= John Argo: The Sibyl's urn =
A Historical Fantasy
Welcome to a mythological dream time in which nothing quite makes sense, yet everything has a logic of its own. Powerful goddesses linger behind curtains--one brushes her fingertips over your eyes, laden with an opiate like bee pollen on a summer's day. This is a fantasy, pieced together by late lamplight from author notes and studies of ancient Latium. Odd spirits keep knocking the inkwell over...
On a quest to seek an ancient scroll with enigmatic modern Professor Darwin (or is it Tarquin?), you fly on the wings of Parnassus to a realm where empty Etruscans tombs are filled with sunlight. The Seven Hills of Rome are barren--filled with wildmen before the golden age. Heroes and gods, warriors and goddesses, clash on fields of battle and ideas.
Odd little spirits keep knocking the ink well over, or hiding the quill, or giggling as they shuffle the pages out of sequence. Try not to be scared, and by all means have fun. Those little spirits or genii will be remembered as jinn in later millennia across the Mare Nostrum (Our Sea)
The mystery of Amalthea--whom we meet, oddly, on an jet plane; everything in this book is a bit strange--is founded in myths far older than Rome herself. Flying back and forth across ancient Roman history, we are present at the founding of Rome, and we are there when the great spectacle finally draws to its conclusion thirteen centuries later. Beautiful Amalthea, and an ageless cricket she keeps in a cage, assist a mysterious professor who seeks long-ago truth, and leaves only his name as a legacy when the sands of time all too quickly blow away his footsteps.
Book a flight, then, on an airline that takes us to a world capital far away and long ago. We step onto the dusty streets, overcome by smells of burning wood, roasting doormice, baking bread, and a thousand other breaths of life among Rome's million inhabitants. We meet scribes, mystics, generals, priestesses, merchants, physicians, slaves, and--well, just about anyone you can shake a wand at. We stand on the empty Tiber bank at the birth of Rome, pass over 250 years of monarchy and 500 years of democracy, followed by another 500 years of imperial tyranny--to the fullness of empire as Gothic barbarians batter down the gates and get the European Middle Ages rolling.
All the while, we seek those smoldering, mystical secrets inked onto a papyrus roll stashed in a garden urn watched over by mystical crickets, giggling nymphs, and mean little cupids…
(continued in the Special 2015 Preface inside the book)