Last Day To Enter Julia: A Romance Giveaway:

Today is the last day to enter the Julia: A Romance Giveaway on Goodreads. Tomorrow Goodreads will distribute one hundred Kindle copies of the historical novel to the winners of the contest. It costs you nothing. So if you want to be one of the first to see the finished copy of the novel, enter today. And this is a revised version of the very first novel that Dora Benley ever wrote with a brand new ending never seen before.

Julia has every reason to wish that she had not been born the daughter of a Roman senator during the Roman Civil Wars of Marius and Sulla. Her father, Rufus, is trying to escape the proscriptions lists and save his life by betrothing his only daughter in marriage to Marcus Sisenna. Marcus Sisenna is the right hand man of Lucius Cornelius Sulla, one of the leading men of Rome of the day. Rufus needs his armies and the protection both Sulla and Sisenna can provide.

But Julia does not want to marry a man who has already had five wives and who is just marrying her for her father’s money and estates. She does not want to be added to his collection of trophies. Julia wants personal happiness despite the time period into which she has been born. Her father thinks only of keeping his wealth and estates together. Her divorced mother is interested only in her own lovers. To whom shall Julia turn for assistance? The answer may surprise you. For it is obviously just the opposite of what the desperate Julia might expect.

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Ancient vs. Modern Violence: Julia: A Romance:

Two Cheops Books LLC editors, Gary Bennet and Kay Bognar will debate the issue of the modern versus ancient violence on Monday at 2PM on the Cheops Books Facebook Page. Gary will present the modern point of view. Kay will argue for the ancient point of view found in the novel Julia: A Romance which is being published on Amazon Kindle on April 9. You are all invited to join the group with prizes available for winners.

Here are the five questions under discussion. The novel concerns the time period of Sulla in the first century B.C., but the discussion will be a little more far ranging than that to prove a point:

1)Compare/Contrast the Battle of the Somme in WW1 with the Battle of Cannae in the Second Punic War. Which was more violent? Which had more lasting implications?
2)Compare/Contrast Sulla’s victory over Athens to Hitler’s move into the Sudetenland.
3)Compare/Contrast Sulla’s victory over Athens to Hitler’s move into Poland in 1939 that precipitated Britain’s declaration of war. Which was more lasting and permanent?
4)Compare/Contrast Titus’s expulsion of the Jews from ancient Israel to the solutions in the current problems in the Middle East. Who acted more serious?
5)What do you think causes this big difference in violence and philosophy of warfare in ancient Rome versus nowadays?

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Paris Peace Plot Saboteurs:

Cheops Books LLC will publish Paris Peace Plot by Dora Benley on the one hundredth anniversary of Armistice Day on Sunday, November 11, 2018. That will be the one hundredth anniversary of the end of the Great War, World War 1.

Cheops Books LLC will hold a Facebook Party as well as a Goodreads Giveaway that day. You will be able to win one of one hundred copies of the book. Before that day you will be able to pre-order the historical thriller on Amazon.com.

Dora has an enemy. She does not know who it is. Somebody is watching her board the Lusitania on May 1, 1915 on the Cunard pier in New York. Aboard the ship eyes follow her everywhere she goes. When she arrives in England her fiance’s gardener watches Miss Dora Benley, the American heiress, perpetually. When Lieutenant Edward Ware is off fighting with Lawrence of Arabia, saboteurs make her Pittsburgh trolley jump the tracks and crash. She discovers a murderous thug inside her shed in the South Hills of Pittsburgh where her father has his estate.

She has reason to believe that the terrorists are following her fiance during his battles with Lawrence in the Syrian Desert. Near the end of the war he is kidnapped and disappears. She travels to Europe to find him and meets with Lawrence of Arabia during the Paris Peace Conference in early 1919. But sure enough dark eyes once again follow her every move.

What do these mysterious saboteurs want with Dora? Edward? They have followed her and her fiance through the entire Great War and beyond. It seems that despite the Paris Peace Conference, there will never be peace again.

