Category : Historical

The Spirit of Grace by Terry Lynn Thomas

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The Spirit of Grace is the first book of the Sarah Bennett Mysteries series by Terry Lynn Thomas.

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Sarah Bennett doesn’t remember the night her mother tumbled down the stairs at Bennett House, despite allegedly witnessing the fatal fall. There was talk of foul play, dark whispers, and sidelong glances, all aimed at Sarah, prompting her family to send her to The Laurels, an exclusive asylum in San Francisco, under a cloud of suspicion. Now, on the one-year anniversary of her mother’s murder, Sarah has been summoned home. Convinced of her innocence, she returns to Bennett House, hoping to put the broken pieces of her life back together. But when another murder occurs shortly after her arrival, Sarah once again finds herself a suspect, as she is drawn into a web of suspicion and lies.

In order to clear her name, Sarah must remember what happened the fateful night her mother died. But as she works to regain her memory, the real murderer watches, ready to kill again to protect a dark family secret.




A Word from the Author

Author Terry Lynn Thomas pictureSan Francisco, California, October 1942: Sarah Bennett has always been strange. Sarah also has a secret. She hears and sees things that others don’t. Much of her life is spent hiding this from her family. When Sarah’s mother, Jessica, tumbles down the stairs at Bennett House, Sarah is discovered incoherent and cradling her mother in her arms. Soon the townspeople and Sarah’s family become suspicious of Sarah. Did she push her mother to her death? In an attempt to stave off a police investigation and to care for Sarah before she breaks down completely, her family sends her to an exclusive asylum in San Francisco for a rest cure.

Now, on the one-year anniversary Sarah is summoned home by her father, who hopes to reconstruct the night his wife fell to her death in order to discover what really happened and put the matter to rest once and for all.

But things have changed while Sarah has been away. American is at war now, and people say that Bennett Cove, a small coastal town just north of San Francisco, is a hot bed of spy activity. Sarah’s father–Jack Bennett, the famous mystery writer–has married a much younger woman, who is trying to run the house like a tight ship. Jack has also hired a personal assistant, Zeke, who has secrets of his own. Soon another suspicious death occurs. When Sarah is branded a suspect in this murder, she sets out to find the truth, while the real murderer watches, ready to do anything to protect a dark family secret.

(Terry Lynn Thomas, August 2016)

 

 

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Caesar and Cato: The Road to Empire by Brian Igoe

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Caesar and Cato: The Road to Empire is the first book of The Empire historical series by Brian Igoe.

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This is the first book in The Empire series, books about various unusual Roman Emperors. The second book, Augustus, will be out later this year.
This one is a story, a true story which I always think are the best of stories. A Story of Ancient Rome. An Adventure Story, perhaps?
It is a story of two protagonists, Julius Caesar and Marcus Cato. They represented two opposing philosophies, both dedicated to the same end, the recovery of the health of the Roman Republic which was in their day unwell. Both men were fighters, Caesar on the battlefield where he was arguably the greatest tactician ever and certainly of his times, and plucked many a victory from the jaws of defeat. Cato fought in the Senate. There he opposed Caesar and everything he stood for. It wouldn’t have needed much, a different decision by Caesar on crossing the Rubicon for example, to have made Cato pre-eminent in history and Caesar just a byword. These are their ‘memoirs’. A sample chapter can be read on my website at http://www.caesarcato.org/extract1.html.

The book takes the form of alternating chapters written by each of the two protagonists. The action covers a wide geographical range, from North Africa in the south to England in the north, from the Atlantic Ocean in the west to Greece in the east.




A Word from the Author

Author Brian Igoe pictureI would love to have been an historian, but in fact I read law. That subject, apart from giving me tools to earn a living, had a side effect. My main interest was in Roman Dutch Law, the legal system in place in South Africa and what was in those days called Rhodesia but is now Zimbabwe. That was where my life’s work would be. For me the progression from Roman Dutch Law to Roman history was inevitable, given my love of stories from all our yesterdays dating back to my childhood. I had always been fascinated by Julius Caesar, not least because I had to read his treatises on his Gallic wars in Latin at school; and so a year or so ago, having devoured the books about those times by famous authors like Tom Holland, Colleen McCullough, Conn Iggulden and others, the part in the dramas of the last years of the Roman Republic played by Marcus Cato, usually taken as insignificant bit parts, gnawed away in the back of my head until I decided to spend some serious time in researching not Julius Caesar so much, but Cato. Joseph Addison’s “Cato: A Tragedy” was famous, but it was published over two hundred years ago, and the name has been little known since.
The problem facing anyone wanting to know about people who lived in that last century before the Christian era is the dearth of contemporary source material. The most quoted and in my view the most reliable source for the characters in my book is Plutarch, although Cicero and his secretary Marcus Tullius Tiro must come a close second for the detail, Cicero for his letters which were voluminous and Tiro for his Shorthand Minutes written with a system he invented, notae Tironianae (“Tironian notes”), generally acknowledged to be the first ever such system and using which he took verbatim notes of some of the Senate meetings most relevant to our story. Having read as much as I could, I came to the conclusion that Cato’s contribution to the drama surrounding the end of the Roman Republic and the conception of the Roman Empire was rather more significant than of a bit part player. Indeed, it would only have needed a minor decision made differently, for example had Caesar made a different decision about crossing the Rubicon, for Cato to have been history’s hero and Caesar the bit part player.
Cato was a Senator of enormous stamina, using which he would when he felt the occasion warranted it, talk and talk and talk until the Session was closed – meeting times were strictly defined in the Roman Senate. That meant that the proposal before the house, to which Cato objected, failed to pass. That is I think the first ever use of what we know as the filibuster. Caesar was a soldier, and arguably the most successful and innovative general ever, continually snatching victory from the jaws of defeat. Although Rome was replete with soldiers. But I’m not going to tell you that story here because it would spoil the book!
(Brian Igoe, July 2016)

 

 

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