Cato Calls Upon Carthage To Make Peace With The Samnites:
The next day Cato packed up his household and transported it back to his city house in Rome. He left the hostages in place at his country estate under full military guard which he could command from a distance and took his niece, Lavinia, and Gaius Antonius with him.
Lavinia seemed to brighten up when she got away from Tanit. Gaius could tell. She looked forward to playing hostess to her uncle in Rome and forgetting all about the hostages. She brought him a hot cup of mulsum sweetened with honey. He immediately retired to his cozy study in Cato’s house and started to reconstruct his own maps from memory. He lay down Tanit’s maps, the one her friend drew as a replacement, face down on the desk beside him to use as a contrast/comparison guide.
Lavinia was hanging over his shoulder quietly watching him draw. She even took a seat beside him. When he paused she said, “Those drawings really do look different, don’t they?” She sipped her own honeyed mulsum.
So even Lavinia noticed it!
He nodded. “That is what I thought too. Why do you think I am going to all the trouble of drawing these maps again from memory? Cato won’t have a guide to what is actually there otherwise. He might miss some important detail.”
She nodded, following his train of thought. “Do you think one of the Carthaginians stole the map and then drew a fake map to replace it?” She stated the doubt that had been tormenting him all along since he had discovered the differences in the drawings.
“It is hard to say. They seemed to be quite willing to help us. The differences could be innocent enough, just a matter of emphasis and memory. Maybe some of the sailors do still dress the way they did fifty years ago for all we know. I only know what I happened to see myself. Then again there could be a mass conspiracy to prevent us from seeing something. I just cannot tell.”
“It is better to be prudent,” she agreed.
It was his private secret with Lavinia. Cato did not know about it. Gaius had not wanted to inform him. Who knew what Cato might not do if he found out? And Cato was on the war path anyway.
The next day Gaius accompanied Cato to the Senate House. He sat beside his father who was proud that his son had a role in the current proceedings.
Cato looked around at his audience one by one taking them in and forcing them to look into his eyes as he began to speak. He made it seem as if he were addressing each one of them individually.
“Carthage must make peace with its neighbors, the Samnites,” he began. “It must take instant measures before war breaks out. He must not permit that. For what if war breaks out and Carthage wins starting with the Samnites?” he started pacing around the Senate Chamber as he was wont to do when he was orating.
The Senators began to nod gravely as if appreciating the gravity of the problem facing them today.
“Carthage will once again be a power in the Mediterranean, Our Sea, the Roman Sea, and competition to us. This is the situation that occurred before the last war when they were defeated by Scipio Africanus.”
He stopped before Scipio Aemilianus, the adopted heir of Scipio Africanus. “This is what led to the elephants and the nightmare of invasion, the nightmare that Rome was to be invaded by Hannibal.”
Cato awoke the nightmares and the fears of the whole city state. All eyes were riveted on him.
“Before this nightmare can again become reality, we must send an emissary to Carthage, or rather a team, perhaps an armed contingent, to insist on peace negotiations. Our contingent must guide and direct them and report back to us.”
Everyone nodded again.
“We should set up a time schedule. Every few months Carthage must meet a new deadline for progress, or we should take something away from them. For one thing, they have finally finished their reparations. Maybe we should threaten to start them again.”
The chamber started to cheer. They rose to their feet clapping. A group of the senators approached Cato and lifted him up on their shoulders. They paraded around the chamber with this man of the hour. The acclamations were so loud that when they burst out of the Senate House into the Forum, citizens were gathered in a crowd listening and cheering, too.
Gaius felt certain that Cato could handle the Carthaginians and the Samnites if any man could. But when he thought of his missing maps, he remembered that the devil was in the details.
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Gaius Loses His Maps After The Banquet:
Lavinia waved at Gaius from the docks at Ostia as soon as their ship started to disembark. She raced up to meet him and threw her arms around his neck. He hugged her to him. They had not seen each other for several weeks.
“I knew you would return!” she enthused, jumping up and down. “I have been waiting for you every single day.” She kissed him on the cheek.
Gaius felt obliged to introduce Lavinia to Tanit who stood there calmly taking in the scene. “This is one of Cato’s hostages. There are one hundred of them all told. They are to spend the next year at Cato’s house while the Carthaginians make peace with their neighbors.”
“Hello, I am Tanit, only daughter of Hamilcar II,” Lavinia introduced herself.
Lavinia paused to take in the foreign princess in her midst. She examined her from head to toe. Gaius could tell she was not pleased.
“Indeed, how unusual!” Lavina exclaimed.