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Armistice Plot To Be Published October 1:

Cheops Books LLC will publish Armistice Plot by Dora Benley on October 1, the very day one hundred years before when the Great War came to an end in Mesopotomia and the Turks sued for peace. They agreed to sign the armistice.

There will be a Facebook Party on October 1 in addition to a Goodreads Giveaway of 100 Kindle books. Three months before the publication date you will be able to pre-order a copy of the Kindle version on Amazon.

As Edward peers into the tent at midnight he sees a dark-robed intruder brushing past the figurine of an ancient Hittite king that he and T.E.Lawrence excavated at Carchemish this summer in 1914. Is this a spy sent by the Germans to steal the maps Lawrence is sketching for the British military? Edward can’t foresee that the encounter he will have tonight will draw him into a contest to the death first with the German Kaiser and then with Hitler himself. It will determine the woman he will marry and the woman he will not. It will drive him to the brink of madness in a century gone insane.

The novel Armistice Plot begins at an archaeological site at Carchemish in 1914 as Edward Ware’s father and Leonard Woolley close down their dig in the face of war. Edward first encounters the vamp who will haunt the rest of his life prowling among the finds, looking for the military maps that his fellow archaeologist T. E.Lawrence is drawing for the British government. All during the ensuing Great War Edward must fight to keep the maps secret. Finally during the Battle of Damascus Edward and Lawrence defeat the Turks and make them sue for peace. They will sign the Armistice ending the war. But the vamp, though imprisoned in Damascus, escapes. Edward must chase her down. There are hints that she is fleeing to join with the Austrian corporal, Adolf Hitler, who is beginning a new movement in Munich. Signs of a new war appear on the horizon though the first has just come to an end. What will Edward do except fight on to the death.

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On June 16 Cheops Books LLC Will Publish Old Faithful Plot:

On June 16 Cheops Books LLC will publish Old Faithful Plot. On that day we will hold a Facebook Party. The theme of the debate will be about the supervolcano that Yellowstone actually represents. How much of a threat is it? Will it erupt someday? Will it create another Pompeii in America? Stay tuned and find out.

On the same day Goodreads will give out 100 Kindle copies of the alternative historical thriller novel to the winners of the giveaway contest. You will soon be able to enter that.

Soon you will be able to pre-order the novel on Amazon.

While they are hiding out from Dora’s husband at the Old Faithful Lodge in 1933, Dora and Edward are also hiding Lawrence maps that Churchill has given them and which Hitler would do anything to get his hands on. Enter Helga and Herr von Wessel, Hitler’s top spies. They warn Colonel Sir Edward Ware and Dora that either they hand over the top secret maps, key to world domination, or they will blow up Yellowstone National Park. They will turn the famous geyser basin into volcanic rubble – and the rest of America, too, which would be buried in volcanic ash just like Pompeii. And if that doesn’t work they have an even darker plot up their sleeves, one that would change history itself.

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Hitler’s Chief Spy To Be Published May 18:

On May 18 Cheops Books LLC will publish Hitler’s Chief Spy on Amazon Kindle. There will be a Facebook Party to which the public is invited. The debate at the Facebook Party will contrast the larger than life spy of Hitler’s Chief Spy who is pictured on the cover by cover artist Daniel Teran, Helga von Wessel, with the much dirtier spy game taking place between England and Russia right now. There will also be a Goodreads giveaway of the Kindle version of the book. You could win one of one  hundred prizes. Right now the historical thriller is available on Amazon for pre-order for only $5.99. Pre-order now and you will receive your copy on the day of publication, May 18.

