Saturnalia: Roman Christmas

The ancient Saturnalia was celebrated on December 17 through December 23 to honor the God Saturn. It became the predecessor of our Christmas season with role reversals between master and slave, gift giving, gambling, feasting, It celebrated the winter solstice season or the coming New Year’s.

This festival plays a big role in the Cheops Books LLC novel: Cleopatra’s Stone. But it also would be a festival celebrated by Julia and Sisenna, the main characters of the upcoming historical thriller Julia: A Romance set in Republican Rome of the first century B.C. The Saturnalia would occur during their first winter as a married couple.

Cheops Book LLC publishes a series of ancient novels, including a subset of Roman novels. That includes: Caesar and Cleopatra: A Novel, Julius Caesar: A Novel, and Cleopatra’s Stone found on Amazon. It also includes to be published historical thrillers such as Julia: A Romance, Pliny: A Novel, and Caesar’s Lost Legions.

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Revamp Old Faithful Plot Book Cover:

For the Old Faithful Plot book cover show a blue Cadillac V16 of a 1933 vintage meandering slowly through the morass of the Yellowstone hot pots and geysers. Dora and Edward are driving in the car, Edward at the steering wheel. They are both looking in horror out Dora’s passenger side window down at a bubbling mudpot by the side of the road. The image of Dora will resemble the face of the lady in the cover for Salisbury Plot. Edward’s face will be like that of Lawrence’s companion in the cover for Armistice Plot. Both will be dressed in 1930’s clothing as they gape in disbelief at what awaits them in the plot of this novel.

Old Faithful Plot, an historical thriller by Dora Benley, will soon be published by Cheops Books, LLC.

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Trump and Titus: 2000 Years of the Jews in Europe:

Yesterday when Trump was making a speech on the White House steps about his tax cut and congressmen and senators were standing on the stairs, it was reminiscent of the days of ancient Rome when generals had triumphs. In particular I am thinking of the famous triumph of Titus who was then the son of the Emperor Vespasian in the year 70 BC. He defeated the Jews in the First Jewish Roman War and sent them off into the Diaspora from which they did not return until after World War 2 almost two thousand years later. The famous Titus’s Arch which still stands in Rome today depicts this event.

Today the UN took a vote whether to condemn the US for recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. All of the membership of the EU, the western European countries, voted to condemn the US and Israel. Western Europe is showing its long, long tradition of anti-Semitism. Japan also voted to condemn showing that it was once part of the Axis Powers in World War 2, allied with the Nazis and Hitler.

America is trying to right the historic wrong that has gone on for two thousand years. Not that the Diaspora did not contribute greatly to Jewish civilization in making them the democratic country they are now today. But it is time to let them go home again after two thousand years.
The great mystery in the vote was England. All the other Anglo countries either voted with the US or abstained. But England voted to condemn the resolution to make Jerusalem the capital of Israel and to have the US put its embassy there. Yet it was England who promulgated the Balfour Declaration one hundred years ago, starting the movement that ended up creating the modern state of Israel. England has been in decline for a century from the power it once was, but this shows that it is slipping into the orbit of Germany and other continental countries and losing its own ideals that once made it great.

But at least Trumps stands on the White House steps looking like a Roman of old. Now that the Jews are no longer fractious and rebellious the way they were two thousand years ago, he is saying to go home again.

Cheops Books LLC will soon publish an historical thriller involving Titus. It is called Pliny: A Novel. The encyclopedia writer Pliny was a friend of the Emperor Titus and his father Vespasian.

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Is Socialism Better Than Private Enterprise?

You say that socialism means “sharing the burdens”. I am not sure what you mean by this, but if you mean offering more government programs and services at taxpayer expense, I guess that is where we should begin. BUT is the government really the best entity to offer these services? Do they offer the best quality services? I think NOT. Take the example of public education which is offered by the local and state government in America and by the national government in Paris, France for instance.

That is a good beginning point because it is a common service that we all share whether in America, Britain, or France. I have an MED in English Education which means master’s in English Education at the high school level. My mother was also a high school teacher. I did student teaching and even had a job teaching English for awhile. I came to the conclusion that no matter what they did, public education was always going to be second best. I went to a public grade school and high school. I didn’t learn very much there other than what I taught myself. But when I went to college, which was a private school, I learned much more. But public education remains because it is better than nothing, though it is a shocking burden at the local level because of local property taxes which support the schools.

The previous occupant of the White House was trying to expand the federal government’s reach into health care. All he succeeded in doing was to make it difficult to impossible for real people to buy health insurance plans. He made it so that you can’t even get a doctor to call you back on the phone since there is now a doctor shortage for no good reason except that he made it hard for doctors to have private practices anymore. Health care became second rate. Hopefully Trump’s tax bill which also included a provision to kill the mandate has started to change things.

