Most Recent Masterpieces By Daniel Teran:

Daniel Teran’s two most recent book covers include Vesuvius Plot and Carthage Must Be Destroyed.
In Vesuvius Plot Pliny the Elder battles the Germans in Trier only to have the tribes follow him back to Italy. Who will win as the Vesuvius Volcano starts to erupt in the background?

Who was Pliny the Elder?

Pliny the Elder, or Gaius Plinius Secundus, was an ancient Roman scientist, essayist, and thinker, probably the greatest mind of the first century AD. He had an office right next door to what later became the Porta Nigra in Trier.

What was he doing there, hundreds of miles away from his home in Rome? Trier was the oldest Roman city in Germany. He had been appointed Governor of the Province of Germany probably by the Emperor Vespasian and his son, the Emperor Titus. No doubt he studied the birds there as well as the flora and fauna since he was the first to write an encyclopedia called the Natural History, which was influential for centuries.

He was carrying on business as usual here early in the summer of 79AD before packing his bags and returning home for a summer at the seaside south of Rome at one of his villas near the Vesuvius Volcano which unknown to any mortal that summer was about to erupt.

According to legend that is how Pliny died. He was leading an expedition to save those too near the volcano when the volcano sent a rain of ash down upon him. Italian archaeologist now think they may have discovered his remains in a ship in the Bay of Naples near the volcano. See article on the website.

But the novel offers a different explanation for his mysterious disappearance. He was being pursued by German warriors for writing a derisive work about their peoples and culture called the Germania.
But did he escape or not? Vesuvius Plot may present surprising answers. It is the latest book in the Edward Ware Thrillers at War Series.

In Carthage Must Be Destroyed Gaius Antonius is inspired by the leading senator and statesman, Marcus Porcius Cato. He turns his talent for drawing into a map making expedition to Carthage where he manages to ferret out a naval vessel as evidence that the Carthaginians are starting to rebuild their fleet in the aftermath of the Second Punic War. They have finished with the reparations that Rome imposed on them, and now have money to spare.

He and his mentor Cato return to the Roman Senate to get them to declare war when the map disappears. Gaius must chase the Carthaginian Princess Tanit across the Mediterranean and meet all sorts of unexpected hardships.

Will he make it in time, or will Princess Tanit and her relatives gain the upper hand against them? Find out in Carthage Must Be Destroyed by Dora Benley.

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Cheops Books Will Assemble A Brochure Of Classical Novels:

Soon Cheops Books will assemble a brochure. It will include Dora Benley’s classical thrillers: Julia: A Romance, Caesar’s Lost Legions, Carthage Must Be Destroyed, and Vesuvius Plot.

Who was Pliny the Elder?

Pliny the Elder, or Gaius Plinius Secundus, was an ancient Roman scientist, essayist, and thinker. He was probably the greatest mind of the first century AD. He had an office right next door to what later became the Porta Nigra in Trier.

What was he doing there, hundreds of miles away from his home in Rome? Trier was the oldest Roman city in Germany. He had been appointed Governor of the Province of Germany probably by the Emperor Vespasian and his son, the Emperor Titus. No doubt he studied the birds there as well as the flora and fauna. He was the first to write an encyclopedia called the Natural History, which was influential for centuries.

He was carrying on business as usual here early in the summer of 79AD. This was before packing his bags and returning home for a summer at the seaside south of Rome at one of his villas near the Vesuvius Volcano. Unknown to any mortal that summer, it was about to erupt.

According to legend that is how Pliny died. He was leading an expedition to save those too near the volcano when the volcano sent a rain of ash down upon him. Italian archaeologist now think they may have discovered his remains in a ship in the Bay of Naples near the volcano. See article on the website.

But the thriller offers a different explanation for his mysterious disappearance. He was being pursued by German warriors for writing a derisive work about their peoples and culture called the Germania.

But did he escape or not? Vesuvius Plot may present surprising answers. It is the latest book in the Edward Ware Thrillers at War Series.

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Edward Ware Thrillers Newsletter January, 2019:
Cheops Books LLC has just published Dora Benley’s latest young adult thriller, Mysterious Neighbor.
Picture of cover of Mysterious Neighbor
Teenager Madeline Anthony-Pratt climbs over the wall to her neighbor’s house one night to retrieve her cat. Intruders appear. She hides in the shadows. They whisper in a foreign tongue and hold out a Pepsi can with black crud on it. They light a match.
Why are they trying to blow up her neighbor’s house tonight? The men aren’t telling as the match gets closer to the wick.

