I received this email from a reader:
I just finished your book and I absolutely loved it! I couldn't read it fast enough and was kind of sad when I finished it and realized that it was already over! I wanted to ask you, how much of the story is based off of real historical events/people? In other words how much was real? Look forward to your reply.
Dear Reader (and other fans),
I am so glad you asked. I love to slide my story between the lines of history. So could my story be true? Who knows. We weren't there.
If you like history, you will enjoy some of the fascinating facts from the book that I will post in order of their appearance.
The Soci (so chee) is a dastardly group I invented, loosely based on the Praetorian Guard.
The Praetorian Guard had its beginnings as bodyguards of Roman generals sometime before 275 B.C.. The commanding general in the field was called a praetor; his tent, the praetorium. The Guard consisted of infantry and cavalry and was called a cohort.
In 31 BC, Augustus realized the value of having an elite guard at his side within the palace and around Rome as well as in the field. He formed nine cohorts of 500 - 1500 men each, three of which were always on duty.
n 2 BC, Augustus appointed two Praetorian prefects to rule over the Guard. The prefects built the Castra Praetoria (fort of the Praetorians) just outside Rome. The prefects' influence created an unanticipated problem. Yes, the Guard was at the disposal of the emperors, but now the emperors were at the mercy of the Guard.
Asserting their power, the Praetorians demanded money from whomever wanted to be emperor. They assassinated emperors who fell out of favor, fought in turf wars between rulers, and bullied Rome's citizens in the streets. In the 4th century Constantine disbanded the powerful group and destroyed their fortress. The soldiers were sent to various corners of the empire but the prefects rose to civil authority, holding powerful positions. One might say, the Praetorians vanished in name only.
By the 8th century BC, even the prefecture had disappeared from view.
In "The Proof" we discover where they've been hiding.
Read "The Proof" at: bit.ly/TheProofColwell
If you have looked around my website, you've probably seen the picture of me in the cute rented Fiat. I look happy and relaxed. I was definitely happy.
What the image doesn't show is the character arc I pushed through during eighteen days of intense solo navigation in Italy.
We booked our trip with a great bike company and toured a good portion of Tuscany around Siena. My husband rode and I drove, meeting up at the end of each day.
The first morning, we all had breakfast, then the group readied their bikes and left.
Old issues of being left out and abandoned began to fold in on me. I knelt beside my bed in our beautiful room and prayed, "Lord, give me the courage to turn this door handle and leave my room."
I drove out of the small village of Montopoli on a road someone from the villa had pointed to. (Tuscany has very few street signs). Within a mile I spotted my first ruin and pulled over to snap a picture. It occurred to me right then (and every time I took another of the 1,850 photos) that by traveling alone, I could stop at will. What a joy.
By the grace of God, I always found the next night's lodging, though I rarely found the group at lunch time. Though I missed out on some special events, what I discovered on my own and about myself was priceless.
I invite you to travel on this journey with me as I recount the challenges and rewards I experienced during this special slice of life.
We will visit the many historic places that made their way into the novel, "The Proof".
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