Book Excerpt The Leopard Vanguard

November 21, 2014 at 12:24 am 1 comment

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Book Excerpt

Prologue: The Opportune Battle

{March 12th, 36 AD}

“Ad augusta per angusta.”

“To high places by narrow roads.” –Latin expression

One/Unus

At the edge of the world’s greatest Empire, two armies gathered on a battlefield.

Tullus Acilius Ulixes, Prime officer of the First Cohort, and senior Centurion of the 3rd Legion, watched the opposing army of Parthians gathering in the distance. Here he was, surveying another battleground: this one a grassland, dotted with short clover patches stretched out over an expanse, soft earth under his feet. Men would die here today. “ I hear the Parthians are quite an effective fighting force,” Tullus said. His friend and Optio, Decimus Axius, was preparing to leave for the final inspection. Around them men were preparing the siege engines for battle.

“I hope this young Prince our leaders are backing is worth the blood and sweat of five thousand Roman soldiers,” Decimus said.

“Vitellius knows what he’s doing, Decimus. Besides, Emperor Tiberius wants the incumbent Artabanus II off the Parthian throne. He says this new figurehead Prince, Tridates, will bring stability along our eastern borders.”

“Sometimes you sound more like a bloody politician than a Roman officer, Tullus,” Decimus said. He trudged off to inspect the ranks.

Tullus grinned. He certainly didn’t feel like a politician: dressed in his steel helm with transverse red plume crest, ring mail shirt under a leather harness decorated with gold phalerae. Leather pteruges extended beneath his harness while a blue cloak and greaves completed his uniform. Tullus turned to admire the first line of his troops: dressed in their strip armor, iron helms and armed with shields and spears. Despite the tedious four day march from their base in Syria they were ready for battle–that’s what it meant to march under the Eagles of Rome.                            The pale blue heavens stretched out above him, filled with soft clouds outlining the yellow sun. His attention centered on a jagged cloud resembling a Griffin’s head as it announced its regal presence across the sky. He had seen a drawing of a Combat Griffin once, in a cave, when he was a boy, its image forever etched in his memory. The majestic creatures had disappeared years ago, while their legendary riders, the Air Paladins, had faded into history. Tullus sighed and turned his attention back to his surroundings. The sun beat down on him mercilessly, warm for March, and it would get warmer once the battle commenced–the close proximity of men killing one another did that.

            “Something on your mind, Tullus?” Decimus was back from his inspection.

Tullus eyed the jagged cloud again. “What I wouldn’t do for an Air Legion of Combat Griffins above us.”

“And who would ride them my friend?”

“Well it wouldn’t be me, Decimus. You know I don’t like heights.”

The Leopard Vanguard

Tome OneTitle: The Leopard Vanguard

Author: T.A. Uner

Genre: Historical Fantasy

Set during the early years of the reign of the Mad Emperor Caligula,this first installment of the Leopard King Saga introduces us to Tullus, a gifted Roman Centurion who resigns his elite position in the Praetorian Guard to join a troupe of circus performers and learn more about his hidden magical talents. Along with his new partner, a magical Leopardess named Celestra, he re-invents himself as The Leopard King, the most famous entertainer in all the Roman Empire. But when Tullus’ friend and Circus Ringmaster, Paullus Gabinius, is killed, Tullus and Celestra find themselves immersed in political intrigue and up against Paullus’ killers. Their struggle to avenge Paullus will also cause them to cross paths with corrupt Roman politicians, who know Paullus’ deadly secret-which has the power to destroy the Roman Empire.

Author Bio

AuthorPicT.A.UnerT.A. Uner is a former Management Professional who spent over 15 years working for various fortune 50 companies listed on the New York Stock Exchange.

An accomplished public speaker and event promoter, he is also a graduate of George Mason University, and holds a Bachelors degree in Speech Communication and History.

A finalist in The 2010 Moonlight Mesa short fiction contest, his first short story, “The Banker’s Wife,” was published internationally in an anthology titled, Award Winning Tales. Mr. Uner lives in Virginia. He is the author of the Leopard King Saga and other works.

He looks forward to more readers discovering the life-like characters that inhabit his stories.

Links

http://www.leopardkingsaga.com/

http://www.amazon.com/T.A.-Uner/e/B00EOSNR9K/

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