by Mary Ann Bernal
Publication Date: February 14th, 2021
Publisher: Whispering Legends Press
Genre: Historical Fiction
2022 Chaucer Finalist for Early Historical Fiction
B.R.A.G. MEDALLION HONOREE
Gold Medal Winner 2021 Book of the Year Ancient World Coffee Pot Book Club
Silver Medal Winner Historical Fiction Reviewer’s Choice Awards 2021-2022 Reader Views
Rome. The jewel of the civilized world is no longer what it was. Strength has failed the Senate. Her legions are in disarray, and the Empire has fallen into Lucius Domitius Ahenobarbus Nero’s hands. His reign begins under a cloud of scrutiny, for he is the depraved Emperor Caligula’s nephew. Nero is determined to overcome that stigma and carve a name of his own. One worthy of Rome’s illustrious history.
Politics and treachery threaten to end Nero’s reign before it begins, forcing him to turn to unexpected sources for friendship and help. Many of the Praetorian Guard have watched over Nero since he was a small child, and it is in Traian that the young Emperor places his trust, despite the inherent threat of reducing his mother’s influence. Traian is the father he never had and the one man who does not judge him.
When Traian secretly marries the hostage Vena, it sets in motion a collision of values as Traian comes to odds with his former charge. The whirlwind that follows will shake the very foundations of the greatest Empire the world has ever known, and survival is far from guaranteed.
The sound of rumbling thunder caused Nero to rush to his bedchamber, where he shut the door behind him. He fell onto the bed, holding pillows over his ears and muffling the sounds that caused the hairs on his arms to stand. He closed his eyes tightly, not wishing to see the lightning striking across the blackened sky. His body stiffened when his garments moved. Nero screamed, believing a snake had slithered across his torso, as the bed hangings flapped in the wind.
Agrippina’s apparition appeared before him, close enough to touch. Nero stepped back, his fearful eyes gazing upon Octavia’s bloodied head with scorpions crawling out of her eye sockets.
“Leave me be, begone; I command you!” Nero said.
The specters followed him, getting closer and closer. He felt his mother’s fingernails scratching the side of his face, her mouth close to his, spitting venom onto his tongue. Serpents slipped up his bare legs and wrapped themselves around his chest, constricting his breathing.
“Let go of me!”
Nero pulled the cloth away from his chest, his breathing quick and erratic. His heart beat rapidly, his skin wet and clammy. He fell to the floor, kicking his feet, his hands flying about. The Emperor hit his head against a nearby table, causing loss of consciousness as roaring thunder forcefully shook the earth.
Mary Ann Bernal
Multi-genre award-winning author, Mary Ann Bernal, is a family-oriented community activist participating in programs supporting the United States military. A guest on The Morning Blend television show hosted by KMTV, the CBS affiliate in Omaha, Mary Ann was also interviewed by the Omaha World-Herald for her achievements.
All of Mary Ann’s novels and short story collections are dedicated to fallen military heroes who gave their lives defending our freedom. A prolific writer originally hailing from New York, Mary Ann now resides in Elkhorn, Nebraska, and has traveled for pleasure and research to the United Kingdom, Ireland, Italy, and Greece.
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Thank you for having me.ReplyDelete
Thank you for sharing your fabulous excerpt from Forgiving Nero with us, Mary Ann.Delete