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The Last Stoic

The Last Stoic

 

 

 

Morgan Wade

 

Author: Morgan Wade

Title: The Last Stoic

ISBN: 978-1-897475-63-8

Trade Paperback: 253 pages – 6 X 9 

Suggested Retail (Paperback): $22.95  (E-Book: $2.99)

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Long-listed for the 2012 ReLit Award for Fiction

 

_The Last Stoic - Front CoverThe Last Stoic is a story about appetite and fear, both modern and ancient.

Half of the story’s narrative occurs in the time and place of the ancient Roman Empire; the other half occurs in the present-day United States. A central conceit of the novel is that the parallels between the two eras are so strong that the narrative can continue uninterrupted as the setting shifts from historic Rome to modern America, alternating from chapter to chapter.

Marcus, a young man from a northern provincial border town, journeys deep into the heart of the empire and witnesses first-hand the excesses that can lead to ruin, both personal and political. His story offers an ancient commentary on the preoccupations of our own turbulent times.

Shortly after his arrival, the empire is thrown into a panic by an unprecedented barbarian attack on the capital. Suspicion and paranoia abound. A young Roman/American runaway named Patrick, disillusioned with his own life and the state of his country, becomes convinced that Marcus is a dangerous traitor. Culminating in a public accusation made by Patrick, Marcus is wrongfully imprisoned, exiled and tortured as an enemy of the state. In prison, he confronts the many contradictions he has found in his adopted home, and in himself.

Throughout the story, in both eras, the writings of the philosopher-emperor Marcus Aurelius (The Meditations) insinuate themselves unexpectedly into Marcus’ life. In prison, he is saved by a chance meeting with Sextus Condianus, the “last Stoic” of the title, a cell-mate who is able to fully recite Aurelius’ words and impart their wisdom. Ultimately, it is this unanticipated and unbidden instruction that gives the young man the strength he requires to survive. It becomes evident that the words of the venerable Stoic emperor have as much relevance to our own era as they did to his.

 

Blurbs:

76 Words:

“The Last Stoic” is a story about appetite and fear, both modern and ancient.  Half of the story’s narrative occurs in the time and place of the ancient Roman Empire; the other half occurs in the present-day United States, alternating from chapter to chapter.  Marcus, a young man from a northern provincial border town, journeys deep into the heart of the empire and witnesses first-hand the excesses that can lead to ruin, both personal and political.”

305 Words:

The Last Stoic is a story about appetite and fear, both modern and ancient.  Half of the story’s narrative occurs in the time and place of the ancient Roman Empire; the other half occurs in the present-day United States. A central conceit of the novel is that the parallels between the two eras are so strong that the narrative can continue uninterrupted as the setting shifts from historic Rome to modern America, alternating from chapter to chapter.

Marcus, a young man from a northern provincial border town, journeys deep into the heart of the empire and witnesses first-hand the excesses that can lead to ruin, both personal and political. His story offers an ancient commentary on the preoccupations of our own turbulent times.

Shortly after his arrival, the empire is thrown into a panic by an unprecedented barbarian attack on the capital. Suspicion and paranoia abound. A young Roman/American runaway named Patrick, disillusioned with his own life and the state of his country, becomes convinced that Marcus is a dangerous traitor. Culminating in a public accusation made by Patrick, Marcus is wrongfully imprisoned, exiled and tortured as an enemy of the state. In prison, he confronts the many contradictions he has found in his adopted home, and in himself.

Throughout the story, in both eras, the writings of the philosopher-emperor Marcus Aurelius (The Meditations) insinuate themselves unexpectedly into Marcus’ life. In prison, he is saved by a chance meeting with Sextus Condianus, the “last Stoic” of the title, a cell-mate who is able to fully recite Aurelius’ words and impart their wisdom. Ultimately, it is this unanticipated and unbidden instruction that gives the young man the strength he requires to survive. It becomes evident that the words of the venerable Stoic emperor have as much relevance to our own era as they did to his.

 

 

Reviews about this book:

 

Morgan has written a book that is highly original and beautifully executed. The balance between the Roman world and the modern world is maintained with skill and adroitness, and the narrative is deftly woven through both of these time periods, never faltering or losing momentum. 

The Last Stoic is a fascinating, parallel look at two societies that are not, as it turns out, as different or distinct as one might think.

 

Helen Humphreys

Author of four books of poetry and five novels.

Winner of the Rogers Writers’ Trust Fiction Prize and the Lambda Prize for Fiction.

 

“Sometimes the axiom that history repeats itself it can seem like deja vu, so startling are the similarities. That’s what sent Morgan Wade on his way to creating his first novel, The Last Stoic, which shows the parallels between the ancient Roman Empire and former president George Bush’s United States.”

 

Greg Burliuk

Kingston Whig-Standard