In the greatest, foulest city in the world, love, mayhem and betrayal find the slave, Alexandros. Given as a gift in 86 BCE to the richest man in Rome, he soon discovers that intrigue and murder stalk the house of his master. Alexandros can solve the crime, but if he does, the worst punishment may prove to be his own.
"Readers of Steven Saylor or John Maddox Roberts, accustomed to paying $25 for their latest in hardcover, can download The Bow of Heaven, as good as anything either one ever wrote, for $3 in about ten seconds. Enthusiastically recommended." - Historical Novel Society
Alexandros is astute, well-educated and brimming with caustic wit, but he can't seem to remember the golden rule of slavery: keep your head down and your mouth shut. No wonder more than one person in the house of Marcus Crassus wants to see this former Greek philosophy student dead.
Through accident and intervention, Alexandros manages to survive, but is he willing to take the proffered hand of the one ally he wants desperately to despise - his owner? Every boon and advancement accepted from Crassus is an acknowledgment that his former life is gone. Yet how can he resist? Crassus is a good man, for a Roman.
At last, Alexandros realizes that accepting his condition is the only way to recoup the little freedom left him. He willingly opens his eyes to his new life ... and immediately falls in love with Livia, a fellow servant he's never allowed himself to see. But romance for a slave is a fragile thing, especially when tragedy befalls the Crassus household in the person of Gaius Julius Caesar and his insatiable ambition.
Alexandros has won the ear of Crassus, but can a slave keep a master of Rome from making a choice which will topple the foundations of an empire?
A Mixture of Madness, Book II of The Bow of Heaven is now available.
" ...an awesome story about adoption, a story that is so needed for children of any age. This book is great even for someone who is not adopted because it helps one understand the feeling of the adopted person. ...a book well worth your time and money." Reviewed by Joy H for Readers Favorite.
Read an Excerpt
Prolog: 20 BCE - Summer, Siphnos, Greece
Year of the consulship of Marcus Appuleius and Publius Silius Nerva
The boy comes bearing honeyed tea onto the blue tiled terrace with its too-white stuccoed walls. I shan’t call him ‘boy’ to his face, though, or risk forfeiting my foot massage. Say what he will, his scars are almost thirty years younger than mine. Though his were earned in battle and mine are of a different nature entirely, to me Melyaket will always be “boy.” Now he waits patiently for me to set down the stilus. I have long stopped trying to convince him that it is I who should serve him, for I know he will but smile thinly and ignore me as always. So be it. I am ancient and frail and the tea is hot and aromatic. Of course there is also the matter of my feet.
Enough of the Parthian bowman; how he and I came to this island sanctuary is a tale for another telling. This recounting does not belong to Melyaket, nor would I presume to lay claim to it for myself. This is my lord’s story, and I pray the gods grant me strength and time to tell it. My master is long dead; few mourned his passing; fewer still recall his name with kindness. More than thirty years have passed since his ignoble death in the dirt at the feet of his enemies. The memory of that heat-drenched day, encrusted with grime and blood and clouded by the dusty haze of battle yet returns to me with glittering clarity. His mocking Parthian captors, their barbarism and bloodlust palpable as they towered over him, pricked him with their taunts and jeers, swords poised to pierce his unarmored heart. Yet when the moment came, they were robbed of the release the mortal blow would have granted both murderers and murdered. For it was Melyaket who slew my lord.
There is much to tell. Nicias has sent men to scour the town for ink, reeds and parchment. I am anxious for their return, for these tablets are all but useless for my intention. It would take a forest of their frames to fill my need. I shall use them for my notes and musings. Now they sit before me, prepared with freshly melted wax, piled so high on my writing table that unless I rise from this cushioned chair, a feat for which I find I lack both the strength and the inclination, the splendor of the sea below, bronzed and burnished by the setting sun, can only wink at me between the cracks. I pull a simple string necklace from around my throat and find the single scallop shell that adorns it. With my thumb I absentmindedly rub its inside surface, grown glossy with age and use, admitting a rising tide of memory.
News has reached us from Rome: the standards of my master’s legions, pried from the twisted fingers of their fallen bearers and flaunted under the shamed chin of Rome for each day of their captivity have finally been ransomed, by no less a negotiator than Caesar Augustus himself. For thirty-five years they were held hostage behind the throne at Ctesiphon, the Parthian capital, a mockery of the invincibility of Rome. Though my body wrinkles and shrivels like a Persian peach forgotten in the desert sun, the memory of the day they were lost remains as ripe and raw as a newly drawn knife cut.
To the cruel and superstitious Roman, whether soldier or senator, these are more than poles covered in hide and metal, wood and bone. They are the very essence of Rome, imbued by the gods themselves with the divine mystery of its dominance and superiority. But to me they have always been absent and ironic reminders both of liberty and of loss. I care not, after all these years, that these eagle-festooned sticks have been returned to the bosom of Rome, a poisonous breast where I shall be pleased never to rest my head again.
Tulio writes that the return of the standards has caused such riotous celebration in the streets it is as though Parthia itself had been vanquished. The rabble’s ignorance is as supple and resilient as its memory is arthritic. And what of the nobles who cling with a slippery and tenuous grasp to the tether that holds the mob in check? They must remain blameless, their pristine togas unblemished by any crimson reminders of our misadventure.
Genre: Historical Fiction• Length: 369 Pages
Release Date: September 9, 2011
• ISBN: 0983910138
Trailer produced by Castelane Inc.
About the Author
Andrew Levkoff studied English literature at Stanford University. He lives with his wife and daughter in Phoenix, Arizona. Since its publication in the fall of 2011, The Other Alexander, the award-winning first volume in The Bow of Heaven series has been read by lovers of Roman historical fiction, and by those who have simply been captivated by the story and characters, throughout the English-speaking world. “There had better be something in every paragraph,” Mr. Levkoff says of the writing process, “even every sentence if you can manage it, that engages the reader with a character, idea or story that makes her reach for the next page.”
Book two in the series, A Mixture of Madness, is also available at Amazon.com. The third book in the trilogy, with a working title of The Archer and the Arrow culminates in the final confrontation between the armies of Rome and Parthia, where the destinies of slaves, soldiers and empires will be decided. It is scheduled to be released at the end of 2014.
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