Why do so many of the books I write have to do with Rome? Right now I have three books in print, and another one finished, and I am working on number five. All of them have some connection to the Roman Empire: my Capri Team adventures focus around discoveries from the Roman era, and both THE REDEMPTION OF PONTIUS PILATE and the yet-unpublished LOVER OF GOD are set in the First Century AD - the first in the reigns of Augustus, Tiberius, and Caligula, and the last during the reigns of Claudius and Nero. Why am I so obsessed with the world of two thousand years ago?
There are two reasons, one of which is very obvious: my stories all deal with the early years of the Christian faith, and Christianity was born during the first century of the Roman Empire. Jesus and all of His disciples were born, lived, and died as subjects of Rome. It's one of the things that makes Christianity unique: our faith is inextricably linked to an actual moment in history, the middle part of the reign of Tiberius Caesar, to a real historical figure, Jesus of Nazareth, and to that incredible three year period when that man preached, taught, healed, was betrayed, arrested, killed, and then rose again. Unlike the teachings of Buddha or Muhammad, the truth of Jesus' words rests with the facts of His life: If He did indeed rise from the dead, as is claimed for Him, then he had to be the Son of God, and all the things He claimed for Himself were true. On the other hand, if He was crucified and His body was stolen, hidden, or simply rotted away in the ground somewhere, then He is just another dead philosopher, and all the claims of Christianity are built on "a throne of lies." I believe that the verdict of history and archeology, when carefully and reasonably considered, point us directly to one conclusion: the most logical explanation for the entire Resurrection story is that Jesus, did, in fact, rise from the dead. And all of that history and archeology that proves the case for my faith is centered in the first century of the Roman Empire.
There is another reason that I love to write about Rome, however, beyond the Biblical and religious connections I feel with the world of the Caesars: the Romans were amazing! This city-state on the Italian peninsula came to rule a quarter or the world's population in a remarkably brief period of time. By the First Century AD, you could travel from London to Libya and never be out of Caesar's jurisdiction. Remarkably advanced, the Romans built roads and buildings that still stand today. They sculpted statues that are as good (if not better) than anything any modern artist can create. They practiced banking, voting, taxation, administration, and all the burdens of governing with incredible efficiency. In the Second Century AD, they came within a cat's whisker of inventing the steam engine! They were the most advanced people of the ancient world, and the government they created endured for five hundred years as a Republic, five hundred years as an Empire, and then packed up, relocated to Constantinople, and endured for another thousand years as the Byzantine Empire. No other government in the world has enjoyed that kind of stability and longevity!
And yet . . . the Romans were as brutal and barbaric as any people that have ever lived. They watched gladiators slaughter one another for the amusement of the crowd. They killed hundreds of thousands of Gauls, Britons, and Germans in their wars of conquest. They practiced slavery on the widest scale ever seen until modern times. They brought peace in the wake of the sword - most of the lands they conquered became, over time, more prosperous and stable than before the Romans conquered them - but the price in blood was very high indeed. In short, the Romans, in all their savagery and splendor, in all their impressive civilization and horrific barbarism, were a microcosm of humanity. They were the best of us and the worst of us, boiled down to the most basic elements. For that reason, they fascinate me like no other ancient culture ever has.
Want to know more? Go to Amazon and buy my book, THE REDEMPTION OF PONTIUS PILATE. There you will see the birth of Christianity laid side by side with the formative years of this mighty Empire that ruled the world Jesus lived in . . . . and I promise, you will enjoy the story!
(If you don't believe me, scroll through and read the reviews from previous readers!)