Not that the government can’t do anything in regard to services. It would be hard to see how public highways could be private. it would be hard to see how the military could be private. However as a footnote, when armies WERE private back during the days of the late Roman Republic you had legendary and famous armies as well as the most famous general in history, Julius Caesar.

Cheops Books LLC publishes various Roman novels such as Livia: A Novel, Caesar and Cleopatra: A Novel, Caesar’s Lost Legions, Pliny: A Novel, and Julia: A Romance.

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Julia Visits The Forum in Julia: A Romance:

One of the most perennial Roman monuments associated with the days of the Republic and Empire was the Roman Forum, or Forum Romanum in Latin. It was located in the valley between the Capitoline Hill and the Palatine Hill where all the aristocrats and the Emperor lived. This was the central meeting place of the city where the Senate House was located as well as numerous shops. Triumphal processions were held here by conquering generals. This was where Roman citizens came to vote for candidates for office. Public speeches were also held here where everyone gathered around to listen. It was the site of criminal trials even those politically motivated such as Catiline. Even gladiatorial matches could be held here. And nearby and convenient to the Forum were the Circus Maximus and the Colosseum. And important temples such as the Temple to the Vestal Virgins were nearby.

In the romantic historic thriller Julia: A Romance, the heroine makes many trips to the Forum and through the Forum in her efforts to evade either her evil, interfering mother, Octavia, or the man who wants to marry her at all costs, Marcus Sisenna, the second most powerful man in Rome. It is also a good place to hide since it was so crowded. It is part of the color of such novels that they are set against the backdrop of such historic settings where the likes of Juliius Caesar and Augustus Caesar walked.

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Knossos And Julia: A Romance:

When Julia marries Marcus Sisenna through an arranged marriage that her father, Senator Rufus, brokered, she had no idea about all the new experiences and responsibilities that she is taking on. She goes from being a girl who liked to sit in her father’s library in their expansive house on Palatine Hill in Rome to a woman of the world. Just as the Roman Empire extended to the boundaries of the known world, so would Julia’s new horizons.

The man she is marrying is the second most powerful man in Rome, Marcus Sisenna, Sulla’s right-hand man. When there is a plot Sisenna is immediately put in charge of investigating it. The Greeks rebel, so they end up in Greece. Since Sulla had just conquered Athens, the natives are restless.

Julia finds herself in the Palace of Knossos of all places! She can see bare chested priestesses with flounced skirts depicted in statuary. Whispers go on around her, the voices of the rebels.

Take your armchair tour of Greece and the Roman world. Read Julia: A Romance next year.

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The Carthaginian City of Nora:

In Julia: A Romance the heroine encounters various challenges from different sources. One of the biggest challenges comes from her future husband’s position in the empire and his travels. He insists that she learn Greek but he won’t say why at first. Nor will he tell her the important part to be played in the plot of intrigue by cities such as the Carthaginian city of Nora.

At the time of the novel, 82BC, Rome has just put an end to the first civil war between Marius and Sulla with Sulla’s victory. Sulla, the Dictator of Rome, has also just conquered the city state of Athens. Sisenna mentions to Julia that certain disaffected Roman aristocrats had recently been sent to a kind of exile on Sardinia near the ancient city of Nora. It is one of the many colorful locales that plays a part in the novel. In a sense the historical thriller takes in locations all over the ancient Greek and Roman world.

Julia: A Romance by Dora Benley will be published next year by Cheops Books LLC.

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Edward Ware Thrillers Newsletter December, 2017

During the past month, Cheops Books LLC has published a number of young adult thrillers. This includes Helen of Troy, Latin Lessons, Murder at the Sphinx, Silver Wolf Moon, and Minotaur.
On December 15 Cheops Books published its first German edition of Captive at the Berghof part 1.

Coming in mid January next year in 2018 will be a grand giveaway on goodreads.com for Book of the Dead by Dora Benley. This time there will be one hundred Kindle titles to give away to contestants:

As soon as the King family settles in their new house in Cairo things begin to change rapidly. On Leona’s birthday her stepdaughter gives her an ancient scroll full of hieroglyphics. Her husband tells Leona it is a Book of the Dead, an ancient Egyptian text full of spells and magic chants to help the newly dead person gain admission into the afterlife, the Land of the Setting Sun. The scroll is to help him avoid getting eaten by the Devourer after his heart is weighed on the scales of truth against a feather and found wanting. Leona has no idea where Margaret got such a scroll. She remembers seeing her in the souk, taking something from a woman covered with dark veils from head to foot with only a claw-like hand protruding.

From that moment on Leona’s once perfect world closes in on her. She finds herself kidnapped, locked in a tomb, nearly driven mad, and tormented by an Egyptian spirit who has somehow been loosed on her. She must fight for her very life in this supernatural novel about Egyptian archaeology in the 1920’s.

