It is first-century Brittania as Christianity begins its rise in a pagan world. As a man and woman meet as enemies, they have only one thing in common: the Romans are dominating each of their respective homelands.
Benjamin is an Israelite whose wife was murdered by Roman soldiers while on the annual Passover journey. Although Benjamin is rich in material terms, he has lost the spiritual comfort he once sought through Judaism. Now as he attempts to escape Roman tyranny, he is searching for a purpose he hopes will restore his desire to continue living in a world gone mad. Boudica is also doing her best to emerge from the darkness surrounding her plight. Now that her husband has died, the Queen of the Iceni Celts in Britton is dedicated to freeing her people from Roman imperialism. When fate guides the two adversaries to meet, their undeniable connection propels them forward into adventures, battles, betrayal, and a transcendent love that eventually sets into motion a series of events that will reveal the reason for their existence. In this historical saga, a Jewish man and Celtic woman embark on a journey to find peace during a time of great upheaval as evil spreads, causing dire consequences for the Liberty of millions in generations that follow.
“…A completely engaging story both emotionally and intellectually …” —Tom Hyman, former magazine and book editor and author of six novels
Praise for the debut volume of The Everlasting Spring: Beyond Olympus
“The Everlasting Spring: Beyond Olympus—Book One, Benjamin and Boudica—strikes me as a winner with wide appeal. It’s a completely engaging story both emotionally and intellectually, and certainly a rousing one in terms of level of action. The principal characters are vivid and compelling creations that will stick in a reader’s mind for a long time; the supporting cast is also first-rate. The prose is consistently lively and evocative, and sometimes quite eloquent. The story’s theme—the rise of Christianity following Christ’s crucifixion in the twilight years of the Roman Empire—is powerfully articulated and presented. The plot is amazingly inventive and powerfully imagined. It is also solidly thought out and put together; the story arc is excellent, bringing the rising conflicts of the whole extraordinary adventure to a thunderous climax and resolution—and a very satisfying conclusion.”
Tom Hyman is a professional novelist of twenty-five years standing with six novels in print in over a dozen languages (Jupiter’s Daughter, Prussian Blue, Seven Days to Petrograd, Riches and Honor, The Russian Woman, and Giant Killer). Tom is also a former magazine and book editor. In his years of editorial experience at LIFE Magazine and the publishing houses of Atheneum, Doubleday, and G.P. Putnam’s, he has worked with the widest of talents, including a substantial number of best-selling authors, academics, historians and novelists.
Ben found himself in an awkward position, standing while looking down at her face-to-face, less than an arm's length apart. She seemed quite at ease, he was not. "My name is Benjamin, Queen Boudica. It isn't right for me to look down on you. May I sit?" "You may if you wish," she responded with a sensuous cat-like smile. "You speak our language in an amusing way. You're not a Celt, at least not from any of the bands we know." "That's true," Ben replied. "I'm from the land of Judea. It lies on the western extremity of a region the Romans con-quered and named Palestine." "Do they control it now?" "Yes. Completely. And it's happened before." "Others have done the same?" "Many times, by many people including Babylonians, Persians, Assyrians, the Macedonians of Greece, and now the Romans. Before all of that came to pass, my people abandoned the land to escape a terrible drought by going south to Egypt, where they were enslaved for many years by the Egyptians, then returned after a harrowing exodus." "Except for the Romans, I've never heard the names you give these people. What are your people called?" "It's a very long story," Ben replied. "The father of our re-ligion was called ‘Abraham' his son was named ‘Isaac' and Isaac had a son named ‘Jacob' who was later called ‘Israel' because he wrestled with our God one night. Israel had twelve sons, and they became the leaders of our twelve tribes. One of those tribes became prominent. It was led by a son named ‘Judah' and from those we became known as Israelites, Judeans, or Jews." "So I could say that your people are called ‘Israelites' and you are a ‘Jew.' Is