In Mysterious Neighbor Madeline and her boyfriend, Drew, are left to deal with matters as best they can, and even Drew can’t help much. He had just enlisted in the military. No adults seem willing to help except the old lady next door, the mysterious neighbor, who is being targeted by the thugs. She has all too much to tell Madeline. And the teenager can count the seconds ticking away on her life after she finds out the dangerous information the old lady has to impart to her.

This is no ordinary plot. It’s bigger than 9/11 and far more devastating. It has been two thousand years in the making.

Recently it has also promoted Julia: A Romance by Dora Benley, published last spring.

Picture of front cover of Julia: A Romance.

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 proscription 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 Felix, 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.

On March 15 Cheops Books LLC will publish Caesar’s Lost Legions.

Caesar Augustus has sent Caelius Antonius to the Roman province of Germania in 9 AD to draw a map of wonders that will lead the legions to a promised land as far East as the River Elbe. There are reports of a a sea port that would serve as a highway to lands as yet unnamed.

Augustus’s ward, Arminius, a model German turned Roman, has volunteered to lead the legions of Varus there. Caelius awakens one night to find a symbol of Thor’s hammer engraved in the tree bark outside his tent. He senses a spy from some disaffected tribe watching him. He reports the spy to Varus who defers to Arminius. Arminius says that all the Germans are of course watching, delighted that the Romans have come to civilize their benighted country.

Evidence builds of a conspiracy. Caelius reports it to Augustus back in Rome personally. But Augustus refuses to listen. Arminius was his ward who had lived in his house in Rome, and Caesar had never had a son of his own. Arminius was his blind spot. As a warning to Caelius, Caelius’s wife is kidnapped. No matter what Caelius must defend his maps to the death. They hold the key to Rome’s future. He hopes that neither he nor his wife must die to realize it.

Join Edward’s long ago ancestor, Caelius, in his adventures on the far frontiers of the Roman Empire in Germany. They echo the adventures his latter day descendant, Edward Ware, will someday face in his own map plots against the latter-day Germans.

Recently Daniel Teran, the cover artist, drew a cover for the upcoming historical thriller Carthage Must Be Destroyed.

Picture of Carthage Must Be Destroyed
In Carthage Must Be Destroyed Gaius Antonius is inspired by the leading senator and statesman, Marcus Porcius Cato. He turns his talent for drawing into a map making expedition to Carthage where he manages to ferret out a naval vessel as evidence that the Carthaginians are starting to rebuild their fleet in the aftermath of the Second Punic War. They have finished with the reparations that Rome imposed on them, and now have money to spare.

He and his mentor Cato return to the Roman Senate to get them to declare war when the map disappears. Gaius must chase the Carthaginian Princess Tanit across the Mediterranean and meet all sorts of unexpected hardships.

Will he make it in time, or will Princess Tanit and her relatives gain the upper hand against them? Find out in Carthage Must Be Destroyed by Dora Benley.

In Carthage Must Be Destroyed Gaius Antonius is inspired by the leading senator and statesman, Marcus Porcius Cato. He turns his talent for drawing into a map making expedition to Carthage where he manages to ferret out a naval vessel as evidence that the Carthaginians are starting to rebuild their fleet in the aftermath of the Second Punic War. They have finished with the reparations that Rome imposed on them, and now have money to spare.

He and his mentor Cato return to the Roman Senate to get them to declare war when the map disappears. Gaius must chase the Carthaginian Princess Tanit across the Mediterranean and meet all sorts of unexpected hardships.

Will he make it in time, or will Princess Tanit and her relatives gain the upper hand against them? Find out in Carthage Must Be Destroyed by Dora Benley.

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Dora Benley Writes Novels About Italian Culture:

We should send notices about the following books to Italian magazines about Italian culture such as Italia Magazine or Italian American.

In Caesar’s Lost Legions Augustus has sent Caelius Antonius to the Roman province of Germania in 9 AD to draw a map to lead the legions as far East as the River Elbe. Caelius awakens to find Thor’s hammer engraved in the tree bark outside his tent. Is that a warning?

