The Queen and the Heretic

One of my novels, which was most enjoyable to write, was The Queen and the Heretic. Had it been couched in the form of a play, one could have called it a tragedy. It is basically the story of a young boy, the son of an official in the kingdom of Palmyra and Syria, who falls in love with the young princess Zenobia. He is 14 and she is 10 when they first briefly meet. Their love is tragic, because a few years later the young couple run away to Tarsus, along with Zenobia’s slave girl and friend Nefertari, where they spend some brief time, being married by the priest of Apollo. Zenobia becomes pregnant. But their idyllic young love is tragic, because Zenobia’s father, sends men to apprehend Zenobia, and roughly they snatch her out of the arms of her new husband and lover, Paul. A forced divorce takes place. Zenobia agrees to spare Paul’s life. Paul is hurt. He does not understand her motives. Zenobia later bears Paul’s son and grieves over him deeply. Paul feels there is nothing he can do. He goes on with his life.

Later, Zenobia is practically forced to marry the young prince who will rule Palmyra. Zenobia is not happy, but she is a remarkable young woman, with great hunting skill, admired by those around her.

Paul, in his grief, goes on to become a successful business man. He never re-marries, although he has those who love him. In a dramatic scene, he becomes a Christian. He advances quickly and becomes the bishop of Antioch, Syria. Zenobia, in the meantime, becomes the Queen of Palmyra, after the death of her husband. She protects Paul from his enemies. The two still love one another. In the end, when Zenobia, who leads a powerful army, has challenged the Roman Caesar, she is besieged in Palmyra. Paul cannot stay away. He breaks through the siege with the help of others to see the one he loves. He is a Christian, and Zenobia respects that. She tries to break through the Roman siege and make her way to the Euphrates, where she can escape to persuade the Persians to attack the Roman army and break the siege. Paul decides to go with her. They successfully escape through the Roman lines, but are finally captured at the banks of the Euphrates. Paul dies in her arms, having defended her.

THE GOVERNOR’S DAUGHTER

I am just about done with the manuscript of my latest novel, The Governor’s Daughter. I am excited about this novel because it is set in Syria and ancient Arabia (Bostra, about 70 miles south of Damascus). Another part of it is set in the land of the ancient Liburnians (roughly modern Croatia) on the eastern shore of the Adriatic.

The Governor’s daughter is Quinta, a vivacious, forward and lovely young Roman teenager, who falls in love with a handsome young Greek blacksmith’s son by the name of Beryllus. Beryllus is intelligent. He is talented, familiar with military training because his father was an officer in the Roman cohorts, and a former friend of the Governor of Arabia, Lucius Caecilius Nepos. Beryllus’ mother is a Christian, but his father is a pagan. Beryllus was taken to meetings as a child, but has drifted away from the faith.

The two young teenagers fall in love and run away from Bostra with a beautiful young slave Melitta, who is devoted to her mistress Quinta. She, however, secretly loves Beryllus without his knowing it.

The three runaways end up in Damascus at the wealthy estate of Beryllus’ deceased Uncle Sylvanus. They do not know that Sylvanus is deceased, and that the estate and villa are now owned by his Roman wife Spuria Arelia Cotta. She has a son Vibius, who immediately falls for Quinta when he first sees her. He and Beryllus are soon briefly at odds over the pretty Roman girl.

Quinta and Beryllus (along with Melitta) are welcomed by the Lady Spuria. Spuria treats Quinta like a daughter. Things are quite nice until the terrible news that Quinta’s father, the Governor of Arabia, and his wife, have been arrested, and are taken to Rome by order of the Emperor.

Spuria and Quinta make a rather risky voyage to Rome to try to help Quinta’s parents. Enroute, they encounter a storm and nearly lose their lives at sea. They are rescued by a Roman nobleman, a daring sea captain, by the name of Titus Marius Taurus. He is the son of a well known deceased Roman senator, who now lives in a large villa on what is the shore of modern Croatia off the Adriatic Sea. Spuria, who thought she would never love again, is courted by the dashing Roman sea captain Taurus. Quintus does not like him. Taurus takes them to his villa on the Adriatic coast of Liburnia.

