Thank You…

 

ElectrifyingIt’s been heart-warming to see your reactions to my latest release, Last Prophecy of Rome, and for all your thoughts on Placidia, Rome, and current events.

A particular ‘thank you’ to the bloggers and other reviewers, who have written so many kind things about the book – from ‘ChickLibraryCat,’ who wrote: “I was completely hooked from the very first page;” to ‘Splashes into Books’, who declared “(Last Prophecy of Rome is) an amazing, up to date, enthralling read that had me riveted from start to finish,”; Donna’s Book Blog who said it was a “cracking thriller… better than Dan Brown,” and ‘Chelle’s Book Reviews’, who blogged: “What an ending – I was totally blown away and found myself on the edge of my seat hyperventilating.”  Thank you all.

Author feedAnd thanks, also, for all the customer reviews – especially the majority of reviews so far which have awarded Last Prophecy of Rome five stars out of five.  If you liked the book too, then please recommend it to others by leaving a review on Amazon, Kobo, iBooks, or on your facebook page.  You don’t need to write much – a few words is plenty.  Reviews make a big impact on what other people decide to read.  The Myles Munro books have become popular through word of mouth, so please keep saying and writing such nice things about them!

Secrets-of-the-Last-Nazi-Facebook-graphics-3A number of readers have queried whether Myles Munro is genuinely odd.  For example, one blogger mused that although “Myles Munro is on my list of favourite characters…. I can’t work out why he’s called a misfit.”  It’s reassuring to see so many people prefer their heroes to be unusual – there are already too many shallow James Bonds in fiction.  In my writing, I tried hard to prevent Myles from being typical, which is why he’s not even a typical misfit (whatever that might be).  Myles Munro doesn’t belong in any pigeonhole, even one labelled ‘odd’ – and if you tried to put him in any category, he’d escape in a way you wouldn’t expect.  I promise I’ll reveal more about Myles’ character in the next book.

Best seller 1Meanwhile, ‘Secrets of the Last Nazi’ continues to intrigue.  Eight months since it was published, it has become the 35th best-selling book in the overall Amazon.com sales chart, and in its best weekend so far, which was recently, it sold a massive 3,000 copies.  The book has now topped several Amazon charts in both the US and the UK, including categories for the best-selling international mystery and crime story, the top spy fiction book, and the best-selling tale of intrigue.  ‘Secrets of the Last Nazi’ is also being translated around the world – and this website is getting ‘hits’ from more and more countries.  I will keep trying to answer every comment and question about the books; sorry if I’m slow sometimes.Czech SOTLN cover

As for me, I’m going to take a short break from writing – both fiction and non-fiction.  Myles Munro will return, but not just yet.

So thank you – your support has been wonderful. Please keep writing reviews, recommending Myles Munro books to your friends, and thank you again.

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20 Ways Rome Shaped Modern Life

1 The US Senate

Seal_of_the_United_States_Senate_svgAmerica’s Founding Fathers modelled the US Senate on the Senate of ancient Rome. US Senators have to be thirty years old before they can serve; Roman Senators also had to pass strict criteria – being elected wasn’t enough.

2 Separation of Powers

The separation of powers at the heart of the US constitution hails from the Roman model, which also set out distinct roles for the Senate, judiciary and later the Emperor. In both Rome and the US, the relative strength of different parts of government has evolved over several decades.

3 Government without a King or Queen

Rome cast off its monarchy in 509BC, and remained a republic for almost five centuries, until Emperor Augustus became imperial dictator in 27BC. Although governing without a monarchy wasn’t new, it was novel. It took until the 1776 (in the USA) and 1918 (in Europe) for republics to come back into fashion in the West.

4 Capitol Hill

CapitolHillCapitol Hill in Washington DC is modelled on the Capitoline Hill of Rome. The name means ‘Commanding Height’.

5 Expenses Scandals

Next time a Western politician is exposed for abusing state largesse, remember they’re honouring a tradition which harks back to ancient Rome.

6 Dinars

Algeria, Bahrain, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Libya, Macedonia, Serbia and Tunisia all have a national currency called the Dinar. The word comes from ‘Denarius’, a small silver coin minted by ancient Rome.

7 Cents

Roman coinMost modern currencies – including almost all the large ones – divide their main unit into one hundred smaller pieces (names include cents, pennies, paise, lipa, agorot, and kopeks). The Romans started it: their denarius was worth one hundred argenteus.

