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"Aquila et Noctua" by P.J. Mann - IHIBRP 5-Star Book Review

A Beautiful & Inspiring Story About A Palestinian Slave In Ancient Rome!

Overview: In a time when jealousy, honor, and rivalries bear monumental questions about life and death, a young Palestinian slave named Saul tries to protect himself against the many trials of ancient Roman life in order to survive his Masters’ ultimate authority.

It is a rare gift for a writer to be able to place themselves inside the mind of a character who lived in ancient times... It is a rarer gift still to be able to delve into that character’s life and personality with such emotion and consideration of their circumstances that that character’s existence will inevitably sweep a reader right off their feet. In her truly remarkable and tragic Historical Fiction novel, “Aquila et Noctua”, Author P.J. Mann captures her audience by immersing readers directly into the hearts, minds, and souls of her three main protagonists (Saul—the slave, Marcus Tiberius—his Roman Master, and Flavius—Marcus Tiberius’ son).

From the very beginning of “Aquila et Noctua”, readers are plunged into the tragic life of Saul, a 12-year-old Jew whose immediate family is torn apart, enslaved, and brought to the Eternal City to be sold by their overlords—the Roman Empire. With the annihilation of his old life in an entitled Jewish family, Saul is stunned and confused over what to expect as a slave to Rome. It’s only when he’s dragged from his prison cage to face the auctioneer that he realizes he has lost his freedom and will never see his family again.

P.J. Mann builds a compelling and provocative story around the relationship between Saul and his new Master, a wealthy and influential Roman citizen named Marcus Tiberius. Marcus Tiberias, who is completely enamored by the youth’s beauty, wisdom, and wit, falls deeply in love with Saul, but complications begin to arise when he fulfills his original intention to pledge the slave to his son, Flavius, as his property, counsel, and friend. The rivalry between father and son, along with the contested love triangle that forms between the three males, soon turns sour. Saul’s life is further complicated when Flavius—who has barely begun his life at thirteen—is forced into a contractual marriage with the beautiful but sinfully entitled Claudia. Saul’s life is placed in grave jeopardy when Master Flavius—now a married adult—is kidnapped by armed aggressors and the slave-hating Claudia is left in sole charge of the household.

Author Mann’s historical research on this era in ancient Roman history, as well as the associated timeline, customs, laws, and culture of both Rome and Palestine, is commendable. As an expert in the early Roman Empire and the occupation of Palestinia (which was comprised of Judea, Samaria, and Galilee) in the first century C.E., I found no wayward facts to detract me from the historical references associated with this story. Other than an occasional editing issue, Mann has done a superb job in writing a beautiful and inspiring tale about the challenges presented to the young Palestinian slave serving an elite ancient Roman family. His is a story you will never forget.

I highly recommend this novel to anyone who loves Historical Fiction, Historical Romance, Mystery, Suspense, Thrillers, Revenge Thrillers, or Gay Romance in a first-century Roman setting. With certain reservations (see below), I would also recommend this read as accompanying literature to a college or university class on the daily life and customs among slaves and their masters in Ancient Rome.

This novel contains graphic violence, violent mistreatment of individuals, adult sexual situations, gay romance, rape, kidnapping, and strong language. Individuals who are triggered by any of these issues should take proper precautions when selecting this novel as a possible read.

Congratulations to the author on this award-winning story! This novel will be permanently featured on my website at under IHIBRP 5 Star Recommended Reads!

Find "Aquila et Noctua" by P.J. Mann on Amazon & Kindle here.

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