“I feel that I am an emissary for Carthage to tell Rome about our civilization,” Tanit continued.
“Well, you are welcome to our banquet,” Lavinia invited her and her other friends to Cato’s house in the country on his estate outside Rome.
Gaius could tell that Lavinia was only being polite. She did not like Tanit. Tanit was about her age but looked far more elegant in her attire. Gaius wished that he could assure Lavinia that proper Roman women did not have to ape foreign princesses and royalty. Rome had done away with that sort of thing ages ago. They did not have kings. They had consuls and senators instead.
They embarked in horse drawn carriages headed for Cato’s country villa in the Etruscan hills. Gaius figured it must be his imagination to see the Etruscan girl eyeing him from behind a tree as they turned up the road into the woods. He seemed to see her and many of her other Etruscan friends and confederates.
Cato’s servants had the welcoming banquet ready. Several senators had been invited for today’s welcoming reception. The hostages came forward one by one and introduced themselves, giving their name and family and said a little bit about themselves. Tanit went last. She held her audience spellbound for many minutes. The Senators started to clap.
Cato then called on Gaius to show the senators the maps he had drawn of the city and all its many buildings and harbor works.
Lavinia frowned as she sat beside Gaius at the banquet. It was as if she could somehow sense the impression the Carthaginian princess had made on her betrothed as well as the other men in the room other than say Cato himself who was indifferent to such feminine wiles. Lavinia and Gaius were engaged to be married at the first opportunity. Lavinia felt responsible for him as well as possessive.
Wine and foods of various sorts flowed freely until a very late hour. Gaius finally said good-night to everyone including his fiancee and retired to the room that had become his bedchamber at Cato’s estate. He feel asleep quickly, having been thoroughly exhausted by the trip and then the big banquet. He woke only partially in the middle of the night thinking he heard a sound. He dismissed it as a dream. But when he woke up the next morning he found his leather waist pack open on top of his dresser. He reached inside and found that the maps he had drawn in Carthage were gone —- mysteriously vanished into morning’s first light.
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Tanit Haunts Gaius All The Way Back To Rome:
Tanit haunted Gaius on the return trip to Rome. She was never more than a few feet away. She was always at his elbow. She was frequently playing an instrument that resembled a lyre, holding it to her cheek and singing in the Carthaginian language which seemed mysterious to him and which he could not understand. But her lilting melodies haunted him throughout the day and even the night.
Cato was deaf and dumb to such things and went about his business on the deck commanding the ship’s officers and the captain all the way back to Italy.
In the meantime Gaius was afraid that they had taken aboard some pagan goddess, the one named Tanit herself, the Moon Goddess. He was wondering what the Carthaginians had sent to Rome. Could it be more powerful than Hannibal and all his elephants?
When Tanit put away her lyre she was even more remarkable and enchanting. She conversed in both Greek and Latin fluently at the captain’s dinner table aboard the ship. Though a girl, apparently great care had been lavished on her education. She was well-grounded in all the classics and could carry on a Platonic dialogue with great skill.
“In Rome,” Cato growled, “we would never educate a young lady like that.” He stuffed his face with a stew made from octapus and squid. “Who are you anyway?”
Gaius Antonius had been dying to find that out. But he had not had the courage to ask himself.
She smiled radiantly. “I am the only daughter of Hamilcar II, the ruler of Carthage. In fact, I am his only child. He lavished on me all the attention he would have loved to lavish on his heir.” She spoke with astonishing frankness.
“Why were you of all people sent as a hostage to Rome?” Cato shot another question at her. “You would think that someone else would have gone in your place.”
She laughed. Her laugh was like pearls bubbling out of her mouth and popping. “I volunteered,” she explained.
Cato traded looks with Gaius. “And why would you volunteer for such a mission?”
Tanit shrugged in a casual fashion. “Simply because I always wanted to travel to Rome. I didn’t see it happening in any other way. Soon I would be married off. Then I certainly would not get to go.”
“Why would you want to visit Rome so much?” Gaius finally got over being flustered and managed to get the words out of his mouth. He was playing with his food and had a hard time concentrating on eating it.
“Better art, better books,” she said. “For instance, I have heard that you are writing a book on Roman agriculture,” she addressed Cato. “No one has ever done that before. Certainly not in Carthage.”
“The Greek poet Hesoid wrote Works and Days,” Cato informed her.
“Yes, but he was a poet, not a prose writer,” she objected. “You are supposed to be developing Latin prose as you go along.” She acted very well informed about what was happening beyond the borders of her homeland.
