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Authors: Tracy L. Higley

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Keeper of the Flame

BOOK: Keeper of the Flame
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© 2009 by Higley Enterprises, Inc.

All rights reserved. No portion of this book may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means—electronic, mechanical, photocopy, recording, scanning, or other—except for brief quotations in critical reviews or articles, without the prior written permission of the publisher.

Published in Nashville, Tennessee, by Thomas Nelson. Thomas Nelson is a registered trademark of HarperCollins Christian Publishing, Inc.

Thomas Nelson, Inc., titles may be purchased in bulk for educational, business, fund-raising, or sales promotional use. For information, please email [email protected].

Publisher’s Note: This novel is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents are either products of the author’s imagination or used fictitiously. All characters are fictional, and any similarity to people living or dead is purely coincidental.

ISBN 978-1-4016-8747-2 (e-book)

 

 

 

To my dear friends

Kelly Shennett

Michelle King

Connie Taylor

Amie Shumski

Dawn Hill

and

Joan Savoy

Through our many years of friendship, you have taught me so much about what it means to truly be a woman of beauty. I love you all.

Contents

Acknowledgments
Word List
One
Two
Three
Four
Five
Six
Seven
Eight
Nine
Ten
Eleven
Twelve
Thirteen
Fourteen
Fifteen
Sixteen
Seventeen
Eighteen
Nineteen
Twenty
Twenty-One
Twenty-Two
Twenty-Three
Twenty-Four
Twenty-Five
Twenty-Six
Twenty-Seven
Twenty-Eight
Twenty-Nine
Thirty
Thirty-One
Thirty-Two
Thirty-Three
Thirty-Four
Thirty-Five
Thirty-Six
Thirty-Seven
Thirty-Eight
Thirty-Nine
Forty
Forty-One
Forty-Two
Forty-Three
Forty-Four
Forty-Five
Forty-Six
Forty-Seven
Forty-Eight
Forty-Nine
Also By Tracy L. Higley
Reading Group Guide
The Story Behind the Story . . . and Beyond
About the Author
An Excerpt from So Shines the Night
Prologue
1

Acknowledgments

T
he re-release of a novel written a few years ago is an exciting thing. Thank you to Thomas Nelson for taking on the project and making it fresh. I love the work all of you do to polish and promote your authors!

Though the content of the book has been updated, my gratitude toward those who helped the writing the first time around is unchanged, so I again offer my thanks to the following . . .

Writing about ancient history continues to be a wonderful mix of research, writing, and travel. I am grateful to many for making this adventure possible.

Karen Ball, it had been a long-time dream of mine to have you for an editor. Thanks for all you did to improve this book! Thank you to my agent, Steve Laube. It’s great fun to have a supportive and talented agent who also loves history!

Once again, my family and friends have offered encouragement, the occasional kick-in-the-pants, and most of all support. Ron, thank you for partnering with me in all I do in life, including the writing. I couldn’t do it without you. Rachel, Sarah, Jake, and Noah, thank you for not complaining when you hear that “Mom’s writing” and for making sacrifices yourselves. Life with the five of you is my best adventure ever!

Word List

abbas
—(Egyptian) lion
agora
—the marketplace
centuria
—originally one hundred, but later eighty Roman soldiers organized into ten contubernium
chitôn
—a form of clothing; square of linen draped and held in place at the shoulder by several small pins.
contubernium
—the smallest organized unit of soldiers in the Roman army, comprised of eight legionaries
cornicen
—officer in the Roman army, whose job was to signal salutes to officers and sound orders to the legions
corona vallaris
—a gold crown awarded to a Roman soldier for achievement in battle
desino
—(Latin) stop
gladius
—(Latin) sword
heptastadion
—causeway connecting Pharos Island to the coast of Alexandria, seven stadia long (about one mile)
himation
—clothing usually worn over a chitôn, but made of heavier drape; a cloak
incedo dextro
—(Latin), march right
incedo sinistro
—(Latin), march left
kylix
—(Greek), drinking cup
the Legion
—the entire Roman army; more common usage: the heavy infantry, a military unit, of the Roman army
legionary
—professional soldier of the Roman army
milites
—Roman foot soldiers
mina
—unit of weight equal to 60 shekels
obol
—a silver coin or unit of weight equal to one sixth of a drachma
optio
—second-in-command of a Roman centuria
parados
—the corridors in the front of the stage in a Greek theater
pilum
—javelin (pl., pila)
Proginosko
—(Greek) to foreknow
pugio
—a dagger
signifer
—standard bearer of the Roman legion
sporran
—studded apron on the Roman sword belt
stadia
—a unit of length; one stadium is equal to approximately 600 feet
testudo
—Roman military formation, in which shields were held so that the soldiers resembled a tortoise
uraeus
—the rearing golden cobra used as a symbol of Egyptian royalty and diety
vitis
—the grapevine staff that signaled a Roman soldier’s authority; a centurion’s staff