In Pliny: A Thriller Pliny the Elder, or Gaius Plinius Secundus, was an ancient Roman scientist, essayist, and thinker, probably the greatest mind of the first century AD. He had an office right next door to what later became the Porta Nigra in Trier.

What was he doing there, hundreds of miles away from his home in Rome? Trier was the oldest Roman city in Germany. He had been appointed Governor of the Province of Germany probably by the Emperor Vespasian and his son, the Emperor Titus. No doubt he studied the birds there as well as the flora and fauna since he was the first to write an encyclopedia called the Natural History, which was influential for centuries.

He was carrying on business as usual here early in the summer of 79AD before packing his bags and returning home for a summer at the seaside south of Rome at one of his villas near the Vesuvius Volcano which unknown to any mortal that summer was about to erupt.

According to legend that is how Pliny died. He was leading an expedition to save those too near the volcano when the volcano sent a rain of ash down upon him. Italian archaeologist now think they may have discovered his remains in a ship in the Bay of Naples near the volcano.  See article on the website.

But the novel offers a different explanation for his mysterious disappearance. He was being pursued by German warriors for writing a derisive work about their peoples and culture called the Germania.

But did he escape or not? Pliny: A Thriller may present surprising answers. It is the latest book in the Edward Ware Thrillers at War Series.

In Julia: A Romance 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 proscription 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 Felix, 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.

In Carthage Must Be Destroyed Gaius Antonius is inspired by the leading senator and statesman, Marcus Porcius Cato. He turns his talent for drawing into a map making expedition to Carthage where he manages to ferret out a naval vessel as evidence that the Carthaginians are starting to rebuild their fleet in the aftermath of the Second Punic War. They have finished with the reparations that Rome imposed on them, and now have money to spare.

He and his mentor Cato return to the Roman Senate to get them to declare war when the map disappears. Gaius must chase the Carthaginian Princess Tanit across the Mediterranean and meet all sorts of unexpected hardships.

Will he make it in time, or will Princess Tanit and her relatives gain the upper hand against them? Find out in Carthage Must Be Destroyed by Dora Benley.

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Caesar’s Lost Legions First Of Several Roman Novels:

Caesar’s Lost Legions is the first of several new Roman historical thrillers by Dora Benley. There will also be Pliny: A Thriller, and Carthage Must Be Destroyed.

Caesar Augustus has sent Caelius Antonius to the Roman province of Germania in 9 AD to draw a map of wonders that will lead the legions to a promised land as far East as the River Elbe. There are reports of a a sea port that would serve as a highway to lands as yet unnamed.

Augustus ward, Arminius, a model German turned Roman, has volunteered to lead the legions of Varus there. Caelius awakens one night to find a symbol of Thor’s hammer engraved in the tree bark outside his tent. He senses a spy from some disaffected tribe watching him. He reports the spy to Varus who defers to Arminius. Arminius says that all the Germans are of course watching, delighted that the Romans have come to civilize their benighted country.

Evidence builds of a conspiracy. Caelius reports it to Augustus back in Rome personally. But Augustus refuses to listen. Arminius was his ward who had lived in his house in Rome, and Caesar had never had a son of his own. Arminius was his blind spot. As a warning to Caelius, Caelius’s wife is kidnapped. No matter what Caelius must defend his maps to the death. They hold the key to Rome’s future. He hopes that neither he nor his wife must die to realize it.

Join Edward’s long ago ancestor, Caelius, in his adventures on the far frontiers of the Roman Empire in Germany. They echo the adventures his latter day descendant, Edward Ware, will someday face in his own map plots against the latter-day Germans.

Leave a reply

Carthage Must Be Destroyed

In Carthage Must Be Destroyed Gaius Antonius is inspired by the leading senator and statesman, Marcus Porcius Cato. He turns his talent for drawing into a map making expedition to Carthage where he manages to ferret out a naval vessel as evidence that the Carthaginians are starting to rebuild their fleet in the aftermath of the Second Punic War. They have finished with the reparations that Rome imposed on them, and now have money to spare.

He and his mentor Cato return to the Roman Senate to get them to declare war when the map disappears. Gaius must chase the Carthaginian Princess Tanit across the Mediterranean and meet all sorts of unexpected hardships.