The villainess, Helga von Wessel, Hitler’s chief spy, struts boldly from page to page of this thriller called Hitler’s Chief Spy with Europe at her back and all sorts of ambitious notions in her head during the lead up to WW2. As far as she is concerned it isn’t Hitler’s Reich. It is Helga’s Reich. She will wrap the hero, Colonel Sir Edward Ware, Churchill’s spy, around her little finger to prove it. Nor does it matter what Edward’s American wife, Dora, says. Hitler’s Chief Spy is the fifth volume of the Edward Ware Thrillers at War Series.

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Roman Army More Destructive Than Atomic Bomb:

We read about Scipio Aemilianus, head of the Roman army, weeping at the end of the Third Punic War as he stood by the historian, Polybius, and supervised the systemic burning and destruction of Carthage. The last 50,000 citizens presented an olive branch to the Roman army and marched out of the doomed city to a life of slavery. Aemilianus quoted Homer about Troy. But Oppenheimer on July 16, 1945 when he watched the first nuclear explosion quoted Bhagavad Gita: “Now I am become Death, the Destroyer of Worlds”. The atomic bomb is supposed to be the ultimate weapon destroying more than anything else. But really the Roman army at Carthage after the Third Punic War destroyed more —- and they didn’t even have guns or explosives at all!

Rome  and the Roman army took apart a whole civilization and obliterated all traces of it. Nothing survived for very long, not even the art or culture after the last ruler of Carthage committed suicide and his wife threw her children into the flames and then leaped into the flames herself. But after World War 1 and World War 2 the defeated parties not only survived but prospered and in very short order, too. The United States and Britain didn’t burn all the German cities to the ground and enslave whole populations. Germany and Japan came right back after the war and became economic engines again. Rome and the Roman army would never have permitted this with Carthage.

We are commemorating the 100th anniversary of World War 1. Europe cannot get over the Battle of the Somme and other similar battles losing thousands of men. But Rome and the Roman army suffered more during the Second Punic War, especially during the Battle of Cannae, and got over it very quickly. Nor did it make Rome hate war and want to avoid it at all costs.

This attitude that somehow the past was more peaceful and the present more violent needs to be re-examined. It doesn’t fit the facts. The Punic Wars seem more horrible than either World War 1 or World War 2.

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Princess Tanit And Carthage Has Been Destroyed:

Gaius Antonius gave the order to retreat toward the Balearic Islands. There was no shame in it when they were so outnumbered. But considering the speed of the pursuing ships, he had better high tail it out of here quickly and in effect do the equivalent of a vanishing act. He caught the glare of Tanit and cursed her. He would not stop until she was dead. He had promised Cato.

He sailed back the way he had come with what looked like a whole navy coming after him. He sailed into a hidden cove on one of the more obscure Balearic Islands. His ship and the other one that had come with him were totally hidden by rocks. He sent a lookout up the cliff to conceal himself behind a tree and watch what the other navy did. He reported back not long after that they had sailed past the island all together.

Gaius Antonius had escaped to the Balearic Islands. A couple days later he sailed back into the port at Carthage. He told Scipio what had happened and how Tanit had almost led him into a trap. He swore he would capture her and make her pay or his name was not Cato.

As Scipio’s siege engines grew higher and higher until they were almost the height of the walls of Carthage itself, he saw Tanit appear on the walls again and again. Soldiers would appear and throw missiles down on the Romans to distract them when they were working on the siege engines, and the Princess Tanit would appear with them. She would raise above her head the souvenir she obviously took when she appeared in Rome at Cato’s latifundia. She must have been there in the room when his father was murdered. She was holding Cato’s other pen besides the one that had been clutched in his hand. It was an open insult.

At long last the siege engines were finished, and the city of Carthage was about ready to starve. Just as Scipio was giving the order to his legionaries to attack, an olive branch was seen on the walls. The ordinary folk of Carthage were surrendering. Scipio accepted their surrender, and the gates of the city opened wide as fifty thousand citizens marched out to surrender to the Roman legions and be made into slaves. Gaius knew that Tanit would not be among those numbers. She would never surrender.

