The gently smoking cone blows its top, belching flames and molten debris. Suffocating rains of ash, pumice, and blistering hot gases shower down on the unfortunate luxury resort, amid rivers of lava.
Breaking news, with the byline of climate change, Live from CNN — No, this is 79 AD. Vesuvius, the sacred mountain of Hercules, engulfs the Roman city of Pompeii, burying everything and everyone. Miraculously, a papyrus scroll, carbonized but still intact, lies buried under the ruins of a collapsed seaside villa.
Given up as vanished forever, the fabled ‘Epicuriana’ is painfully assembled, letter by letter — a riveting tale of action-adventures, loves, and losses from the ‘The Golden Age’ of classical Greece — told firsthand as a novel by Epicurus of Samos. The long-lost scroll comes to life once again: an offbeat portrayal of Epicurus unbuttoned, wild and passionate alike in his humanist beliefs and feelings,….a smasher of idols! The same young philosopher from humble origins, who more than any other, trod in the footsteps of Socrates.
Meanwhile, Hubris meets Eros: Servilia, his childhood sweetheart — born to a world of luxury — turns back to the myths of the far distant past, particularly the cult of Demeter at Eleusis. Destiny and Love, each pull in different directions, greedy of time and devotion. Servilia becomes a celebrated priestess….but not before composing a heartfelt poem, ‘Where Love Lies’, pleading for their union.
Book-ending two romances, classical Athens and 21st century Boston, the storyline pays homage to the ancient Eleusinian Mysteries — tracing the ceaseless synchronicity of chance encounters that may take minutes or millennia to play out. Eschewing coincidences — every step we take, every small act of generosity, is not without meaning!
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EXCERPTS from CHAPTERS.
Finally, but not least: a few words about the cache of wood-cut engravings scattered throughout ‘The Epicuriana’. Incisive yet naively charming, the engravings come replete with an alluring story — the fateful collaboration between a zealous, eccentric pioneer and his gifted master engraver, at the dawn of ancient Greek ethnography. Anthony Rich, B.A., Esquire, was a proper English ‘gentleman-scholar’ in the stiff-upper-lip Victorian tradition, during the heyday of the British Empire. A graduate of Cambridge University and confidant of Charles Darwin, Mr. Rich spent seven years roaming and documenting Greco-Roman curiosities with the blind dedication of a proverbial bower-bird, eventually publishing his weighty tome in 1849. Fifty of Mr. Rich’s antiquarian woodcuts, courtesy of The Library of Congress, are embedded in the pages of ‘Epicurus in Love — The Epicuriana’.
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