Will he make it in time, or will Princess Tanit and her relatives gain the upper hand against them? Find out in Carthage Must Be Destroyed by Dora Benley.

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Cato Looms Like A Giant Over The Novel:

Cato the Elder was Roman who almost singlehandledly commanded the Third Punic War. He brought it about with his perpetual speeches “Carthage must be destroyed” in the Roman Senate House and showing off crops and goods that supposedly came from that city along the coast of North Africa to warn the Romans how close by it was located.

He owned a vast latifundia in the countryside outside Rome. He experimented with various crops such as grapes, olives, and livestock and wrote a Latin prose work On Farming, influencing Latin literature. He also wrote Latin prose works that have not survived such as the first history of Rome that we know about called Origines. He also composed an encyclopedia and a book of maxims, neither of which survive except in fragments. He might have been a Pliny the Elder two centuries earlier in Roman history.

He is certainly the one historical character whose personality looms largest over the Dora Benley historical thriller Carthage Must Be Destroyed. It will soon be published by Cheops Books LLC.

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Carthage Must Be Destroyed Book Cover:

Carthage Must Be Destroyed is the latest in a series of historical thriller novels by Dora Benley about the long ago ancestors of Colonel Sir Edward Ware, or General Lord Edward Ware, of the Edward Ware Thrillers at War Series about World War 1 and World War 2. Colonel Ware lives outside Salisbury, England, of recent notoriety with the Russian chemical attacks. He lives at his estate called Ware Hall which has been inhabited by his family since Roman times when his ancestor Lucius Antonius fled to Britain after Julius Caesar was assassinated.

Cato the Elder ended every speech in the Roman Senate with the words, “Carthage must be destroyed.” He was a survivor of the Second Punic War fifty years before. Hannibal won the Battle of Cannae and almost marched on Rome itself. He reminded the Romans that Carthage had finished paying its reparations and was now refurbishing its navy. It could sail against them again just as Hannibal himself had crossed the Alps a generation before.

The son of another senator, Gaius Antonius, is picked by Cato to follow him to Carthage to assess the situation. Gaius Antonius sketches the harbor. His eyes light on a ship that is being built. It looks like the finest of its fleet.

When Cato orders the Carthaginians to send one hundred hostages picked from the youth of the noble families of Carthage to Rome to be kept at his latifundia estate, the Princess Tanit arrives. She tries to charm everyone —- for awhile. But soon she and the sketches and maps that Gaius Antonius drew suddenly disappear along with all the hostages.

This sets off a multi-nation chase to get the drawings and maps back again. Cato wants to show the drawing of the fine naval vessel and the threats it represents to the Roman Senate. They are on the verge of declaring war, and Cato and Gaius Antonius want to push them over the edge. Will they make it in time, or will the Carthaginians gain an advantage? Will Princess Tanit and her cohorts escape, or will they get their just deserts?

Find out. Read Carthage Must Be Destroyed coming soon from Cheops Books LLC. This is a sketch of the cover drawn by artist Daniel Teran.

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Cannae Rises Like A Specter At Midnight:

Cato had planned the banquet for the senators well. His own grape vintage flowed copiously. The servants poured into the banquet hall serving game fowl and pork roast along with a selection of shellfish for an appetizer.

Late into the night the wine flowed and course after course was served as Cato passed around the drawing that Gaius Antonius had made that memorable day in Carthage standing by Cato’s side. Each poured over it and nodded, and Gaius’s own father, one of the senators, held up his head proudly that his son had such an important part in today’s meeting. Even more important than making the drawing in the beginning, Gaius had just risked his life getting the stolen document back from the Carthaginians once more.

Lavinia, seated as the one of the only women at the large banquet by Gaius’s side (a few other senators’ wives had also tagged along to the big event) , she spent the whole time gazing at him with adoration in her eyes. Occasionally she squeezed his hand under the table when one of the senators complimented him on the details in his amazing drawing that had turned out to be so decisive in deciding the course of action for Rome.

“Amazing that one so young would have such an eagle’s eye!” one senator shook his head.

“Thank the gods that Cato chose him to accompany the expedition. If he had not come, we would not have all the details we need about the Carthaginian army and navy on the move,” remarked another.

