Prince of Persia
120 pages
English

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120 pages
English

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Description

Winner of the “Word Guild Best New Manuscript Award 2021.” Join the exciting and perilous adventures of Nabonidus, the emperor’s champion gladiator, who finds Messiah Yeshua then returns to his homeland hoping to find his place in a world of great warriors. Set in first-century Persia in a chaotic flux of Orient and Occident, Nabonidus and his wife, Daphne, flee Ephesus to seek out Nabonidus’ roots but their lives are ripped apart. Caught between the Elamite rebels and Parthian Magi, will they survive? Will Daphne ever be reunited with Nabonidus? Discover the quests of Nabonidus and Daphne and determine for yourself if Nabonidus is the true Prince of Persia.


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Publié par
Date de parution 07 mai 2022
Nombre de lectures 2
EAN13 9781988928609
Langue English
Poids de l'ouvrage 1 Mo

Informations légales : prix de location à la page 0,0500€. Cette information est donnée uniquement à titre indicatif conformément à la législation en vigueur.

Extrait

PRINCE OF PERSIA
Copyright ©2022 Jack Taylor
978-1-988928-59-3 Soft Cover
978-1-988928-60-9 E-book
Published by Castle Quay Books
Burlington, Ontario, Canada and Jupiter, Florida, U.S.A.
416-573-3249 | info@castlequaybooks.com | www.castlequaybooks.com
Edited by Marina Hofman Willard
Cover design and book interior by Burst Impressions
Printed in Canada
All rights reserved. This book or parts thereof may not be reproduced in any form without prior written permission of the publishers.
Library and Archives Canada Cataloguing in Publication
Title: The Prince of Persia / by Jack Taylor.
Names: Taylor, Jack A., 1956- author.
Identifiers: Canadiana 20220150222 | ISBN 9781988928593 (softcover)
Subjects: LCGFT: Novels.
Classification: LCC PS8639.A9515 P75 2022 | DDC C813/.6—dc23

Dedicated to good wives everywhere who try to make a difference
in who they are and in whatever they do.