Beryllus  is told that Quinta has perished at sea. He despairs of her return. He thinks momentarily that he is in love with Tiberia, the daughter of the Roman Procurator of Damascus. The Procurator’s haughty wife is opposed to Beryllus.

The Roman Governor, Lucius Caecillius Nepos, is finally restored to his governorship in Bostra. He is very angry with Beryllus, and saddened by the report of his daughter’s death at sea.

The History of the Dynamic Monarchians Update

I have published this historical study and it is available from me. There will be a half page ad in the IBC Perspectives Magazine soon. This is an indepth study of those ancient (and later) Monarchians, who were known by some historians as “Dynamic” Monarchians because of their interpretation of the “process” of the incarnation. In their zeal to protect and preserve the genuine humanity of Christ, they emphasized it to such an extent in their interpretation of the “days of his flesh” that they have been accused of denying the divinity of Jesus. In their view, there was a process on the human side of the incarnation, which protected the genuine humanity of Christ as our substitutionary sacrifice on Calvary.

Also, in this work, I study the existence of a group of Christians primarily in Armenia and in Eastern Europe (although I think some of them came into Western Europe during the days of the beginning of the Reformation). This group, sometimes called the Thonraki, lasted as a discrete organization up through at least the early years of the twentieth century. It is possible that some of them ended up in California at the turn of the century, and visited the Azusa Street Revival. They seem to have embraced the Oneness of God in Christ, baptism in Jesus’ name, and the baptism of the Holy Spirit with the evidence of speaking in tongues. More study needs to be done.

THE HISTORY OF THE DYNAMIC MONARCHIANS IS AVAILABLE

I now have my latest in depth historical study, The History of the Dynamic Monarchians, which is available from me. Please send $16.95 plus $2.00 shipping costs, and I will send it to you. If you are a student of church history-or if you just like an interesting study-you will want this book.

This book has a tremendous amount of end notes and I think you will find that this study goes further in depth than possibly you are used to. Any student of church history will certainly want this book in your library!

There are aspects of the incarnation that you will find extremely challenging.

A HISTORY OF THE DYNAMIC MONARCHIANS

Morris Publishing will soon finish for me what I consider to be an important history on ancient Monarchian Christians (those early Christians who considered Jesus Christ to be God the Father manifest in the flesh, and who baptized in the Name of Jesus Christ). The book is entitled A History of the Dynamic Monarchians and should be available within a few weeks. It is a softcover edition in about 240 pp. It traces the history of these particular Christians down through the centuries and carefully examines their doctrine, their view of the incarnation, and the persecution they received. These particular Monarchian Christians have been condemned concerning their view of the deity of Jesus Christ. I hope this work will throw some light on that issue.  I am excited about getting this book out since I have spent many years researching the material and working on the book.

Concerning non-fiction works, I also have available copies of a previous work, a paperback,  The History of the Monarchian Christians, 75 pp (very small print) $10.95, which covers the history of both wings of the Monarchian Christians up to the 20th century. This can be ordered from me.

A smaller, hard to find spiral bound study of the life of the Monarchian Christian Sabellius (Sabellius: His Life and Theology, 27 pp) is also available for  $8.95.

Some of the other fiction works, the novels, listed on this website, can be ordered directly from me by check or money order while supplies last. I like to think that the novels are not only exciting and adventurous, but they make religious fiction interesting for the mature Christian reader who wants interesting reading that honors Christ and portrays Christians who are not perfect…yet.

The Centurion’s Daughter Is Now Available From Me

Morris publishing has finished my new novel The Centurion’s Daughter. I have it available and can ship it initially at the low, low price of $13.95 plus $3 p&h. I think it is my best thus far.

