Another Milestone

First Draft…

I pressed the SEND button for my first draft of this book to get it on its way to my reviewers. This is always a good feeling. While it will be at least a year before you can buy a copy, the hardest part of the book is finished. A historical novel takes a lot of research in order to set up a realistic setting. For instance, here are some simple questions that I battled with.

  1. How many people lived in Nicomedia, the city where this book takes place? Apparently, the city had as many as eight bishoprics. But how many Christians does that translate into?
  2. What was “home” like for Mark and Lydia? Where would they have lived and what was it like? I discovered that running water was the norm at this time in a Roman city.
  3. Soon after I started writing, Mark’s mother was cooking supper. And I realized I had no idea what this entailed. A fireplace? I finally decided on a barbecue like charcoal stove as the most likely.
  4. Since I was including the emperor’s point of view, I had to make sure that I got the history right. But what is right when major historians disagree on the timing of major events like the battle of Margus River? And when did Diocletian die? I had several possibilities to choose from. So I chose 311, knowing that probably I’ll get a letter from someone stating that the proper date was 313.
  5. Lactantius, one of the Early Church Fathers was an eyewitness contemporary of some of the events in this book. But big name historians like Gibbon brush him aside as biased in his coverage. Gibbon is sure that his documentation is seriously exaggerated. Surely no one could believe that this many people died. My sympathies (and those of some later historians) are with Lactantius, but I finally stuck with the figure of 3,500 martyrs.
  6. And of course there were dozens of other details. What did Mark and Lydia wear? What was baptism like in this era? Did presbyters and bishops really take a vow of poverty? Did the church support members becoming soldiers? What was a normal service like?

I think you get the idea. If you want to know the answers, read the book when it comes out.

Projections…

I realize that projections can get you into trouble. But I’m hoping to get reviewing and fine tuning behind me and have the book to the publisher in 6 – 8 weeks. Then it goes through their review process while I bite my nails. Well I tend to do that anyway, but my writing style and methodology seems to be on the edge for this publisher. But I’ll dive right into Book Two of this series and let the editors and reviewers sort out what needs sorted out.

Suffice to say that I hope you can actually buy this book by the fall of 2020.

And a Sneak Preview…

So, Constantine, here we come! You might be surprised at my view of Constantine, but we’ll see. Those were heady days for the church and we’ll ride the roller coaster with Mark as he faces the everyday life of a bishop under Constantine. The Nicene council? He’s going, and they’re going to talk about more than just the substance of Christ. Can a Roman emperor be both emperor and Christian at the same time? Some of these questions still haunt us today and are surprisingly modern in focus.

Stay tuned!

Preview of …

“Kill us, torture us, condemn us, grind us to dust; your injustice is the proof that we are innocent.... The oftener we are mown down by you, the more in number we grow; the blood of Christians is seed.” (Tertullian, The Apology)


Book 1 – AD 284: Darkness

∗ Meet Diocletian, and Mark

 

Book 2 – AD 312: Chaos

∗ Meet Constantine, and Servus

 

Book 3 – AD 380: Division

∗ Meet Theodosius, and Cyrus

 


A lot changed from Diocletian to Theodosius. During this century, the church went from being persecuted, to being tolerated, to being favored, to persecuting others. 

All of these changes were bewildering to the ordinary people caught in the middle of the battle between Popes and Emperors on one side, and God on the other.


For a philosophical background of this project see here.
For a brief synopsis / overview of this project see here.

Jesus said: "I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it."