A Day of Fire
Barnes & Noble
Release Date: October 31, 2014
Pompeii was a lively resort flourishing in the shadow of Mount Vesuvius at the height of the Roman Empire. When Vesuvius erupted in an explosion of flame and ash, the entire town would be destroyed. Some of its citizens died in the chaos, some escaped the mountain’s wrath . . . and these are their stories:
A boy loses his innocence in Pompeii’s flourishing streets.
An heiress dreads her wedding day, not knowing it will be swallowed by fire.
An ex-legionary stakes his entire future on a gladiator bout destined never to be finished.
A crippled senator welcomes death, until a tomboy on horseback comes to his rescue.
A young mother faces an impossible choice for her unborn child as the ash falls.
A priestess and a whore seek redemption and resurrection as the town is buried.
Six authors bring to life overlapping stories of patricians and slaves, warriors and politicians, villains and heroes who cross each others’ path during Pompeii’s fiery end. But who will escape, and who will be buried for eternity?Add on Goodreads
“This truly is the finest book I have read this year, an emotional roller-coaster that educates while it entertains. Its impact will stay with me for quite some time.”
“Despite knowing what happens in Pompeii and to the majority of its citizens, A Day of Fire is a book full of suspense, fear, and unexpected bravery.”
“Each one of these authors deserves a huge amount of praise for putting this impressive piece of art together.”
PART FIVE: THE MOTHER
"Gross darkness came rolling over the land like a torrent…like a room when it is shut up and the lamp put out.”
—Pliny the Younger
MY birth pangs have started.
Slow, and not regular, but started all the same. The babe has yet to drop, but I suspect by tomorrow morning I’ll have a son.
How can it be that, after how long I have dreamed of becoming a mother, of meeting the little child inside my womb, I now want him to stay put?
I reach into the pouch at my side and pull out the vial I grabbed from our kitchen, a tincture to ease the pains. But it’s not the right one. I stare at the blue vial in my hand—the one that had looked clear in the dim light of the kitchen. Blue is not for pain. Blue is for something else. Blue is what our slaves used to kill the rats. I thrust the vial back into the pouch, disappointed that I have nothing to ease the pain, and no use for poison.
I lean against a smooth, marble column in the east portico gazing into our once-grand, two-story-high peristyle. The red clay tiles of the roof covering the walkway around the inner courtyard have ash slipping through their grooves, white dust sprinkling down. Where fig, cherry, and pear trees bloomed and tangy lemon trees used to scent the air. A short, five-foot ladder leans against the fig tree—figs are my favorite fruit, and in Pompeii they were the very best. One of our slaves put up the ladder just this morning in hopes of filling a basket of them for me. It’s hard to breath here. My lungs are tight, fighting against the air I try to draw in. What was once a place of tranquility is now blanketed in darkness and ash. The sky above is a reflection of a war with the gods. Is it possible that the end of the world is upon us?