Imagine you’re an experienced, excellently educated black magician living in Antioch in ancient Syria. It’s 300 A.D., and you lust after the very beautiful, young, fair skinned virgin Justina, a servant of the pagan goddess Aphrodite.
Even if you have to invoke the Devil himself, you will have your lover! You will malign, sacrifice human life, even rain plague down upon the city to satisfy your evil craving.
It makes no difference to you that Emperor Diocletian is about to launch the fiercest persecution of Christians ever perpetrated by Rome.
Poor lost soul. How could you know that the simple sign of the cross will be your undoing -- and your salvation?
Against the exotic backdrop of the Near East and the Mediterranean, amid the clash of Christianity and the ancient Pagan religions of Greece and Rome, the compelling story of The Martyrs unfolds.
Tono Rondone has written three other novels, a non fiction book and a collection of short stories, plus several film scripts. His work has appeared in national magazines such as Musician Magazine and in major metropolitan newspapers, including The San Francisco Chronicle.
Soft cover, 255 pages. $14.95 plus 5.00 shipping.
"To Golgotha" By Tono Rondone, Acrylic on canvas, 18" x 24", 1997.
WHAT OTHERS ARE SAYING ABOUT "THE MARTYRS":
"THE MARTYRS -- BRINGING ANCIENT HISTORY ALIVE.
"I found The Martyrs to be a gripping and highly enjoyable novel.
"Set in a somewhat forgotten time when pagan beliefs deeply entrenched in the psyche of the majority clashed with a new wave of popularity and the adoption of Christianity in it's infancy, the author, Tono Rondone, uses two characters, Justina and Cyprian, to explore issues of faith which are still as relevant today as they were in ancient Syria.
"What immediately struck me when I opened the book was the brilliant use of language. Rondone writes in a style here reminiscent of the words of ancient scholars; the tone of wisdom of lost empires instantly transports the reader back to the times in which the gods truly did live on Olympus. Also one must praise the amount of research and knowledge Rondone accquired when writing his overwhelmingly accurate recreation of those days past.”
-- Roule Duke on Amazon.com
“Author Tono Rondone transcends the norm and crafts with a master’s hand a uniquely rich literary history of the clash between paganism and Christianity.
”The Martyrs is not for the casual reader searching for a few hours of escape. But, Cyprian and Justina's struggle of heart, faith, mind, and soul are written in a unique style, and couched in an in depth lesson of ancient history that will feed the thirst of any reader that searches for knowledge in place of sheer entertainment.”
-- Charlene Austin on Amazon.com
A recent evening of Chamber Music, called A Harvest of Song, at the Berkeley Arts Center featured a poem written by Tono and found in The Martyrs. Music by Mark Secosh, Soprano, Eliza O'Malley, Harpist, Wendy Tamis.
Do you hear the dying wail?
This life is just a dry run for the next.
Alone in this corner of the universe
I attempt not to see myself,
And thereby to behold all beings.
The breeze flowing over my right shoulder
Is the whisper of My Beloved.
Corner to corner we connect and break away.
Do you see the eagle soar?
I swoon while inclining on mountain peaks.
Born again to cry, born again to die, to fly,
Can you imagine all things and all places
all the time?
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