I
A razor-edged blade at the throat is a clear attention getter. Nabonidus swallowed as he considered this barrier to finding his roots. Was he descended from king or noble? What matter did it make? He might be decorated with the triumph of champions, but that meant nothing if he was as dead as a rat under the hooves of a warhorse.
Nabonidus gagged as if swallowing an oversized piece of gristle. The stench of decayed flesh, unwashed humanity, and leather-covered beast overpowered his senses. The bloodstained lance remained steady under his chin.
The mounted Parthian warrior opposite him cradled the weapon with intent to use. He was dressed in the garb of the dreaded cataphract, an elite brigade of heavily armed guardians to the Magi and the monarchy. He and his horse were shrouded in scale armor. The scarlet helmet with a black plume out of the top and white streamers from the side marked the warrior’s high rank.
The reins burned against Nabonidus’s calloused fingers as the lead ox stumbled another step forward. Persian warriors in the gladiator arena in Ephesus had fallen to his skills as the emperor’s champion, but he’d always been armed and prepared. His flight from Roman persecution had thrust him from one forum of death into another. The fiery eyes of the assassin with the lance showed no interest in a fair fight. They stayed focused on Nabonidus as he straightened and the lance maintained its distance. Escape would be challenging.
Extracting a leather pouch from inside his tunic, he cradled it in his palm. Then he loosened the cord around the neck of the pouch and held out the offering. An aromatic, musty pine with hints of citrus and an earthy scent like rosemary filled the air. “Frankincense,” he said. “I bring the gift of kings.”
The cataphract flicked his lance at the offering, leaving the contents of the bag spilling onto Nabonidus’s leather legwear. He ignored the unleashed aroma filling the air between them. “Be still!” he commanded.
Charging into view, a dozen archers with bows drawn sealed off the road. Their white pantaloons, baggy blue shirts, and long hair held back with leather headbands gave them freedom of movement on their speedy steeds. The quivers strapped to their backs housed handfuls of metal-tipped missiles. Their black Friesian warhorses boasted powerful, sloping shoulders on compact muscular bodies with long, thick manes like their riders. Lengthy silky tails dropped as the brigade halted twenty strides away.
Two weeks before, Nabonidus had ferried across the Tigris River and made his way toward the lower Zagros Mountains. An hour before being stopped by the cataphract warrior, Nabonidus had crossed the Karkheh River and focused on the king’s palace at Susa. His wife, Daphne, was safe with followers of the Way in a village nearby. A sixth sense had warned him danger was close.
They had argued for days prior to the separation. “I need to find out who I am,” he said, “before I can share the good news with my people. I’m done with killing. I want peace—inside and outside.” Only his uncle could tell him of the family roots.
Daphne didn’t want to be left alone in a foreign land with strangers. “Take me with you!” she pleaded to no avail. “I can’t do this by myself. All I want is to have a quiet life with you.”
He’d been five when an ambush killed his parents in this very area. His sister had been snatched, and he’d been shipped out to become a slave in Palestine. A Roman centurion had sentenced him to a warship’s galley for five years and then sold him to a ludus of gladiators in Ephesus. Thirty kills against other champions had won him his freedom. He had helped Yeshua’s cousin, John, found a community of faith in the city. None of that mattered now.
Scattered fragments of his mother tongue fountained to the surface of his mind as the warrior shouted at Nabonidus. In the arena, ice had flowed through his veins as he prepared to strike. That sense grew now, but he fought it off, staring directly into the eyes of his challenger. The cataphract drove his lance through the back and into the heart of one ox. The beast buckled at the knees while its partner bawled in protest. Nabonidus remained stiff as a marble statue.
The warrior motioned to one of the archers, who trotted forward. The man probed Nabonidus in Greek, Egyptian, Syrian, Aramaic, and Latin. “Who are you?”
Nabonidus understood each probe but answered in Hebrew. “I am Nabonidus of the family Maimonides.”
At the mention of the Maimonides family name, another archer walked his horse closer. He spoke in Hebrew. “The Maimonides name is a royal title. To claim such a name is a death sentence for an outsider. Step down from your cart.”
Nabonidus did so, standing with arms crossed over his chest. The midday sun glistened off his forehead and rivulets of sweat streamed down his back. He clenched his fist and controlled his breath. In. Out. In. Out.
The cataphract lanced the second ox in the heart. It buckled onto the first dead one. An archer dismounted, sparked a flame with a flint and lit the cart on fire. The gifts Nabonidus had brought for his uncle sizzled and singed. Nabonidus looked straight ahead.
The Hebrew-speaking archer drew his dagger and stepped in front of Nabonidus. “My grandfather visited Palestine to honor one who the stars said was the King of kings. Are you that one?” The rest of the warriors dismounted and stepped forward.
“I know of the one you speak,” Nabonidus said. “He was crucified by the Romans, was buried, and then resurrected.”
The archer’s brow wrinkled. “This King of kings—you say He died and came alive again? The Romans could not destroy Him?” The men moved into a circle with daggers drawn.
Nabonidus shook his head. The circle around him was now complete.
The interrogating archer stepped closer. “Has this royal son sent you to call us as His army to destroy the Romans and to take His place on the throne of our empire?”
Another head shake. “The King of kings does not need help to win His throne.”
“Then why have you come? And why have you come now?”
“I come in His name, not for war, but for peace. I also come because it was in this place that my family was ambushed and I was taken as a slave for the Romans.”
“So you seek the throne for yourself?”
“I seek it for no one. I only come in peace to see my uncle.”
“And who is this uncle?”
“His name is A rdeshir of the family Maimonides.”
Within a flash, the group was on him, kicking out his feet and laying him facedown in the dirt. The fall winded him, but he fought his instinctive reflexes and lay still. Leather straps appeared and were used to bind his hands and feet. A cloth covered his eyes. In a moment, he was manhandled and dumped across a horse saddle. His hands were tied to his feet under the belly of the animal. This was not the welcome he imagined.

Daphne waited patiently by the village well where Nabonidus had left her. She rubbed her abdomen knowingly and smiled at what would come to be. Her husband wanted to get to his uncle’s place in Susa before nightfall but hesitated to leave her alone. She had assured him that all would be well. They’d been traveling for six months by camel, horse, and donkey cart, and she was happy to embrace the thought of arrival.
The donkey stood guard like a dog looking down the road where its master had vanished. Perhaps feeling betrayed by the pair of oxen which had taken its place. The beast turned and nosed at the folds of her earth-toned tunic. Her husband always kept a carrot for the animal, and she expected the gesture. She pulled out the treat and fed it to the appreciative donkey. The hairy lips tickled the palm of her hand.
With the blanket off, the black cross down the donkey’s brown neck and back stood out strongly. Yeshua had ridden a beast exactly like this a week before his crucifixion. The only difference was that this donkey’s cross was strangely broken. Halfway down its spine the cross broke off in a jagged portion toward its right side. She rubbed her hand along the cross and traced the edge of the broken stripe.
People-watching stimulated her mind into storytelling. As she watched the butcher carrying the six white hens by their feet, the scene in Daphne’s mind became a loving father with six children who couldn’t decide what to get them for N owruz—the Persian New Year. The old woman feeding corn husks to five large hogs in a pen filled with mud became a Zoroastrian fattening them up for her special pudding to feed her grandchildren on Yalda—the feast to celebrate the winter solstice and light’s triumph over darkness. People everywhere lived to celebrate.
A red hawk circled over a nearby field much like hawks circled fields near Ephesus, Tarsus, Damascus, Nineveh, Babylon, and every place in between where she and her husband had rested and replenished their supplies. Women arrived wi

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