When the final push came he entered the city behind his soldiers directing their activities as they pushed through the streets of Carthage taking building after building. They slaughtered the residents who had not surrendered floor by floor and then razed the buildings themselves as they progressed down the street. What was left in the rubble was burned after it had been thoroughly pillaged and sacked for valuables.

Gaius looked around and watched out of the corner of his eye to see if he could detect where Princess Tanit was hiding. They were approaching the royal palace. He gave the order to his soldiers to sack that structure next, which they were eager to do because of all the booty.
First they broke down the double doors. They ran against them repeatedly with a ram. When they finally gave way there stood a lone figure staring daggers at Gaius from the top of the gilded stairway. It was Princess Tanit! Gaius barked the orders to his soldiers to sack the first floor and pull off the gold ornaments and valuables from the walls and doors and furniture before they ascended to the next floor and the next and finally prepared to demolish the building. Then he raced up the stairs after Tanit himself.

She was as swift as a lynx running from room to room, but finally he pulled a rug out from under her feet and toppled her to the ground. He leaped on top of her and struggled from side to side while he tried to pry that pen from her right hand. He forced open her fingers and finally took back Cato’s second pen that he always used to write speeches before delivering them in the Senate House. Gaius could only imagine how many times this pen had written the words: Carthage must be destroyed.

Tanit took advantage of the opportunity to leap up while he was taking back the pen. She fled out onto the balcony attached to the upper level room of the Carthaginian royal palace.
Gaius followed her only to suddenly come upon the wife of the lead general of the Carthaginians, Hasdrubal, pontificating and prancing frantically back and forth on the balcony crying down to the Romans below. She decried her cowardly husband who had just surrendered to the Romans and could be seen kneeling at the feet of Scipio Aemilianus right this minute. She lifted up one of her children after the other and threw them into the burning city below. Then she climbed up onto the balcony and threw herself into the flames with a giant scream.

Princess Tanit backed up away from Gaius Antonius. She shook her head and cried out, “You shall never put your dirty hands on me again, Roman. You act like a colony of red ants crawling all over our city and pulling it down to the ground. But still I will not be your slave or your prisoner. Nor will I ever again have to look at or meet or be the prisoner of that madman, your father, who inspired all this destruction. At least I killed him, and I am glad I lived long enough to do so. It was no soldier who did it for me. It was this hand that wielded the bow and arrow that killed him.” She shouted out her final defiant brag to Gaius.

With that Tanit leaped up onto the balcony wall. She glared at Gaius for one second longer. Then she, too, leaped into the flames.

Gaius Antonius looked out over the burning city of Carthage. Flames leaped high. He saw the visage of his father rising like the sun over all. He spoke to him. “Father, just as you said, Carthage must be destroyed. Well, I am finally and at last reporting to you, Carthage has been destroyed.”

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Tanit Sails Away In The Middle Of The Night:

Gaius was so indignant about Tanit murdering his father in cold blood — the very man who had once paid host to her when she was visiting Rome and his latifundia — that he immediately scribbled a note and sent for Scipio Aemilianus though it was the middle of the night.

About an hour later Scipio arrived fully dressed in his military outfit. Gaius filled him in on what had just happened and how Tanit had outwitted them in the end and was now sailing away scott free at night.

“I think we should start sending the Roman navy to Carthage tomorrow,” Gaius insisted. “We cannot let her get away with murdering my father and not paying for the crime.”

Scipio nodded. “We will send the patrol boats to give them a scare. Of course the rest of the Roman army will be sailing within the week. We should all make it by Wednesday next.”

Gaius did not go back to bed that night. He worked straight way through packing his essentials for the campaign against Carthage. He wanted to leave with the advance boat to see if he could somehow catch Tanit before she arrived back in Carthage. He confided in Scipio that he wanted to go and why. And of course Scipio, the commander, honored his wish.