8 Inflation

Rapidly rising consumer prices were a feature of the 20th century, and we currently have rampant inflation in some asset prices, such as housing, as central banks around the world try to remedy economic problems.  It started in ancient Rome: Roman Emperors tried to manage budgets by minting more coins, just as more recent government authorities around the world have printed banknotes, or tried ‘Quantitative Easing’, making prices soar.

9 Traffic congestion

Roman cities were as gridlocked as modern ones. Romans even pioneered congestion zones, forcing heavy vehicles to deliver their goods at night.

10 Straight Roads

Straight roads are usually cheaper, safer, and – in Roman times – had a lower risk of ambush. Many of the straight roads in Europe were first set down in Roman times.

City scape11 Mega-cities

Ancient Rome became larger than Alexandria in Egypt in the first century BC, to become the first city in the world with more than a million people. It took some seventeen centuries and an Industrial Revolution for any European city to be more populous – London.

12 Green Cards

Roman citizenship was offered as a prize to certain conquered people and allies, and used as a tool for spreading ‘Romanisation’. Green cards and US citizenship are the modern equivalent – many people still see them as a prize.

13 Attitudes to Migration

Like 19th Century America, Rome accepted new citizens from outside its borders when it was on the rise. Both became more hostile to new migrants as growth rates slowed.  As it declined, Rome became ripe for demogogues peddling comforting, xenophobic lies.

MigrantsGoingtoItaly(AFP)14 Barbarians Beyond the Borders

Although the term ‘Barbarian’ originally meant someone not belonging to the Roman Empire, it also denoted someone thought to be lacking in culture and finesse. The insularity of the Roman worldview lives on today.

15 Free Trade within Borders

Easy trade arrangements throughout the vast and diverse territory of the Empire made Rome rich. It has taken many centuries for free-trade within the continent to return.

16 Problems in Iraq and Syria

Rome spent several centuries of blood and treasure fighting in Mesopotamia; they even lost an Emperor Valerian in battle there. Military problems in Syria and Iraq are not new.

Partition_of_the_Roman_Empire_in_395_AD17 A Civilisation of Two Halves

In 284AD, the lands of Rome were formerly divided into two halves: a Western Empire and Eastern domain, ruled from Constantinople (now Istanbul). Today’s world was shaped by a similar divide, in 1776, which split ‘The West’ between Europe and America.

18 International Language

Latin was arguably the world’s first international language. It was the universal tongue of ancient Rome, just as English is the dominant language of today. More than half of all the words in English have their origins in Latin or Greek, including more than 90% of our vocabulary for science and technology.

romans-amphi-gladiators619 Leisure as Spectacle

The mass spectator sports, which have become an important part of modern culture, owe much to the Romans, who pioneered entertainment for the masses. Although some Romans games were brutal – such as gladiatorial combat, which killed about one in five first-time gladiators – the Romans also drew large crowds for chariot racing and ‘circuses’.

20 Vandalism

Vandalism is one of many words which hail from ancient Rome. It refers to the tribe of Germanic people, the Vandals, who ransacked the imperial city in 455 AD. Modern vandals are more likely to use ‘graffiti’ – another Latin word.

So, could modern-day barbarians – terrorists and refugees – bring down America as Rome was brought down?  That’s the chilling premise of my new book, ‘Last Prophecy of Rome’…

Last-Prophecy-of-Rome-A-gripping-action-packed-conspiracy-thriller-Kindle

 

How much will history repeat itself? Read the action-packed thriller, ‘Last Prophecy of Rome’ to find out.

Available NOW: from Amazon (UK) and Amazon (US).

 

 

Why Did Rome Fall?

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Read ‘Last Prophecy of Rome’ to find out how we may suffer Rome’s fate…

Why did the Roman Empire fall?  The question has puzzled scholars for centuries, and at least two hundred different explanations have been put forward.

 

These are the leading theories – all hold portents for today:

1  Migration Mishandled

Rome offered security and prosperity to its citizens, so it should be no surprise that it attracted outsiders. And for the many centuries when it was ascendant, Rome welcomed immigrants, and encouraged them to become citizens. But by the 370s, factors beyond the Empire – including mass starvation on the Steppe and brutality in East Asia – were driving whole tribes to Europe. Rome’s handling of this challenge was catastrophic. The Empire neither welcomed them in, nor kept them out. Instead, it corralled them into internment camps, where many froze or starved. In one famous anecdote, Roman soldiers bought the daughters of immigrants for meat – many daughters were traded for just a single dog. Rome could have boosted its Empire with new, keen citizens, but made an unnecessary enemy. The tribes fought back, and defeated the Romans in battle – most famously at Adrianople in 376AD . Their prize was the right to settle within the Empire; and it would have terrible consequences in Rome’s last century.