 

 

 

In a lofty tower set high above a teeming city,

There lived a solitary woman

Whose guilt and pain had long ago turned to ugliness.

And when the ugliness became its own prison,

And the pain of rejection too much to bear,

Loneliness seemed the only answer.

One

Alexandria, Egypt

48 BC

S
ophia pressed her forehead against the chilled window glass of her private chamber and tried to capture a glimpse of life, far below and out of reach.

The harbor, more than one hundred cubits down, churned with boats whose sails flapped in the dying sun like the scales of white fish, and with ant-sized servants who scurried to deliver supplies to her lighthouse before its Keeper punished them for their delay.

On a white-cushioned couch behind her, one of Euripides’s plays called for her return to its lines of tragedy. She resisted. The words had already bled into her heart with remembrances she wished to avoid.

Enough foolishness
. Shoulders back and eyes unblinking, she crossed the room to a cedarwood desk. Her astronomy charts covered the wall above, but it was a more practical papyrus that she spread on its surface. She weighted the top corners with two small statuettes of Isis and Osiris with a muttered apology to the gods, and let the bottom corners curl upon themselves. The late afternoon sun burned through the window, setting dust particles afire in the air and touching the lighthouse’s fuel consumption chart and the scrawled labor requirements. Sophia retrieved her sharpened reed and ink and added notations to the latest entry.

Work first
. Then she could spend the evening brooding over Euripides’s plays, and even the past.

Behind her, sharp knuckles attacked the outside of her door. Only one person knocked like that, and only one person would bother to make the climb halfway up the lighthouse’s three hundred cubits.

The door flew open before she invited entrance. Her personal servant stumbled in, eyes wide.

Sophia jumped to her feet. “Romans?”

Ares leaned against a marble stand that held the sculpted bust of Plato, winded. The heavy-footed Roman legion had marched into Alexandria several weeks earlier. Sophia had been waiting for war, as one waits for a ship returning from far-off trade. Knowing it will come, never certain when.

But Ares was shaking his head. “She is here! She climbed over the—”

Ares was shoved aside and another figure slid into the room. Sophia’s heart danced over a few beats, then settled into a staccato. The young woman before her smiled, the languid look of a woman who knows her own power. “Sophia”—she extended both her jeweled hands—“how I have missed you!”

Sophia let out her breath with one quiet word. “Cleopatra!” She waved to her servant. “Leave us, Ares.”

The boy backed out of the room.

“And not a word of this!” Sophia called after him.

When he had closed the door, she took a hesitant step toward the younger woman. “How? Have you made peace at last with your brother?”

Cleopatra flung the question aside with a wave of her hand. “The little brat knows nothing of monarchy. It is those three leeches that hiss in his ears that are the problem.” She spotted
the black and gold
kylix
of wine and brightened. “I am parched.” She crossed to the table and ladled wine into an alabaster cup. “The sea, you know.” She filled another cup and handed it to Sophia.

Sophia studied her, speechless. Her magnetic power seemed undimmed by her recent exile. Her white robe, trimmed in gold and purple, hung a bit more loosely on her frame.

BOOK: Keeper of the Flame
12.11Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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