But as it turned out Gaius ended up sailing across the entire Mediterranean without once catching sight of the bitch of his creating. He had once flirted with her and encouraged her, making an absolute fool of himself. Fortunately nobody knew about it but himself and even that was too many people.

Days later they sailed into the port of Carthage, built as an amazing great circle in front of the city walls. It was now almost all emptied out. As they sailed up the last ships were disappearing out to sea. It would not do them much good. Soon they would not be able to bring in provisions no matter what.

Gaius gazed out to sea. He hoped one of those boats was not Tanit. He did not want her to escape.
Scipio was an experienced expert at siege warfare. They at once began constructing great siege engines. It was a slow way to get vengeance but a more certain one that trying to make attacks and enter the city prematurely. But still he worried about Tanit.

“Scipio, I would like to take a ship or two and follow that last Carthaginian ship out of the harbor,” Gaius explained. “I think it may be the princess of Carthage who stayed at Cato’s house as a hostage and a guest and then turned on him and murdered him in cold blood.”
 Of course Scipio gave his permission as the leading general. Gaius set sail in the direction the ship had escaped.

But the ship proved very elusive and hard to follow just like Tanit. It would appear on the horizon far ahead of them only from time to time and then mysteriously disappear again. It only appeared often enough so that they could still follow it. And it was progressing quite a distance, too. It was obviously not headed for a neighboring port such as the Samnites.

He headed out onto the open sea wondering if Tanit would lead him to a secret stash of weapons or soldiers that he should know about. It took a couple days where he would catch sight of the ship and once again it would elude him. And another restless night would pass.

All too soon he found himself back in Spanish waters approaching the port of New Carthage. But low and behold, no sooner did the port come in view than he saw a Phoenician navy massed there to greet him. All the ships looked like the one he had drawn for Cato not that long ago. He had brought only two Roman ships with him. He had followed Tanit into a trap. Worse, he could catch sight of the Princess herself on the upper deck next to the captain. Her hand was clapped over her mouth. She was laughing at him. Her eyes were full of evil mirth — and fire.

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Scipio Aemilianus Chosen To Lead Expedition:

The next weeks were spent in such a hustle and bustle that Gaius hardly remembered either his old name or his new. He and Lavinia were married almost right away with the full Senate in attendance. But instead of bringing her home to his real father’s and mother’s house, they stayed in the house where she had grown up as Cato’s ward, Cato’s house. Scipio Aemilianus was picked to lead the expedition to Carthage. He was the adopted heir of Scipio Africanus, the hero of the Second Punic War. Gaius was given the rank of a tribune under Scipio.

Soldiers were taking on supplies. The Roman navy was repairing its vessels and buffing them up to make the journey across the Mediterranean Sea. Gaius Antonius and his fellow officers were taking the new and raw recruits out of town into the surrounding countryside to practice basic military maneuvers and exercises every day.

That morning before he left Cato’s house in town (they had not gone out to the latifundia lately because of all the military activity and meetings of the Senate) Cato summoned him into his office. He said, “The Roman army should plan to set sail for Carthage in about a week’s time. We don’t want to allow them too much time to take on supplies and build up their navy.”

“I am sure that sounds like the wisest course of action,” Gaius said to his new father.

They had held a big dinner for all the senators and their families only a few days ago right before the wedding. At the dinner Cato had declared that Gaius Antonius would be his new son and would carry his name and inherit his fortune and his lands. He would also take his place in the Senate when the time came, though everyone knew that no one could really do that. Certain papers and documents had been signed and witnessed. They had been handed over to the Vestal Virgins to keep in the House of the Vestal Virgins.

He promised Cato that he would do his best to stick on schedule. He was never more surprised than when in the middle of his military exercises his new wife, Lavinia, appeared on horseback. He excused himself and rushed over to her.

She hurried up to him with an expression of consternation on her face. “Gaius, Cato has been murdered!” she shouted.

He could hardly credit what she was saying. “What on earth are you talking about?” he asked his wife. “I just got done talking to him about leaving for Carthage within a week’s time!”