2 Barbarians at the Gates

Gate of Rome
Roman Gate Today: Hole in the City Wall

Goths raided the city of Rome in 410 AD, and Vandals ravaged it much more thoroughly in 455 AD. The Empire employed an arsenal of strategies to tackle the Barbarian threat, including battle, bluff, intrigue, negotiations, and clumsy efforts to buy them off. Roman chroniclers – the journalists of their day, from whom we get much primary material on the history of Rome – detail the many episodes of this doomed diplomacy with the Barbarians. But we should be sceptical of their underlying claim, that Barbarians were the culpits for the end of Rome. Rome had beaten off Barbarian threat before – such as in 173AD, when Emperor Marcus Aurelius was outnumbered by Germanic tribes but still won. The fact that Goths and Vandals could invade the imperial city three centuries later suggests that, during that time, something else had weakened Rome.

3   Military Decline

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Rome: an Infantry Superpower, until the Age of Cavalry.

From an obscure town in central Italy to the dominant superpower, Rome rose to glory on a long wave of military victories. It had mastered battle tactics: countless wild warriors were defeated by the ‘buzz saw’ of short swords, which advanced in a protected line. With discipline, effective logistics, and a strong fighting ethos, Roman generals enjoyed huge advantages over their rivals.   And for centuries, Rome had unmatched resources, enabling it to punish and deter any threats or revolts. But as the Empire matured, its army became stretched: it had too many borders to protect. Soldiers were sometimes poorly led, and often poorly funded; towards the end, Rome was relying on mercenaries. And when the nemesis of Rome, Attila the Hun, attacked with squadrons of horse-borne archers, he exposed Rome’s failure to keep their battle tactics up-to-date. Rome’s military success was of its time; and its decline came when that time passed.

4   Political In-Fighting

Commodus
Too Many Bad Emperors

Good leaders could have coped with barbarians, aggrieved migrants, and military threats. Indeed, the Emperors Trajan, Hadrian, Antonius Pius, and Marcus Aurelius did just that, in the golden era of ‘good emperors’ which reigned from 98AD to 180AD. But from 180 AD onwards, emperors generally became more selfish, stupid and short-lived. Rome’s flawed constitution meant emperors were challenged in the wrong way: by pretenders and rivals who threatened their very survival, not by a Senate keeping them in check. It led to bouts of political chaos and purges, which rotted Rome from within. The Empire’s huge military might was drained inwards, in a far too many bloody civil wars.

5   Public Decay

Disorder in Rome’s political class affected all Romans. Whispers of corruption, cronyism and worse trickled through society, and from the capital to the provinces. Citizens lost their trust that the Empire could protect them. They became less loyal and less patriotic; many became more selfish. There are telling anecdotes of young men cutting off their thumbs to avoid conscription into a citizen army, and of wealthy traders burying their gold to avoid taxes. People tried to exploit Rome rather than serve it. And as the public lost faith in Rome, the Empire became poorer and weaker.

6   Economic Woes

Roman coin
Roman Gate Today: Hole in the City Wall

The Roman economy – a huge trading bloc around the Mediterranean – peaked about three centuries before the Empire of the West finally collapsed, in 476 AD. Those three centuries were as confusing to the average merchant as they were to the long chain of emperors who tried and repeatedly failed to halt the decline. Several efforts – such as debasing the coinage, or insisting that in certain lines of work sons follow the profession of their fathers – made the problems worse. The final straw was when Rome’s grain supply in North Africa came to be controlled by Vandals: Rome had gone from an economic superpower to a basket case, relying on food stocks controlled by an enemy to survive. Rome tried to recapture the grain fields of North Africa with an armada of more than a thousand ships, in 468AD. But the expedition ended in disaster, bankrupting the Empire of Rome, which ceased to exist just eight years later.

 

7   Plague and Poison

Gloucester_AntoninePlague01_full
Mass Victims, Mass Burials

Rome was struck by several waves of disease, including small pox and bubonic plague – one epidemic, the ‘Antonine Plague’ was named after an Emperor who succumbed to it.   But Rome also sickened itself through the lead in its piping, and by using the toxic heavy metal to make condiments for the aristocracy. No wonder many Emperors went mad: they were suffering from lead poisoning.

