|About the Book|
His name has been stricken from any Biblical record, maligned throughout history ― a Roman soldier called Pantera who some allege was the father of Jesus, either through rape or an adulterous liaison with Mary.A first-century tombstone exists in Bingerbrück, Germany, dedicated to a Roman named Tiberius Julius Abdes Pantera, a native of Phoenicia, a neighboring province of Galilee and Judea. What if this man, a centurion and archer, was the Pantera of legends? And what if the legends were true?In Pantera,Tiberius Julius Abdes Pantera ― or Abdes, as he is called ― is a seventeen-year-old soldier undergoing training to join the Seventh Cohort of the Third Gallicauxiliary, stationed just outside of the ancient city of Sepphoris in Galilee. While on leave in the bustling city, Abdes stumbles upon a shocking scene: two Roman soldiers raping a young Jewish woman. Abdes fends them off, but is stabbed in the process and left for dead. When Abdes awakens, he is in the protective custody of the Roman urban cohort, or police force, in Sepphoris. He is told that the young woman had been discovered brutally murdered near his body and that his Roman name ― Pantera ― had been leaked as the culprit. The Jewish citizens of Sepphoris clamor daily for Pantera’s execution. It’s a tremendous strain to the already-weak relationship between the Romans, who govern the city in the stead of King Herod, and the mostly Jewish population.The urban cohort believes Abdes is innocent, and puts him to work as a scribe. Through his endeavors, he uncovers a conspiracy among some of the leading city officials, Jewish clergy and radical clerics eager for revolution against the Romans. The conspiracy stretches deep, and, as Abdes discovers, even includes Roman officers ― possibly the Prefect of Sepphoris himself.Along the way, Abdes falls in love with a beautiful prostitute named Salome, and vows to free her from her servitude. He also befriends a young Jewish woman named Maryam and her husband, a local artisan named Yoseph. When Maryam’s son, Yeshua, is born, Abdes learns of a trail of violent, murderous acts undertaken by King Herod in Jerusalem, leading northward to his new friends in Nazareth and tries to save them from certain harm.All along, his identity as the hated and falsely accused Pantera has been kept a secret, but when it is revealed, it may cost him his life -- if not from the mob determined to overthrow Sepphoris and see him crucified, then from the conspirator within the Roman city cohort itself.