The Centurion’s Daughter, An Excerpt

No one saw Phaedra come in the gate as she made her way through the large garden. She had been afraid to enter the villa from the stable. The whole villa seemed sound asleep. Even the stable boy did not wake up when she unsaddled her horse. The watchman was apparently out in the vineyards, having heard some noise that aroused his curiosity. The night sounds of the insects and the frogs around the pool in the center of the garden were loud. As the young Phaedra walked through the garden, trying not to make too much noise on the fine gravel path, the noise of the insects and the frogs temporarily ceased until she had passed.
Up above a full moon shone, its silvery beams disturbed only by fluffy, floating clouds as they slowly passed overhead beneath its legendary spell binding light. There was a warm spring breeze wafting over the garden, bringing the delicate fragrance of the blooming purple iris to Phaedra’s nostrils. She breathed in the fragrance of the flowers and looked carefully around her. Perhaps the goddess Iris was letting her know that her mission would end successfully? Iris was very partial to messengers, and certainly Phaedra had played that role this night.
So far so good! Phaedra sighed and smiled in spite of her nervousness. She had yet to navigate the villa successfully. She prayed no one would be up at this late hour. If the master knew she was coming home this late…
Phaedra was a Greek slave, a petite brunette just a little over five feet tall. She was probably about 18 years old. Her mother had been a pretty, highly favored slave belonging to the Mistress Melusine, and Phaedra was born while her mother was in Melusine’s service. She did not know who her father was. Phaedra was a beautiful girl, well proportioned, with lovely olive skin and dancing dark eyes. Her lips were full and red. She wore a white chiton which shone in the gorgeous moonlight.
There was one flaw in her appearance: a jagged two inch scar ran from her right cheek bone down to the right side of her chin. She had been recently assaulted by her Roman master, who was fast becoming a notorious drunkard. His drunken assault upon his daughter’s maidservant had caused a family crisis, which was still not resolved, although the initial tears and stress had at least subsided.

Update on the novel The Centurion’s Daughter

I am happy to report that this novel has gone to the publishers and will hopefully be available to the public soon. I have a great illustrator by the name of Reuben Cog out of Oklahoma. I can hardly wait to see the finished product. I have done much revision and proof reading. I think it will be one of my best.

The Queen and the Heretic Some Comments on Character Development

In the novel The Queen and the Heretic it is interesting, I think, to see the development of the characters. Zenobia, the young princess, begins as an impertinent, vivacious girl who is obviously the “apple” of her father’s eye. At the tender age of ten she meets the older teen, Paul, the son of a Greek administrative assistant in Antioch. Paul is smitten by the precocious, impertinent but pretty princess at a social gathering. They cannot forget one another. Nothing happens but a kiss on the cheek. I was astounded by a reviewer who puritanically suggested that this seemed almost like “child endangerment” or pedophilia. Someone who was obviously ignorant of the difference between ancient cultures and modern society. In ancient times a girl who had reached “puberty” was seen as ready for marriage. But nothing happens to Paul and Zenobia except that she quickly kisses him on the cheek and runs away.

Six years later, Zenobia’s life changes radically when she meets Paul again, and falls desperately in love with him. She runs away at the age of sixteen going on seventeen and is married to Paul, taking her maidservant with her (whom she does not know at the time is her half-sister, Nefertari).

Life turns sour when the young people are captured by her father’s servants and the young, pregnant Zenobia is forcibly divorced from Paul in order to save his life. She is allowed to keep Paul’s child.

Zenobia is forcibly taken home to Emesa and must marry Prince Odenathus of Palmyra since the two rulers involved had made a treaty involving the two young people. As a child Zenobia looked forward to becoming a queen, but now her marriage is one of “bittersweetness”. She managed to save her child’s life and the child is reluctantly adopted by Odenathus, but cannot be his heir.

