Brian’s Book of Bastards

Brian at the Seattle Mystery BookstoreA writer buddy of mine, Brian Thornton, has just released his second book about notorious scoundrels of history, The Book Of Ancient Bastards. I picked up a copy at Brian’s book signing and release party at The Seattle Mystery Bookshop last weekend, and I’m enjoying it immensely. Brian, a history teacher by training, has a penchant for unearthing little known facts about political figures who abused their power and position, or who ran amok, killing off rivals and bringing ruin to the nations they held sway over.

In the photo, Brian is either (A) fanning his fingers to cool them down after signing so many copies, (B) calling for staff to eject a heckler, or (C) about to flip an admonishing finger at someone. I was right there at the time but somehow missed the moment. Had my nose in a book, no doubt.

Anyway, it’s incredible what you can uncover if you’ve a mind to, as Brian does. Before opening The Book Of Ancient Bastards, I’d thought there was only one Cleopatra. Au contraire, there were dozens of ’em, reigning throughout the Ptolemaic Dynasty of ancient Egypt. And as Brian so well illustrates, each new Cleo seemed a little more evil than the last. That snake-bitey little girl who ended the line really didn’t have a thing on some of her predecessors.

And, among Caesars, watch out! Most of us are aware that there were some poorly behaved fellows among ancient Rome’s ruling class, but the bounds of acceptable amounts of fratricide, patricide, matricide and what-have-you-cide were so flagrantly ignored by so many Caesars, that you wonder how Rome didn’t fall on a daily basis.

So check it out. Cool book.

About Tom Hopp

Thomas P Hopp is a scientist and author living in Seattle. He writes medical thrillers, natural disaster novels, and the Dinosaur Wars science fiction series.
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