A Bull for Pluto, the second book in Christopher D. Stanley’s A Slave’s Story trilogy, continues the story begun in Book One of the series, A Rooster for Asklepios.
Book One tells the story of Lucius Coelius Felix, an aging aristocrat in the Roman colony of Antioch-near-Pisidia in central Asia Minor (modern Turkey), and his trusted assistant, a slave named Marcus, as they encounter a series of unfortunate events that derail Lucius's plans for social advancement. A nagging abdominal ailment and an encouraging dream lead Lucius and Marcus to embark on a fateful journey to Pergamon in western Turkey to visit the sanctuary of Asklepios, the Greek god of healing, where Lucius expects to be cured.
Book Two follows the aftermath of this visit. Rather than returning home to his pregnant wife Selena, the dispirited Lucius announces his intention to visit the city of Hierapolis to bask in the healing waters of the city’s renowned hot springs. While there, Marcus meets a young woman named Miriam who challenges him to embrace the recently revealed secret of his family history rather than running from it as he is inclined to do. Marcus is torn between his budding love for Miriam and the potential cost of following her advice.
A tragic decision by Lucius seals their fate as their attention must now be devoted to preserving Lucius’s life. They reach Antioch in time to learn that Lucius’s son Gaius has miserably abused his father's household while Lucius was away. If Lucius should die, Marcus, Selena, and her unborn child will be at the mercy of this tyrant. To fend off this danger, Lucius must tell Marcus the painful truth about his past, a truth that will ensure Marcus's future at the cost of his master's honor. Can he bring himself to act before his inevitable end?
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WHO WILL LIKE THIS BOOK?
*Readers who enjoy complex stories about flawed characters, epic journeys, and characters who struggle with their identities and commitments, including their views of religion
*Readers who appreciate richly detailed and historically accurate accounts of daily life in the past
*Readers who want to know more about the social and religious world of early Judaism and Christianity (including Roman religion and anti-semitism); how Greeks and Romans dealt with sickness and healing (medicine, miracle, and magic); and what life was like at specific Roman archaeological sites in Turkey (Ephesus, Pergamum, Hierapolis, Antioch, etc.).
PRAISE FOR THE FIRST TWO VOLUMES
“This compelling and enjoyable story offers the reader a superb ‘insider’ view of life in the first-century Greco-Roman world. I enjoyed traipsing around Anatolia with Lucius and Marcus!”
-Dr. Terence Donaldson, Academic Dean and Professor of New Testament, Wycliffe College, Canada
“The realism of this story reflects the author's deep first-hand knowledge of the landscape and culture where the narrative takes place.”
-Dr. Mark Wilson, Director, Asia Minor Research Center, Antalya, Turkey
“This well-researched book really brings the Roman world to life!”
-Dr. Alanna Nobbs, Professor of Ancient History, Macquarie University, Australia
“The amount of research, imagination, and effort involved in crafting this story earned my admiration, and stirred my curiosity, too.”
-Dr. Mark Nanos, Lecturer, University of Kansas, USA
CHRISTOPHER D. STANLEY is a social and religious historian who studies and writes about early Christianity and the Greco-Roman world. He recently retired as a professor at St. Bonaventure University in western New York. He has written or edited six books and dozens of professional articles on early Christian texts and history and presents papers regularly at conferences around the world. The trilogy A Slave's Story, which grew out of his historical research on first-century Asia Minor, is his first work of fiction.