New Historical Fiction Set in Roman Asia Minor

Dr. Chris Stanley, an American professor who led a tour with Tutku a few years ago, asked us to forward this announcement about a new historical fiction trilogy set in Roman Asia Minor that might prove useful to people leading tours that focus on the early history of Christianity and Judaism in Turkey.

After thirty years of writing and editing academic books and articles on the social world of early Christianity, I recently published my first two historical novels, A Rooster for Asklepios and A Bull for Pluto. Both books are set in a time and place that will interest Tutku followers, Roman Asia Minor in the time of Nero (though he receives only brief mention in the books). A third volume (A Ram for Mars) will follow later to form a trilogy titled A Slave’s Story, but the first two books tell a complete story on their own.

Rather than summarizing the story line here, allow me to point you to the plot summaries on my Website for the series, (click on "Books"). You’ll also find here an author bio and interview, brief review comments from fellow scholars, a series of blog posts about various aspects of Roman social life that relate to the world of the novels, and a host of links to Websites pertaining to the various places referenced in the books. You can even listen to a modern recording of the oldest known Greek song, the Song of Seikilos, which will begin playing when you access the main page.

As a social historian of early Christianity, I have made every effort to ensure the historical and cultural accuracy of the smallest details in these novels while also crafting an engaging story that illuminates the lives of ordinary people whose experience is typically neglected in history books. I have visited and conducted on-site research at most of the places that appear in the books, so my stories reflect the actual geography and layout of the sites as far as it can be known. I did have to be creative when talking about unexcavated areas here and there, but my speculations are rooted in what we know about other sites.

Special attention is given in both books to the pervasive influence and diversity of what we might anachronistically call 'religion' in the Roman world, including not only the official Roman cultus but also Judaism, Christianity, and indigenous religions. The novels are not "religious" in the sense of promoting Jewish or Christian faith, but they do help to illuminate the variety of ways in which followers of both religions were viewed by outsiders in the first century CE.

If you would like to sample the books before buying them, you can download the first five chapters for free by following the links at If you like what you can see, you can follow the links on that page to the Amazon pages where the books are listed for sale. The books are available in both paperback and Kindle format, and an Audible version is currently in production for those who prefer listening to reading. I’m hoping to have it ready some time in January—e-mail me at if you would like to be notified when it is available. I also maintain a Facebook page for the series ( where you can be notified about new blog posts relating to the social world of the novels as I post them on my Website. Simply 'Like' the page to receive these updates.

Finally, I'm offering a free copy of the second book in the series (A Bull for Pluto) in any format to the first ten people who buy and post a review of the first book (A Rooster for Asklepios) on Amazon or Goodreads. Just e-mail a screenshot of the review to me at I'd love to hear your comments!

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