“And all their diabolical plans!” shouted still another.

Five others nodded grimly.

The map never ceased to circulate as afternoon waxed into evening. Cato hardly had to direct or encourage them. They all had grandfathers who had fought in the Second Punic War against the worst enemy Rome had ever faced, Hannibal, son of the ruler of Carthage. He had invaded Italy with a fabulous, legendary host of wild African elephants that he had made part of his infamous cavalry.

“My grandfather always told me that a man who fights with elephants, jungle animals, is not civilized and cannot be trusted,” one senator lamented.

“Not only the general cannot be trusted,” quipped Cato, “the whole city state, the whole Phoenician people, the whole civilization cannot be trusted. They are foul from beginning to end, the troops of some Goddess of the Moon and Goddess of the Underworld that they follow who demands obscene child sacrifice practices. It is said that outside their city is one of the largest graveyards you have ever seen or could ever imagined filled with the bones of the children of Carthage.”

He passed around an artifact he had brought back from Carthage. It was an embodiment of Tanit, the savage Moon Goddess, the wife of the chief god, Baal Hammon, whom the Princess Tanit they had both met had been named after. The Romans shuddered at the visage of such an un-Olympian deity without any grace, beauty, or noble purpose.

These gods and goddesses were crude indeed. Cato passed around the statue of another and another that he had obtained at Carthage. One looked like a sphinx. Others were mere beasts without the noble human form. He was trying to enrage the senators about the Carthaginians, and he was succeeding.

“My grandfather died at the Battle of Cannae in southern Italy,” one senator asserted. “My family commemorates the day and the hour to this day. We always present food to the dead as well as gifts. We sit there near his urn and talk to his bones about the battle. It is a noble act, an important sacrifice, so that we can sit here today and eat this banquet and that our homes are not destroyed and burned by the barbarian army.”

“Here! Here!” the senators cheered.

Each broke into a story about his own relative who had taken part in the worst defeat Rome had ever known in its history since it was founded in 753 B.C. by Romulus and Remus, six hundred years before the present date of 149 B.C. That was the Battle of Cannae.

“My grandfather was part of the front line of the infantry. They kept on advancing and advancing into the field as they always did. Suddenly there were Carthaginians on every side wearing those savage masks and looking like a legion of the dead attacking them. They were cut down on every side without a chance of escape. My grandfather was wounded, and he thought he was dead. He only survived because he somehow managed to escape from the field of the dead at Cannae while the Carthaginian soldiers were cutting down the last of the surviving Romans some distance away.”

Others talked of how the soldiers surrounding their grandfathers huddled together and waited for the end. When the end proved too much of a strain for their nerves, they decided not to wait to be hacked apart. They dug their own graves in the middle of the field and buried themselves first.

Late at night Cato finally held up his hands. “We Romans here today in the year 149 B.C. all are the successors of those who fought in that horrible war and that terrible Battle of Cannae which we finally managed to win. The last thing our ancestors would have wanted us to do would be to succumb to the savage horde once again. Now that we have them down we ought to keep them down forever and not let them rise again.” Cato spoke as he rose from his seat. “As I have said time and time again, for our own good, for the good of our city state, for the good of our future generations, for the good of Italy herself, Carthago delenda est, Carthage must be destroyed.”

The senators all rose to their feet cheering. The next day they all returned to Rome. They marched into the Senate House. Cato rose and made a speech just as everybody expected. “The Carthaginians are the Phoenicians, and as such they are wedded to the sea. The Phoenician seafaring traditions are what have caused us all this trouble over the years since Hannibal took ship and came to Italy through Spain and over the Alps from Gaul to fight at Cannae.”

They all nodded in assent as Cato continued.

“So we will give the Carthaginians their last chance to redeem themselves. They have sent hostages who then escaped stealing our maps. They sent weapons here which they probably pillaged from somebody else. Now let them agree to leave their city state forever, Carthage by the sea, and move inland at least ten miles or so and build another city there. We will sail to Africa and demolish Carthage. The Carthaginians will never be a seafaring folk again.”

Cato’s proposal was met with great applause that lasted many minutes before he could raise his hands for silence and speak again. “It will be Carthage’s fault if there is another war. They will have asked for it by building naval ships that they were not allowed to build according to our treaty and then refusing to move inland to avoid future conflicts.”

