To Forestall the Darkness: A Novel of Ancient Rome, AD 589
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AD 589. In the Sixth Century Italy had been depopulated by plague and laid waste by decades of war. Industry, agriculture, commerce and city life had all stopped. Into this desolation the Germanic Lombards had come marching in, meeting no resistance. Decades later, with things unimproved, a new King appoints Titus Tribonius as his Chief Jurist for Roman Matters.
Titus, an upright man but more pagan than Christian, seeks to protect the native Romans from the brutality of their overlords. He has little success because the King had given him the responsibility for them but not the authority to act unilaterally.
It’s a difficult time for Titus. His wife’s excessive piety shields her from his embrace. The Romans despise him for being in cahoots with the Lombards and he can’t insult the King by resigning his office.
A friend’s public castration on the cathedral steps compels him to act. But how? Armed rebellion would be foolhardy and only increase the people’s agony. He lands on a course and pursues it. After some success, his idealism rashly prompts him to free his four hundred slaves. The Lombards see this as an attempt to undermine the very foundations of their State. Charges are brought against him.
In this novel, Vann Turner bears witness to the dreams we cherish, the difficulties we face and the courage we must summon when society threatens what we hold dear.