If you enjoyed Book of the Dead by Dora Benley you will enjoy her other historical thrillers about the ancient world and Egypt such as Doom of Egypt, Curse of the Pharaoh, Murder at the Sphinx, Curse of the Pharaoh, and Cleopatra’s Stone.

Look for the schedule of publications for next year in the January newsletter. It will feature books in the Edward Ware Thriller Series that commemorate the end of World War 1 one hundred years ago in 1918.

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Gefangen auf dem Berghof: Teil 1 in German:

Today Amazon published Captive at the Berghof in German on Amazon Kindle. That completes the first foreign language publication of Cheops Books LLC.

Adolf Hitler threatens Colonel Sir Edward Ware and Dora, Lady Ware, that if they do not hand over the Lawrence maps, key to world domination, he will kidnap their daughter. The late Lawrence of Arabia has drawn these maps for the British military to prepare for the next European War. Hitler guesses this, and wants to tip the scales in favor of Germany instead of England. Churchill, Edward’s best friend, and the Colonel are running their own foreign policy under the noses of first Baldwin and then Neville Chamberlain and the British government. Tension does nothing but build through Nazi rallies, through the Munich Accords in 1938, but does not stop with the first shots fired after the Polish Invasion in 1939. Finally the war itself will be won or lost depending upon what Edward and Dora do next. Will it be their country or their daughter? They must choose.

Hitler hat über die geheimen Untergrundaktivitäten des Obersts Sir Edward Ware erfahren und kämpft mit harten Bandagen. Er entführt Thomasina, Edwards Tochter und will das Kind nur zurückgeben, wenn ihm Edward und seine Frau Dora den Schlüssel zur Weltherrschaft überlassen – die Lawrence-Karten. Sie müssen schnell etwas unternehmen, bevor Thomasina wirklich zu Hitlers Tochter wird.

A reader left this review:
If you like novels during the period of Adolf Hitler, this one is for you.

The book starts out with a tensely constructed dinner scene with Adolf Hitler. The main characters Colonel Sir Edward Ware and Dora, Lady Ware are scared that the Führer might kidnap their daughter, if they don’t hand over the Lawrence maps. The late Lawrence of Arabia had drawn up these maps for the British military to prepare for the next European War. Hitler wants them.
The suspense grows from there. Hitler even toys with the Ware’s by holding onto their baby. Great scene.

Through out the story there are large historical figures who have frequent cameos such as Churchill, Chamberlain and Goering. The story is easy to read and has a dark period tone and well written characters.

As it is part of a series, the author was smart to have an ending that leaves you wanting more.

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Helen of Troy On Special Christmas Promotion NOW:

Starting today and continuing through the weekend you will find Helen of Troy on special promotion on Amazon. You can download the Kindle edition of the historical thriller for free. Don’t miss it! But hurry! An offer this good won’t be repeated this year.

First-novelist Dora Benley recounts the fall of Troy from Helen’s point of view—in this spirited page-turner that placed in the National Writers Book Contest.

Though brought up to inherit the role of her mother, Queen Leda, as keeper of the ancient mother-goddess cult increasingly suppressed by the reigning kings, beautiful Helen of Sparta initially fails to hear the Goddess of Heaven’s voice within her. And no wonder—the hormone-bedeviled teenager lusts after handsome Menelaus, whose family has offended the Goddess by looting her temples for bronze. Upon Leda’s death, the Goddess offers Helen the choice of marrying Menelaus at the cost of a life of misery and the destruction of Sparta, or sacrificing him in favor of older, craggy-faced Odysseus—the “wisest among the Achaeans”—with whom Helen would enjoy a long, happy reign as Sparta’s queen. Naturally, Helen chooses Menelaus, and thus follows betrayals, misunderstandings, and intrigues that lead to the destruction of Sparta and Troy. Kidnapped by Paris, forced to marry him and bear sons by his cleverer brother, Deiphobus, Helen concentrates on protecting the hordes who worship her—whether as the Goddess on Earth in Sparta or as Inanna in Troy.

Her efforts to play out the Goddess’s maternal role are at cross purposes with the male rulers’ ambitions, however—and constant misunderstandings result. Herding her subjects out of besieged Sparta, she is accused of abandoning her post. Refusing to abandon her Trojan sons when Menelaus arrives to rescue her, she commits treason. Then, attempting to free the Trojan people from their despotic rulers by allowing the Trojan horse within the city walls, she betrays her Trojan husband.

Kirkus Reviews says of the Helen of Troy novel: “Dora Benley’s portrayal of Helen as supporter of the people and clever, if misunderstood, female in a world of men—as opposed to the more familiar fickle housewife—keeps this classic, action-packed tale bubbling to the last huzzah. An auspicious beginning —and a delightful read.”

If you liked Helen of Troy you will enjoy other novels by Dora Benley including the Julius Caesar: A Novel, Caesar and Cleopatra: A Novel, Medea the Witch, Minotaur, and Cleopatra’s Stone.

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