The Eagle and The Dragon: A Novel of Rome and China is my first full-length novel, historical fiction framed by two historical events: the Gan Ying expedition to Rome in 97AD, and a Roman presence in the court of China in 166AD. Between those two events would have been the first Roman mission to China. The story of that mission is lost to us, but perhaps it went something like this:
When Senator Aulus Aemilius Galba is tapped to lead the first Roman mission to China, he anticipates an easy path to fame and fortune. Gaius Lucullus, a rising Roman Army officer of the Twelfth Thunderbolt Legion, sees a bright military future, but his reluctant centurion, Antonius Aristides, would rather be somewhere, anywhere, else! Translators Marcia Lucia and her brother Marcus, taken from their Chinese village to serve the Han court, abused and despised, are hiding a horrible secret. A notorious Arab pirate, with a Roman price on his head and crucifixion in his future, shadows the entourage, seeking the wealthy prize of their treasure-laden ships. But Fate has other plans for these unlikely companions, sending them together on a journey that will take them thousands of miles by sea and land across the tapestry of the mysterious worlds of the first century. From the storm-tossed Indian Ocean to the opulent Hanaean court, from the wild grassy steppes north of China to the forbidding peaks of the Pamir Mountains of Bactria, they fight to for their lives, hoping to find the road that will lead them back to Rome.
This is a seventeen thousand mile journey by sea and by land across three continents. Danger and adventure lurk at every turn!