that right?" "Yes, it is, Queen Boudica. That's the way it stands. Our religion is called ‘Judaism' also from Judah. And you might call your religion, ‘Druidism'...?" "Yes. Exactly. I would say it that way. And did your peo-ple fight to defeat or escape the people who dominated them?" "As I mentioned, they escaped from the Egyptians in an-cient times, and made it back to their land after forty years of wandering in the desert, but they did not have the number of warriors they needed in order to defeat subsequent in-vaders. There are many of my people who still live in our land, and there are just as many scattered widely in many directions, living as they can in the lands of their con-querors." "Will those left behind fight the Romans?" "I believe there are some who will try, but it will be futile. The Romans will prevail. I fear that our land, our Holy City of Jerusalem and thousands of our people who remain there will soon be destroyed in a horrible slaughter of apocalyptic proportions. Those who survive will be scattered for the last time, and our homeland will be contested forever by others." "Did your priests make sacrifices to bring help from your gods?" "We only have One God and our Priests did make sacri-fices to Him." "Only one god? What sacrifices did that god require?" "Sheep, lambs, mostly," Ben replied. Boudica was stunned. Her expression changed dramati-cally, frozen, perplexed. Then came laughter, roaring, in waves, finally disappearing behind tightly closed lips. "Is this true?" she asked, in a tone reflecting complete disbelief, and astonishment. "It's the best I can tell you at this point, Queen Boudica, given my limited use of your language." "You've done well for a foreigner," Boudica responded. "Are there Gaelic speakers in Palestine, from whom you learned?" "Only one I knew well. He lived nearby, in a land Celts had reached in their migrations to escape Germanic tribes, Romans and Bedouins." "And he taught you?" "Yes. He did." "Where is he now?" "I fear to tell you more about him," Ben responded de-murely. "Why?" asked Boudica. Her brows knitted again, in ex-pression of recurring concern. When Ben withdrew further in avoidance, Boudica shifted her position and leaned forward until he could feel the warmth of her breasts, and the heat from her breath. Her face was less than a hand's width from his. Her lips were parted. Teeth bared. Ben looked into her eyes and inhaled sharply as a filmy gray curtain closed over the white pools around the blue-green eyes that once shined so brightly through shadows beneath her brows. Ben recalled the shark, attacking through shallow water while Ian's crew pushed the Dhow across a sandbar near Sidon. The creature rolled to its side as it was about to strike. Its jaws opened. Ben could see the protective covering slide over its eyes, an instant before Ian delivered a blow with his iron rolling-bar, disabling the shark and sparing Ben's life. But Ian couldn't help him anymore. Ben was on his own, and Boudica tore into him. "Listen to me Jew, and mark my words," she hissed. "I have no time for weaklings. If you can't engage in straight talk and would rather pout like a child, what good can you be? Your people obviously cannot fight your enemies and win. You run to other lands and act like cowardly weaklings. You offer sacrifices of lambs instead of people. You have only one god, and you give him lambs? No wonder your enemies make slaves of you and chase you out of your lands. People-and their heads-are what we sacrifice, and we have many gods to please. We have taken so many heads from our enemies our gods delight, even when we take some heads for ourselves to decorate our dwellings and summon our strength for battle. No wonder your god frowns upon you Israelites. You are babies and he wants his children to be men and women who are warriors in his service. Get up! Go with my guards, and do not approach me again until you can deal with me like a man who is worthy of my time and attention. I need help, not weaklings. If I see you again, as you are on this day, there will be no mercy. I'll sever your head from its moorings without regret!"
Frank Audrain is a self-described seeker of truth whose writing is inspired by his experiences during a remarkable life. He currently resides with his wife, Dana, in Eden Prairie, Minnesota, where he is hard at work on the next installment of his trilogy, The Everlasting Spring: Beyond Olympus, Colton and Blue Star, in the new world of the Americas. theeverlastingspring.com