The silk and the sword
Publisher: Penmore Press (2016)
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Tacitus, the rebellious son of Gaius Septimus, learns too late that the temple that his gang has desecrated was his mother’s chosen holy place. Barely able to contain his murderous rage, Gaius issues an ultimatum to his son: Tacitus can spend the rest of his life as a slave, or he can work to redeem himself through military service.

However, Tacitus has little time to absorb the shock of his punishment and his decision to join the military. Behind closed doors, Caesar’s consul, Marcus Crassus, makes a case for war and creating the need for many of the legionnaires. Tacitus is called to action, answering directly to the leadership of his centurion father, Gaius, who is Julius Caesar’s chosen “First Spear.”

Cursed by his own arrogance and greed, Marcus Crassus’s military mission crumbles, leaving Gaius, Tacitus and a small band of surviving legionnaires to navigate uncharted foreign lands and savage cultures in their quest to return to Rome. With betrayal and deceit at every turn the soldiers suffer enormous physical and emotional beatings.

Their survival, much less their success, hinges on the unlikely chance that Tacitus, an unrepentant son, and Gaius, an unforgiving father, will cast aside their differences and work shoulder-to-shoulder to restore order, hope and honor to their men.

In this well-crafted follow-up to his first historical novel, “The Villa of Deceit,” author Ron Singerton delivers a cast of fresh, flawed, and completely believable characters through which he illuminates the universal strengths and weaknesses in all of us.

Building upon the life story of his original main character, Gaius, the author invites the reader to investigate the events that have created a chasm between father and son. As Tacitus sheds his underdog status and takes the spotlight, we become invested in his trials and triumphs. And, as his respect for himself and his father grows, he becomes a hero worth rooting for.

From the battlefields of Carrhae (now modern day Turkey), to the towering mountains and sweeping expanse of ancient Asia’s “Silk Road,” and on to the Great Wall of China, “The Silk and the Sword” is packed with vibrant historical and tactical detail.

Culled from primary historical references as recorded by Plutarch, Pliny and Julius Caesar, the author illuminates the fascinating, multi-faceted private and public worlds of the Roman legionnaire. Fans of both historical fiction as well as Roman history will find Ron Singerton’s “The Silk and the Sword” to be a highly engaging, satisfying read about one of the most detrimental defeats in Roman military history.