But Gaius assumed that Cato’s fame was spread far and wide in the region.
Gaius had never heard a woman discourse like her before, certainly not Lavinia who was quiet and minded her own business.
He was beginning to think that the ship returning to Rome was like a floating enchanted isle controlled by a Circe-like creature. But he wished it would never end.
“Do you think the Carthaginians sent her because she is a kind of ambassador for their city?” Gaius asked Cato on the day before they were to land in Ostia.
“Let’s hope so,” he said cynically. “Let’s hope it is not some trick we cannot yet guess at.”
Gaius was later to remember those all too fateful words. But for now the only alarm he felt was when they started to disembark. Tanit had taken his arm. Lavinia was standing there on the shore waiting for him, smiling at him, and not suspecting anything.
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Reconstruction of Carthage by L. Aucler.
New Road Secret From Cheops Books LLC
As Cheops Books LLC plans to be on the road again researching ideas for its fiction, it wants to share with you one of its newest, best travel tips: Airbnb. We have been looking to cut dollars off the high cost of travel that has more than doubled in recent years. It used to be that you had to plan to be in a different motel along the interstates every night. Now thanks to Airbnb you can book private residences as you go instead at a fraction of the cost.
Want a yard for your dog? A fenced in yard at that? Want a shower instead of a bath tub? Want a kitchen for a change to make your own meals and cut food expenses, too? Again look no farther than Airbnb.
This road secret applies to international travel as well as local and state to state travel. You are likely to find places to rent in London, Paris, and Rome as well as Cheyenne, Wyoming, but you will probably get a bigger selection in the more populous capitals. Airbnb seems to be everywhere to serve you.
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Latest Crazy Plot for Edward Ware Thrillers:
Try this plot on for size. Midsummer Dora and Edward leave the Desert Southwest, Cheops Books LLC Headquarters, and drive north through Wyoming to keep it cool. They might even stop at Yellowstone to let the coolness permeate everything before heading due east through Pittsburgh to visit Dora’s parents and onward to New York to board the ship. The ship takes them predictably to Southampton where they rent a car at the Southampton Airport for the next twenty-two days. The spies are onto them.
They visit all the tourist sites in the south of England from Bath to Dover. They make themselves look like tourists when they are secretly meeting with operatives. They make sure to have tea with Winston Churchill at his estate at Chartwell in Kent. Then they deceive everybody and make themselves hard to follow when at the very end of August they board a ship in Southampton that takes them to Gibraltar. They seem to be playing with the apes. Really at night they are signalling spies on the African Coast not far away in Morocco.
They hope nobody notices as they stop briefly at Cartegena in Spain and Valencia in Spain to meet with operatives while other tourists tour around and see the sights. Finally they disembark in Rome as the plot thickens.
Great works of art have been the repository of the Lawrence maps before. This time they visit the Bargello Gallery and deposit them in a secret niche carved in Bernini’s statue, Apollo and Daphne.
Quickly they hurry out of Rome on a train to Milan. They take the train from Milan to Paris, meeting Winston at the Ritz just to confuse any possible spies or pursuers. They make their way back to Britain and then America.
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Dora Benley Could Be Giving Away Silver Wolf Moon:
Would you like a free copy of Silver Wolf Moon? And this time it would be a paperback, too, not a Kindle edition. The first paperback copies of the young adult romantic thriller novel ever printed could be distributed in Denver at the Sheraton Downtown in mid July. Dora Benley could be there in person to autograph the books and give them away to the lucky recipients. Look for more details in future blog posts on this Edward Ware Thrillers website created by Cheops Books LLC.
Darcy Devon can’t take it anymore. Her millionaire parents won’t stop bugging her to date Randolph King, the son of an English client of theirs. She runs away to live in her grandparents’ house in the wilds of Montana. But no sooner does she unpack her suitcase than she notices that somebody who looks like an uncouth madman is following her. Nobody knows who he is. When she goes swimming, somebody is watching her. When she goes to bed, somebody is outside looking in. Wolves howl at midnight. She looks up at the sky and sees a black moon and shivers. What does this strange dude want with her? Is he escaped from an asylum, or is it something else?
The young adult romantic thriller Silver Wolf Moon was originally published in German by Cora Verlag, Harper Collins Germany, as Silver Wolf. If you liked Silver Wolf Moon you will enjoy other young adult thrillers by Dora Benley such as Rose Red, Murder in Jasper, Mary’s Gone, Latin Lessons, and Dark 3: Special Edition.