Because of fortuitous circumstances, Paul and Zenobia  meet again in Antioch. When Zenobia finds out that Odenathus is unfaithful to her, she begins an “affair” with her erstwhile husband.

Adult life brings many challenges as Zenobia is forced to live in the powerful kingdom of Palmyra with a philandering spouse who does not really love her, although he is infatuated with her. She lives under the thumb of an older queen, who, at first treats her with great suspicion and diffidence. Odenathus is rapidly becoming a powerful general in the East, and greatly useful to a weaker Roman empire.

Embroiled in the intrigue of a much more powerful royal court, Zenobia comes face to face with a different kind of life.

She cannot love Odenathus who is unfaithful to her, but she must protect her son. She cannot do more than find occasional snatches of passionate, clandestine meetings with her beloved Paul. Both of them change as time goes on.

Zenobia is finally placed suddenly and dramatically at the head of the Palmyran kingdom at the height of its power. Her whole world is turned upside down.

Paul becomes quite wealthy and experiences a great conversion to Christianity and catapulted into fame as the controversial and wealthy Bishop of Antioch.

The two lovers find that the affairs of the ancient world are pulling them further and further apart. There is no escape as Queen Zenobia becomes the most famous warrior queen of ancient times, even challenging the mighty Roman empire for control of the East.

Paul is torn by his loyalty to the church and his love for Zenobia. All of this comes to a climax as the Roman emperor Aurelian marches toward Antioch to face Queen Zenobia and her armies.

The Vestal Virgins of Rome

I would possibly like to write a novel that included the famed Vestal Virgins of Rome. They are very interesting. At first, Rome had four Vestal Virgins. This was later increased to six. Their main duty was to be the guardians of the sacred fire.

The Pontifex Maximus (the High Priest) of Rome chose the Vestal Virgins when they were about seven years of age. He was in charge of the cult of the goddess Vesta. The cult was founded by the second king of Rome, Numa Pompilius. The Pontifex Maximus himself had no ceremonial duties. These were all carried out by the Vestal Virgins. When they were chosen, their induction by the Pontifex Maximus was like a proposal of marriage. He said “Tu, amata, capio” (“You, my loved one, I take”).

The status of a Vestal Virgin was the same as that of an empress. They stood high above other women, being emancipated. The girls had ten years of education, and they took a vow of chastity. Initially, they served only five years, but this was increased to 30 years. Their duties were to keep the sacred fire burning, to make sure there was fresh water for the goddess daily. Once a year they had an annual cleaning of the temple. The sacred fire was put out, except they were to keep sparks to start the new fire. The women were permitted to marry after their obligation was over, but most did not…it was considered bad luck.

If a Vestal Virgin violated her chastity during her term of service, she was to be buried alive. The Emperor Domitian had three Vestal Virgins executed in AD 83 because of supposed lechery. In AD 90 Domitian buried the Chief Vestal Virgin Cornelia alive. The Virgins wore the same hairstyle as Roman brides, and they wore a white, purple-bordered veil called a suffibulum. The Virgins were very influential. Their advice was eagerly sought after in even political matters. Their office was highly respected, and their family gained great influence during their lives. Any family they visited or socialized with gained influence.

The goddess Vesta was the goddess of the hearth (cf. to the Greek Hestia). The temple of Vestia was technically a “house”. The people worshiped Vestia in their homes, but there was a public holiday called the “Vestalia”. The flame of the hearth signified the presence of the goddess. Those chosen as Virgins had to be patricians, ages 6-10, and a certified virgin. No man except the Pontifex Maximus could enter into the home of the Virgins. The oldest Virgin became the Chief Vestal Virgin. The house was located near the Forum and was called the Atrium Vestae (it was connected to the Temple). The cost and the upkeep of the Vestal Virgins was paid out of the public treasury.

After 30 years of service, the Vestal Virgins could retire with a nice dowry. They could remain a priestess, which most chose to do. No Senator could lightly ignore their requests to help someone out.