 

So, why did Rome fall?  The simple answer is that there was no single cause for Rome’s decline. Rome collapsed because most or all of the factors above multiplied upon each other. When only a few of these factors threatened, Rome could fend them off – but when these came together, the cumulative impact was more than the Empire could bear.

Last-Prophecy-of-Rome-A-gripping-action-packed-conspiracy-thriller-KindleThe Western Roman Empire officially ended in September 476 AD. It was a very different Empire to the majestic superpower of Hadrian and Trajan, which was also hugely different to the upstart town on the Tiber which started to expand centuries earlier. Perhaps the question is not, ‘Why did the Roman Empire fall?’, but ‘how did it survive so long?’

How much will history repeat itself?  Read the action-packed thriller, ‘Last Prophecy of Rome’ to find out.

Available NOW from Amazon (UK) and Amazon (US).

 

 

Review: Last Prophecy of Rome by Iain King

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Title: Last Prophecy of Rome, Myles Munro #2Last Prophecy

Author: Iain King

Publisher: Bookouture

Pages: 344

Date of Publication: January 28th, 2016

Rating: 5/5

My Review:

This is one of those books where I seriously suggest you just go get yourself a copy instead of reading my review – the book is an amazing, up to date, enthralling read that had me riveted from start to finish.

Myles Munro is a brilliant character, a highly intelligent misfit, expert analyst of military history and something of a maverick. He’s absolutely awesomely different! The knowledge and expertise of the author shines through in this superbly written, highly topical, action packed thriller. I’m putting down the modern day port in Rome to artistic licence….It is a roller coaster, highly emotive and fast paced thriller. Journeying through the historic demise of the Roman Empire to ascertain threats to modern day America with migrants, terrorists, threats to…

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‘Last Prophecy of Rome’ – It’s Here!

ElectrifyingLast Prophecy of Rome – the gripping, addictive, action-packed thriller – is now available to download onto your Kindle or other e-reading device!  The first pre-orders downloaded at 00:11 GMT today.  Now you can get your own copy in less than a minute.

Click here to download from Amazon (UK)

Or:

Click here to download from Amazon (US)

Advanced copies were given out to independent reviewers.  Here’s what they wrote:

“…incredibly entertaining and keeping you turning the pages. I loved getting to know Myles Munro even more in this book, and admire the way the author skillfully works the plot …. All the characters are so real and believable and I was reading each page with a real sense of terror and tension.  An amazing read from an incredibly talented author.” (From Renita, on Goodreads)

“The main theme contained within the book is pretty pertinent and quite controversial but Mr King has tackled it very sensitively indeed, giving me as a reader quite a bit to think about.” (from Kath, on Goodreads)

“Iain King has done it again. The Last Prophecy of Rome was amazingly insightful dealing with history and current day events…. a thoroughly enjoyable book.” (from Sean, on Goodreads)

Last-Prophecy-of-Rome-A-gripping-action-packed-conspiracy-thriller-Kindle“I was completely hooked on this book within the first few pages and found myself reading oblivious. The plot is ingenious and contemporary, but weaving in some fascinating ideas about the reasons for the decline and fall of Rome. That’s the reason I thoroughly enjoyed this book – it is one of those rare things: a compelling thriller that also makes you think.” (from David, on Goodreads)

So far, every single review has awarded the book five stars out of five.  These reviews and more are available on the Goodreads website.

So – find out why everybody’s so excited – get the book now!

 

‘Last Prophecy of Rome’ – First Review

Here’s the very first review of ‘Last Prophecy of Rome’:

RenitaI absolutely adored Iain King’s debut and was waiting to get my hands on this prequel to The Secrets of The Last Nazi and wow! It is even better than the first!

With nail-biting suspense, thrilling plot twists, this amazing book is incredibly well researched and extremely topical, bringing to the fore the plight of refugees and the fragile state of the Middle East and Africa. This book raises questions and delivers warning, while at the same time being incredibly entertaining and keeping you turning the pages.  I loved getting to know Myles Munro even more in this book, and admire the way the author skilfully works the plot so we don’t quite know who’s in the right and who’s in the wrong. All the characters are so real and believable and I was reading each page with a real sense of terror and tension.

An amazing read from an incredibly talented author. I cannot wait for his next offering.

The review was published on ‘Goodreads’, here: https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/1509047350