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See You In Denver? RWA Convention 2018:
RWA, or Romance Writers of America, are holding their 2018 convention in Denver in July. In fact the exact dates are July 18-21 at the Denver Sheraton Downtown near the pedestrian mall. The public is invited to attend certain events such as the autograph party where books are sold and the proceeds donated to charity.
It is possible that Linda Cargill (alias Dora Benley) will be attending the function. If you want her to autograph your book, this could be where to find her this coming summer.
If Linda Cargill attends on behalf of Cheops Books LLC, we will present more details in this column later this spring.
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Another Edward Ware Thrillers Plot:
How about this one? If you were pursuing it nowadays you would start in London and take the Eurostar through the Chunnel to Paris. Back in Edward’s and Dora’s time you would have to take a ferry. Then you would catch the train in the central station in Paris to be taken to Milan by the end of the day. You would get to view the French Alps and then the Italian Alps out the window as evening came on. Once you arrived in Milan you would hurry across the street to the Holiday Inn. Then the next day you would rent a car. From there you would drive to Florence and then Rome. You might even take in Ravenna along the way on the opposite coast just to be different. Then some days later you would go back in exactly the same way. You would catch the train in Milan to go to Paris and then London.
From London you would return to Southampton and cross the Atlantic on the Queen Mary. From the Brooklyn Cruise Terminal you would take a car back to Tucson, Arizona. How about that for an itinerary! What plot would follow this sort of pattern? You could only imagine. Very suspenseful.
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Still Another Travel Plot Scenario:
While we are discussing possible travel plots for future Edward Ware Thrillers at War novels, add this one to the group: You start at Tucson, Arizona and drive east to Las Cruces on 1-10. You continue on 1-10 past El Paso and head to Van Horn, Texas. You change to interstate 20 just past Van Horn and drive through the Permian Basin around Midland. Here you continue your path east through Weatherford near Dallas/Fort Worth. You drive out of 900 miles of Texas all together at Texarkana. You turn north and drive past Little Rock, crossing the Mississippi River right before you enter Memphis, Tennessee on I-40.
You proceed straight through Tennessee and then drive up through the Valley of Virginia to join up with the Pennsylvania Turnpike. You end up at the Brooklyn Cruise Terminal, cross the Atlantic to Southampton, and proceed to London.
While in London you take an introductory city tour on a double decker bus. You tour Westminster Abbey and the National Gallery. You tour the Tower of London and then have a fancy tea at Montague on the Gardens before heading to the British Museum. You see St. Paul’s Cathedral and have lunch at the Olde Cheshire Cheese Restaurant. You take a day tour to Windsor Castle and explore Windsor. That night you take in a theater performance, perhaps Shakespeare. You get to see the reconstructed Globe Theater the next day along with the Borough Food Market, one of the largest in London.
Are you ready for more. Tune in tomorrow for another day, another travel plot. Maybe we should vote on which plot should appear in a future thriller novel or historical thriller in the Edward Ware Series.
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Come To The Facebook Party For Julia: A Romance:
Starting at 2PM on the afternoon of Monday, April 8 you are cordially invited to the Facebook Party to celebrate the publication of the romantic historic thriller, Julia: A Romance by Dora Benley. Listen to the debate. Should Sulla and Sisenna be able to enslave the Athenians and make them part of the Roman Empire? Should the Greeks —- particularly the Athenians who produced the Acropolis, the Parthenon and invited democracy —- get some sort of special statue or independent rule? After all, Roman aristocrats considered speaking Greek a kind of higher education. Enter a contest. Win a prize. Get free gifts.
Julia is rushing down the hallway of Marcus Sisenna’s mansion in republican Rome of about 82 BC. The hallway is filled with Greek statues of the classical time period lining the walls on both sides. But on a shelf in front of her she sees a strange two foot statue of a type she has never seen before. She stops cold and stares at it with her hand clapped over her mouth. A bare-chested snake priestess with a flounced skirt has snakes coiling around her arms. She glares straight back at Julia.
Julia has got herself in quite a fix. She is betrothed to be married to the second man in Rome, the righthand man of the Dictator Lucius Cornelius Sulla in the 80s BC in Republican Rome. She hates the way Sisenna has been married five times before and is having an affair with her own mother. Her father, coward that he is, has given away her hand in marriage to save his own life and his own estates.
And now here she is poised on the bring of what could be another war. The Greek colonies are in rebellion, and Julia, fiancee of Marcus Sisenna, is a target. What should she do to save her own life? Who can she turn to? Certainly not her own mother or father! The answer may surprise you. It certainly surprises the fair Julia.
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