My New Novel, In the Wake of Hannibal, is Now Available on Amazon and Kindle

WzW-CoverMy new novel, in the Wake of Hannibal is now available on Amazon and Kindle. The Death of Carthage told the story of the Second Punic War, between Rome and Carthage, from the point of view of the Romans. In the Wake of Hannibal tells the same story from the point of view of the Carthaginians. In the Wake of Hannibal has three narrators. There is Mago, the younger brother of Hannibal, Gisco, Mago’s best friend from early childhood, and Gisco’s Spanish wife, Sansara. Mago is utterly devoted to his brother’s cause: “I had always worshiped my brother Hannibal from afar, as he left Carthage for Spain when I was five. Even when I went to Spain five years ago to join the Carthaginian army under our brother-in-law Hasdrubal the Fair, Hannibal and I never spent time alone together. As second in command he was constantly busy and constantly surrounded by underlings demanding his time. It came as a surprise when, shortly before our attack on Saguntum, he called me to his tent for a private conference. As I entered his tent I saw him seated at a small table poring over a map. There was a platter of bread and venison on the table, a bowl of fruit, a flask of wine and two cups. He pointed toward the victuals and said ‘Help yourself, Mago.’ I nodded my thanks and took a small hunk of the meat and poured myself some wine. ‘Mago,’ he said, ‘As you know, we will be taking on the Romans after we destroy Saguntum. I plan to take the army over the Alps, an arduous journey, and I think that the war will go on for several years. Are you with me on this? If you have any second thoughts, let me know now.’ ‘Hannibal,’ I replied, ‘Why would you even ask me that question? You know I’m with you all the way on this. I am more than willing to die for our cause!’ ‘I ask this because it is my intention that you will be the most important person in the army after myself.’ said Hannibal. ‘You will be the key to my strategy to defeat the Romans in battle.’”

Gisco is utterly devoted to Mago. He is also deeply in love with his Spanish wife, Sansara: “I thought of Sansara and the coming child. Despite my complaints about her inability to speak Phoenician, I loved her dearly. She was a willing and able bed partner. This would mean that I would have to leave her and risk losing her. On the other hand, I could not imagine leaving Mago’s side. We had been friends ever since I could remember. Besides, I was a man and a soldier of Carthage, and I knew that I had a duty to my country.”

Sansara is equally devoted to Gisco. Despite being compelled to marry him in order to cement an alliance between her tribe and the Carthaginians, she has come to love him. She, however, has no liking for Hannibal and his schemes. She sees the war from the perspective of an outsider: “Mago follows Hannibal blindly, and Gisco follows Mago blindly. Hannibal. How I loathe that man! Everyone around me worships him, but to me he is a monster. I hold my tongue around his devotees.”

Ultimately, Gisco is forced to choose between his country and his family. After following Hannibal over the Alps and participating in the battles of Trebia, Trasimene and Cannae, Mago and Gisco return to Carthage where Mago tries to persuade the Carthaginian Senate to provide reinforcements to Hannibal. Hannibal’s other brother, Hasdrubal, however, has lost a major battle in Spain and the reinforcements are sent to Spain instead. Mago and Gisco return to Spain where Gisco is reunited with Sansara. Gisco is delighted to learn that she has born him a son, little Gisco. The following year, she bears another son whom they name Hanno. Hanno is a particularly beautiful infant and he comes to the notice of Indibal, the priest of Tanit and Baal-Hammon, who has a disturbing dream about him. Indibal summons Gisco and demands that he sacrifice the child as a burnt offering to the gods. Faced with an impossible dilemma, Gisco takes the only course he can think of-he flees Kart Hadasht with his wife, three young children and two freedmen and seeks asylum from the Romans in Tarraco. He knows that the Romans will demand information from him in exchange for asylum, and that if he is ever captured by Carthaginian agents, he will be crucified as a traitor.

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