this novel than from a library full of dry history books." -- Dr. Bob Rich
"... Building on what we know of first century Rome and Romans, the authors have fleshed out the characters to make them into very believable people. The handling of Pontius Pilate and his wife are particularly good. Pilate is a man torn by conflicting motivations: expediency, loyalty, self-preservation, and that little voice in the dark of night that makes you wonder if you are doing the right thing. He could well have walked out of any political arena in today's world." -- Karen Treanor, New Mystery Reader Magazine
"...Dialog is gritty, filled with human emotion and typical of the time portrayed in the narrative as well as typical of us all today. Venues are abundantly represented as they draw the reader into the tale from the outset. Reader interest is held tight from the opening paragraphs right to the end of the narrative as we follow Marcos through ups and downs, excitement, despondency, awakening belief, despair and hope." -- Molly Martin
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