Dark Series Belongs To A Vanished Era:

Cheops Books LLC has been publishing and republishing books from a vanished era, a vanished genre, of books this autumn, the Dark Series. It is hardly like resurrecting Pompeii as Cheops Books LLC will do when it published Pliny: A Novel. But still Dark 1 and Dark 2 were written as a two-volume series of books in the Scholastic UK Point Horror Series and were first published some years ago. The Point Horror Series no longer exists and his been replaced by all sorts of fantasy derivatives instead and the perpetually popular romance derivatives.

But some people like to collect old books the way they collect old wines. Their flavor deepens over time. Just as somebody might collect and watch old Hitchcock movies which are certainly no longer produced anymore, he might want to settle down with a Point Horror novel and remember the way things used to be when readers relished an honest scare or sudden fright falling out of a well-placed closet.

In just a few more days Cheops Books will publish Dark: A Trilogy collecting all three books in the Dark Series in one place. In the same line of books Cheops Books has already published The Surfer and Pool Party, Point Horror USA titles, by Linda Cargill.

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The German Question In Literature:

You may have hit upon a very central conflict in European history. Germany was not largely occupied by the Romans and from the time of the Romans you have the “German question”. The Romans wrote about it themselves. There is a lost work by Pliny the Elder, the author of the Natural History, probably called the Germania, and I make much of this in one of my novels. His nephew, Pliny the Younger, wrote about the subject, too. And Pliny the Younger’s friend, Tacitus, wrote the only surviving work on the subject entitled the Germania for sure. Tacitus’s work was the subject of the fascinating audio book I listened to on the subject at the beginning of last year.

Tacitus’s Germania has been a subject of discussion for the past two thousand years. It is the earliest work we have on the habits and customs of the early pagan Germans which emphasizes their warlike qualities and the “German question”. The Romans themselves were scared of them. No wonder! During the ugly Battle of the Teutoburg Forest Roman legionaries were captured in wooden cages and burned alive in the forest, sacrificed to pagan gods.

Richard Wagner during the 19th century made much of this ancient and medieval heritage in his operas. Heinrich Himmler was later to try to seize upon this material as the “origin” of what he called the Nazi identity.

I have looked up various works on Roman Britain on Amazon and curiously enough the British archaeologists have all noted that the British attitude about Rome differs from the attitude of France and Germany, and this influences their attitude about the “German question”. In France they celebrate Vercingetorix from Caesar’s Gallic Wars. He is supposed to be a national hero in France. In Germany they celebrate Herman the German, or Arminius. In Britain they celebrate the Romans. As many have noted, Britain seems to take on the identity of Rome itself. It all comes from the days of the British Empire and Imperial Britain. Nobody else on the Continent has anything like this and so recently, too! They look dubiously upon rebels against Rome such as Vercingetorix and Arminius.

It has also been said that the British have a better attitude about preserving ruins than they do in Italy. So the Roman ruins in Britain are better preserved than their Italian counterparts. You can get a better feel for the Roman world there including all those villas and mosaic floors that are much talked about.

Cheops Books LLC has two upcoming works about the “German question”. The concern Roman Britain and the ancient Germans battling the Romans: Pliny: A Novel and Caesar’s Legions, both works in the Edward Ware Thrillers at War Series.

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Did Pliny’s House Look Like The Getty?

Pliny the Elder obviously lived in what we would call a Governor’s House in Roman Trier. What did such a place look like? None of the original Roman villas survives to this day intact, not in Trier, not in Italy, and not in Great Britain. In such places you don’t usually have more than a few standing columns or perhaps a floor full of mosaics to give you a clue of its former grandeur.

Probably the best example of such a villa nowadays exists in a place that Romans never visited and Romans never dreamed about. Such a villa has been painstakingly reconstructed on the California coast, land of dreams and elaborate reconstructions such as Disneyland and Hollywood.

It is no mere fantasy. In fact, it is an elaborate reconstruction of the villa of Calpurnius Piso, the father-in-law of Julius Caesar and father of Caesar’s last wife, Calpurnia, the one with the dreams and nightmares in Shakespeare’s play. It would be very similar to anything that Pliny would have owned. Both men were intellectuals of their day. Calpurnius Piso was a Stoic philosopher. Pliny the Elder was the author of the Natural History, the first of all encyclopedias in the western tradition.

This California villa was reconstructed by John Paul Getty, the billionaire who had a hobby of collecting Greek and Roman antiquities on a large scale. He wanted to build a place to house them. The Getty Villa opened in 1974. The Los Angeles Times interviewed John Paul Getty. Getty said: “It is fortunate that the United States has one ancient private building which is authentic in spirit. One could say go to Pompeii and Herculaneum and see Roman villas the way they are now — then go to Malibu and see the way they were in ancient times.”

Pliny also owned a villa on the seacoast along the Bay of Naples, so this comparision seems appropriate. It is inspirational to think that Pliny strolled through his peristylium and viewed the classical sculptures you find at the Getty.

Pliny the Elder is a character in two upcoming volumes of the Edward Ware Thriller Series: Old Faithful Plot and Pliny: A Novel.

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Pliny: A Novel Has A New Cover:

In Pliny: A Novel the grandson of the hero of Augustus: A Novel, Caius Antonius — who is also an ancestor of the hero of the Edward Ware Thriller Series, Colonel Sir Edward Ware — is working for Pliny the Elder in 79AD. Pliny is the Roman governor of Germany and is residing in Trier on the Moselle River. Suddenly a German warrior attacks the governor’s residence and throws a warning into his reflecting pond. It is payback time for the Romans. The Germans want revenge.

The Germans kicked the Romans out of their province in 9AD in the Battle of the Teutoburg Forest. But Germanicus returned five years later to make the Germans pay. What will happen next? That is up to Caius to discover, or the German warriors may push Pliny and the Romans out of Germany all together. This time they may even follow them all the way back to Italy in Pliny: A Novel, part 2 of Augustus: A Novel, coming soon from Cheops Books, LLC. It is the latest book in the Edward Ware Thriller Series.

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