Those of you who read this blog regularly will know that my go-to genre is crime. However, I will not pass up a good book whatever the genre, so when novels by Alistair Forrest were recommended to me by several people, I had to find out what I was missing. I picked up Sea of Flames. Isn't that a great title?
Rome is at war, with itself.
The fragile peace between Octavius Caesar and Mark Antony has ended.
But Romans are not the only victims in the conflict. A Greek merchant, Lachares, is cruelly beheaded by a drunken Mark Antony in Ephesus, where his Eastern legions and Queen Cleopatra’s Egyptian forces are preparing for war.
Word reaches Lachares’ son, Eurycles, who governs a peaceful Greek trading post. He swears vengeance and pledges his loyalty to Caesar.
Tasked with extracting two defectors from Mark Antony’s camp, Eurycles and the crew of his ship Hera find themselves face-to-face with their enemy. But despite a burning desire to cut the famous general’s throat, the odds are against them so Eurycles must bide his time.
The conflict rages on. The armies assemble at Actium.
It’s the moment that Eurycles has been waiting for...
I have always enjoyed a love of history, travel and Shakespeare and the marvellous novel, Sea of Flames, engaged me on all three levels.
I have read all of Shakespeare's histories and was aware of the sea battle of Actium off the west coast of Greece where Mark Antony and Cleopatra, queen of Egypt were so decisively defeated by the Romans.
In my travels to Italy in general and the area around Rome in particular, I have walked the streets that the ancient Romans walked and imagined the sights and smells of the city then. When visiting Egypt, and cruising the Nile it is impossible not to feel close to the history of that great country and recall the idiosyncrasies of its most famous Queen.
Sea of Flames weaves a gripping story of brutal murder and ruthless revenge with a vivid account of the battle of Actium. The graphic account of the battle is beautifully written. I now plan to seek out more novels by this talented author and highly recommend Sea of Flames by Alistair Forrest to all who enjoy historical novels, excellent writing and good, old-fashioned lust for revenge.
It all began when my English teacher at school got all shirty with me in front of my classmates. He said my essay on Macbeth was too descriptive.
Dammit, I thought, I enjoyed writing that. Maybe there's more where that came from. Forget it, he said, do your course work. Go and be an accountant or something. But that didn't add up in my mind. Besides, I can't add up.
So I became a journalist. He became the respected Parliamentarian in England, Sir Patrick Cormack (now Lord Cormack) and I bashed away on an old Remington at the South Wales Echo, envying the creative genius of the guy on the next desk, a youngster by the name of Follett, Ken.
Sure, that was all a long time ago. I've been a cub reporter and a senior journalist, an editor and even a PR consultant. I've lived in Lebanon, Syria, the Gulf and Spain. And England, and Wales, and now the Channel Islands. Nomadic, moi?
That's given me a raft of memories and a heck of a lot of learning, so now I "bring history's treasures to life" or so my website says (www.alistairforrest.com).
And here's an interesting fact. Julius Caesar marched through my garden. No kidding, I lived in the very same valley in Spain where JC fought and won his last ever battle (Munda 45BCE). It's all in Libertas, my first novel. How do I know, I mean really know that the bane of Pompey was there? Why, I found an old Polaroid of him in full battle regalia while I was digging in the garden!