Cato’s assertion met with such acclamation and applause that it in effect ended the Senate session. It lasted over an hour and did not stop once. Rome had finally made up its mind for good.

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Gaius Plans A Trip To Carthago Nova:

Gaius rode back to the Senate House in the Forum after his vain attempt to follow the escaping Carthaginian hostages who had revealed what they were up to in Carthago Nova. He had followed them to the edge of town where they seemed to disperse. Cato had been camped at the Senate House for hours. He had his slaves bring him dinner there along with dinner for all the other Senators.

Cato wore a perpetual frown. Gaius Antonius braced himself as he approached. He hated to deliver the bad news. Cato was already on the warpath. This news about the Carthaginians would push him over the edge. But Gaius could not hesitate. It was his duty. He could not allow the situation to delay his departure to Spain.

“Cato, I need to speak to you in private,” Gaius said in a low tone.

“What could possibly have gone wrong now?” Cato asked as they disappeared into a side chamber in the Senate House. He could feel the tense eyes of the other senators following them.

“Cato, it was all a subterfuge of the hostages. Tanit was behind it. She stole the map as I slept and substituted the version her fellow hostage had drawn in place of it.”

Cato listened carefully. “And what is the difference between the real drawings and the fake ones?”

“The ships. They were hiding the new fleet they have been building behind our backs,” he revealed.

Cato’s eyebrows shot up. “I knew it! The bastards want us to support them while they become battle-ready so they can defeat us in the end.”

““They obviously did not want us to find out. I captured something on my maps that no one was supposed to see. It was out in the open only through some carelessness on their part,” Gaius said.

“We will have to declare war right away!” Cato’s face darkened.

“Not so fast!” Gaius said the words he could not imagine saying to his mentor. No one mortal could restrain the tongue of the Roman Senate House.

Cato stared at him.

“Tanit has the maps that I drew. They are so valuable now that they are transporting them to New Carthage in Spain,” he explained.

“Where are they hiding the maps in New Carthage?” Cato asked the obvious question.

Gaius had to shrug. “I could not hear what they were saying. That is why I am now on my way to Spain to find out.”

Cato clapped him on the shoulder. “I always knew you were a lad of remarkable abilities.”

Cato told him how he would keep matters going here back in Rome, not letting anyone suspect what was going on. He would make more demands of the Carthaginians instead of declaring war right away. That should allow Gaius a couple months to make his trip and return to Rome with the news.

Gaius followed Cato out onto the Senate floor. He was in rare form. He demanded not only that the Carthaginians send all their weapons to Rome, but that they pay reparations again even though they had been doing so for fifty years and had just finished paying the previously imposed penalty.

Cato confided in Gaius Antonius that if the Carthaginians agreed, next he would push the Carthaginians to the wall. He would demand that they vacate their city state and go inland away from the sea. Rome would threaten to demolish the old city except for the grave yards. He smirked. What would the Carthaginians do then? Would they stoop so low to avoid the Roman ax? Or would they hurry to refurbish their fleet even faster?

“They won’t be suspicious about what you are doing,” Cato assured Gaius. “I will keep them so busy they won’t have time to even think to send spies to Carthago Nova.”

After that session of the Senate which extended to midnight with torches flaring and burning in the streets of the Forum as the Roman citizens gathered near, the next day Cato, Lavinia, and Gaius Antonius took off in secret for Ostia.

Cato briefed Gaius on the network of messengers he would create. He would send them to Cartegena, or New Carthage, to meet with Gaius every couple weeks. Gaius would stay in the main quarter by the harbor and see if he could pick up a trace of those maps from citizens in the street.

Cato supplied him with several bags of money even now to take with him for bribes. He would be willing to send a Roman military escort, but that might be too visible and would attract rumors and attention. That sort of thing would get back to the Carthaginians unfortunately.

“I will pray to the gods for your safety every day!” Lavinia said as she stood on the docks beside him.

Gaius embraced Lavinia. He did not know how that witch, Tanit, had ever attracted him with her wayward practices and ways. She had been trying to deceive him all along just to make off with his all too valuable maps. Now it was worth his life —- and perhaps Rome’s too —- to find those very maps again.

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