She gripped his military vest. “I went into his office to talk to him after luncheon. He was lying slumped on his writing desk. At first I thought he was asleep. But then I saw the arrow in his shoulder.”

Gaius could not take it all in. But he knew he had to act right away. He returned to his unit briefly to make his excuses that family matters had to be attended to. He was not going to repeat what his wife had said until he saw what was going on with his own two eyes. He saddled his own horse and followed her back into town to Cato’s house.

He hurried into his new father’s study. Things were just as she had told him. Only a frightened slave had hurriedly been appointed to watch things and make sure nothing was disturbed until they got back. He hurried up to Lavinia and practically hung on her for reassurance while Gaius dashed right up to Cato.

He took Cato by the shoulders and shook him, calling upon his name, “Cato, Cato, speak to me!” In life that was the most important thing he always did —- speak. His eyes were staring as lifeless as Lavinia had told him. But unlike Lavinia his eyes caught sight of a notepad next to Cato’s hand which was still holding his pen, very fitting to the last. On a piece of papyrus he had managed to scrawl, “The Carthaginians have killed me —- shot me through the window. Carthago delenda est.”

Indeed when Gaius turned the window in question was still open. He went to look and horrifyingly enough he could still detect the presence of human feet in the dust. They had left their incriminating shoe prints behind. Not that he would ever doubt what his father said, but this was all too accurate to be borne.

Gaius could not ask Cato what to do now. Cato was no more. He was now Cato. People would look to him to act as his father would have.

Keeping his wits about him he summoned Scipio Aemilianus to his house right away. Scipio rushed away from the military field and came right away. When he saw what tragedy had occurred he immediately decided, “We must sail even sooner than one week against Carthage.”

Gaius nodded. “I would whole heartedly agree. That is what Cato would have said.”

The next day they arranged for Cato’s funeral in the Forum in front of all Rome because this was a decisive event in the history of the Roman Republic. Many would always remember this day and tell their children and children’s children about it.

Gaius made a speech as the funeral pyre was lighted and Cato joined his noble ancestors. “On this day Rome resolves to do whatever it takes to defeat our mortal enemy, Carthage.”

Everybody cheered.

“We should not have allowed them to pay reparations for the past fifty years. Then this horrible tragedy would not have occurred,” he said.

Again the mob cheered.

“Now we must complete what we started in the time of our grandfathers. And in the words of my father, the great man that all Rome depended upon to see the right course for it to follow, the very last words that the dying man wrote on this piece of papyrus for us all to see after he had been struck by an arrow —- Carthago delenda est. Carthage must be destroyed.”

Gaius waved Cato’s last paper in the air over his head. The mob errupted into vengeful cheers that seemed to raise the roofs of the surrounding buildings. They did not stop shouting until Cato’s funeral was over and he was buried in a family mausoleum along the Appian Way.

The entire city state was mobilized as never before. They were all resolved to avenge Cato’s death by destroying Carthage. They had determined to leave Rome in five days’ time.

But the very next night his wife, Lavinia, awoke him. They had retired for one night to the latifundia to enlist the slaves who would go with them to war and not be left behind along with the small tenant farmers surrounding Cato’s estate. She complained that she was having a strange dream that made her restless and would not let her sleep. She kept on thinking that something or somebody was outside the window.

That was only natural considering what had just happened to her Uncle Cato. She urged her husband to look. Then she pointed leaning out the window herself. “Look down there at the sea! Look at that ship!”

Gaius followed Lavinia’s pointed finger. She indeed had a keen eye. He recognized the ship immediately under a bright moon. It was the very ship that he had drawn on the map for Cato, the one with the big sails. And he did not think he was imagining it when he thought he recognized the woman’s figure on the prow of the ship as it passed underneath the headland at the edge of the latifundia. Why, that was Tanit! She had returned to Rome to murder Cato.

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