The Sacrifice Stone by author Elizabeth Harris

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This story was captivating!  From the beginning until the end I never put it down because it was so interesting.

This is a story of the past meeting the future and the story that brought the two eras together.  The story is divided into parts which offered a glimpse of the story as it was told by the characters whether past or present.  In 175 AD a young boy is the pawn for vengeance and a catalyst that will change how the future will remember them all.

Beth, Joe and Adam are three present day individuals whose lives are intertwined with the story of St. Theodore a young boy who legend says became a Christian martyr after being killed by a Roman soldier.  Joe is a student of theology and working on his thesis regarding early Christian martyrs especially regarding St. Theodore reputed to have been killed by a Roman soldier who cut his throat which lead to St. Theodore healing throat issues.  Beth is Joe’s sister.  Beth had always been treated as less important than Joe by their father.  Her dreams where always thwarted by her father’s archaic behavior of which Joe mimicked.  Beth agreed to travel to France with Joe to help him with his research.  It was in France that they met Adam who was working on a film documentary on the Romany Gypseys.

Beth begins to see shadows and images as well as sensing the presences of someone around her.  She soon learns that Adam isn’t there solely for the Gypsy research but for the images that a certain Roman soldier has plagued him with.  Determined to find the truth, the pair work together regarding the story of St. Theodore and his accused killer.

Sergius Cornelius Aurelius is a Roman soldier in the year 1756.  He has known the life of a soldier for most of his life.  When his personal life offers tragic loss, he becomes more of a loner.  When a chance encounter with a young boy accused of theft, Sergius saves the boy and takes him home.  Theodore and Sergius bond more as adopted son and father.   Threats from the past soon have Sergius defending his life and his religious beliefs but it becomes apparent too late that Theodore may also be in danger.  Sergius reaches across time and beyond death to protect himself and Theodore.

This historical story was filled with imagery of the Roman Empire and how their blood lust was the cause of so many innocents meeting their deaths in the arenas.  Christians were sought after as favored sport to the Lions while the Roman citizens cheered.  The author depicted this ruthlessness while remaining true historical views of the time period.

I was more enthralled with the parts of the story regarding Sergius and Theodore than the present day characters.  The author did a fantastic job of blending the two time periods to create her story.

Elizabeth Harris seems to write her stories in this style of past and present working together to resolve a wrong from the past.

Amazon Link:   http://amzn.to/1TqJODk

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The Romanovs by author Virginia Crowles

Publication Date: July 13, 2015 Publisher: Endeavour Press 217 Pages

Publication Date:
July 13, 2015
Publisher:
Endeavour Press
217 Pages

I have always enjoyed history in school, college minor, and personal pursuits but I have never been exposed to the Romanov history as I was with this book.  My knowledge of the Romanovs was limited to perhaps a mentioning of Peter the Great, Alexander I, and even Rasputin but never to the depth I was afforded while reading Ms. Crowles, “The Romanovs”.

For a book of only 217 pages I am amazed at the fact that over 300 years of Romanov history was presented.  Beginning with the first Romanov and ending with the unfortunate demise of the entire family of Nicholas II.  Of course, I believe the purpose was to offer the highlights of each reigning Tsar with careful thought of not overwhelming the reader with confusing points and information which the author performed admirably.

The Romanovs were a family of mixed characteristics…intelligence to simple, weakness or strength, madness, cruelty, extravagance to minimalism. It appeared that cruelty was by far a prevalent trait.   The number of murders against their own family members was atrocious and brutal in form.  Court secrets, rebellion and intrigue lead to fear and lack of trust of nearly everyone including family.  Virginia Crowles explains how each of the Tsars impacted Russia, whether by advancement or decline.  Perhaps the most impact, in my opinion, was offered by Peter the Great and Alexander I.  I appreciated the fact that the women were not left out of Ms. Crowles presentation.  Not only were there women who ruled Russia directly, but where strong in character who stood beside their husbands and had a huge impact on decisions.  Another strong aspect that was raised by Virginia Crowles regarding the Romanov lifestyle was the numerous adulterous affairs by both husband and wife and the fact these affairs seemed to be endured and accepted without argument.

Virginia Crowles gives us a historical rendition of the Romanov family that is clearer understanding of these Russian rulers.  Her resources and footnotes were precise and helpful with regard to a few of her points.

I received this eBook from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.  I truly recommend this historical account for any history buff.  I was fascinated by all of the information Ms. Crowles provided.  I especially recommend this read with the current DNA tests that are being done regarding the bodies suspected of being Nicholas II children.  This would be great background to understanding the the importance of this situation.

Amazon Link:  http://amzn.to/25gRkJG