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Ancient Days

Readers' Cafe

Across the Nightingale Floor
Aztec
The Clan of the Cave Bear
Cleopatra's Daughter
The Dog Master A Novel of the First Dog
Esther Royal Beauty
Fire from Heaven
The First Man in Rome
The Ides of April
Master and God
Medicus
Nefertiti
Odysseus The Oath
The Pericles Commission
Roma
The Secret Chord
The Seven Wonders
Shaman
The Source
The Sweet Girl
Across the Nightingale Floor / Lian Hearn

In his black-walled fortress at Inuyama, the warlord Iida Sadamu surveys his famous nightingale floor. Constructed with exquisite skill, it sings at the tread of each human foot. No assassin can cross it unheard.

The youth Takeo has been brought up in a remote mountain village among the Hidden, a reclusive and spiritual people who have taught him only the ways of peace. But unbeknownst to him, his father was a celebrated assassin and a member of the Tribe, an ancient network of families with extraordinary, preternatural skills. When Takeo's village is pillaged, he is rescued and adopted by the mysterious Lord Otori Shigeru. Under the tutelage of Shigeru, he learns that he too possesses the skills of the Tribe. And, with this knowledge, he embarks on a journey that will lead him across the famed nightingale floor-and to his own unimaginable destiny...? ? ?

Aztec / Gary Jennings

The extraordinary story of the last and greatest native civilization of North America. It is a story told in the words of one of the most robust and memorable characters in modern fiction. His name is Mixtli-Dark Cloud. Rising above his lowly station, Mixtli's insatiable thirst for challenge and far horizons reveals the very heart of Aztec civilization from the feather-banner splendor of the Aztec capital of Tenochtitlan to the arrival of Hernan Cortes and his conquistadores, and their destruction of the Aztec empire. A story of the Aztecs - a compelling, epic tale of heroic dignity and a colossal civilization's rise and fall. Los Angeles Times: "Anyone who reads, anyone who still lusts for adventure or that book you can't put down, will glory in Aztec.

The Clan of the Cave Bear / Jean M Auel

This novel of awesome beauty and power is a moving saga about people, relationships, and the boundaries of love. Through Jean M. Auel's magnificent storytelling we are taken back to the dawn of modern humans, and with a girl named Ayla we are swept up in the harsh and beautiful Ice Age world they shared with the ones who called themselves the Clan of the Cave Bear. A natural disaster leaves the young girl wandering alone in an unfamiliar and dangerous land until she is found by a woman of the Clan, people very different from her own kind. To them, blond, blue-eyed Ayla looks peculiar and ugly--she is one of the Others, those who have moved into their ancient homeland; but Iza cannot leave the girl to die and takes her with them. Iza and Creb, the old Mog-ur, grow to love her, and as Ayla learns the ways of the Clan and Iza's way of healing, most come to accept her.

Cleopatra's Daughter / Michelle Moran

The marriage of Marc Antony and Cleopatra is one of the greatest love stories of all time, a tale of unbridled passion with earth-shaking political consequences. Feared and hunted by the powers in Rome, the lovers choose to die by their own hands as the triumphant armies of Antony?s revengeful rival, Octavian, sweep into Egypt. Their three orphaned children are taken in chains to Rome; only two? the ten-year-old twins Selene and Alexander?survive the journey. Delivered to the household of Octavian?s sister, the siblings cling to each other and to the hope that they will return one day to their rightful place on the throne of Egypt. As they come of age, they are buffeted by the personal ambitions of Octavian?s family and court, by the ever-present threat of slave rebellion, and by the longings and desires deep within their own hearts.

The Dog Master: A Novel of the First Dog / W. Bruce Cameron

Thirty-thousand years ago, the fate of humanity rested on our ability to adapt to the last great glaciation, when ice stormed out of the north and forced us out of the trees and onto the steppes, where we were both hunter and hunted. Wolves, too, whose fortunes rise and fall with the health of the herds, could sense something different in the wind. When Silex, the young leader of the Wolfen tribe, brings tribute to a clever she-wolf, everything changes. The alpha wolf learns that in times of famine she can turn to man for food, a lesson passed on to her descendants

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Esther: Royal Beauty / Angela Hunt

When Xerxes, king of Persia, issues a call for beautiful young women, Hadassah, a Jewish orphan living in Susa, is forcibly taken to the palace of the pagan ruler. After months of preparation, the girl known to the Persians as Esther wins the king's heart and a queen's crown. But because her situation is uncertain, she keeps her ethnic identity a secret until she learns that an evil and ambitious man has won the king's permission to exterminate all Jews -- young and old, powerful and helpless ...?

Fire from Heaven / Mary Renault

Alexander's beauty, strength, and defiance were apparent from birth, but his boyhood honed those gifts into the makings of a king. His mother, Olympias, and his father, King Philip of Macedon, fought each other for their son's loyalty, teaching Alexander politics and vengeance from the cradle. His love for the youth Hephaistion taught him trust, while Aristotle's tutoring provoked his mind and Homer's Iliad fueled his aspirations. Killing his first man in battle at the age of twelve, he became regent at sixteen and commander of Macedon's cavalry at eighteen, so that by the time his father was murdered, Alexander's skills had grown to match his fiery ambition.

The First Man in Rome / Colleen McCullough

With extraordinary narrative power, New York Times bestselling author Colleen McCullough sweeps the reader into a whirlpool of pageantry and passion, bringing to vivid life the most glorious epoch in human history.

When the world cowered before the legions of Rome, two extraordinary men dreamed of personal glory: the military genius and wealthy rural "upstart" Marius, and Sulla, penniless and debauched but of aristocratic birth. Men of exceptional vision, courage, cunning, and ruthless ambition, separately they faced the insurmountable opposition of powerful, vindictive foes. Yet allied they could answer the treachery of rivals, lovers, enemy generals, and senatorial vipers with intricate and merciless machinations of their own - to achieve in the end a bloody and splendid foretold destiny . . . and win the most coveted honor the Republic could bestow.

The Ides of April / Lindsey Davis

Flavia Albia is the adopted daughter of Marcus Didius Falco and Helena Justina. From her mother, she learned how to blend in at all levels of society; from her father, she learned the tricks of their mutual professional trade. But her wits and (frequently) sharp tongue are hers alone.

Now, working as a private informer in Rome during the reign of Domitian, Flavia has taken over her father's old ramshackle digs at Fountain Court in the Surbura district, where she plies her trade with energy, determination, and the usual Falco luck. Recently hired to help investigate a fatal accident, she finds herself stuck with a truly awful person for a client and facing a well-heeled, well-connected opponent.

That is, until her client unexpectedly dies under what might be called "suspicious circumstances." While this is not a huge loss for society, it is a loss for Flavia Albia's pocket. Even worse, it's just one of a series of similar deaths for which she now finds herself under suspicion. Before things go from abysmal to worse, Flavia must sort out what is happening, and who is responsible, in Lindsey Davis' The Ides of April.

Master and God / Lindsey Davis

From New York Times bestselling novelist Lindsey Davis comes an epic novel of first-century Rome and the Emperor Domitian, known to all of the Roman world as Master and God.

Set in the reign of the Emperor Domitian in first-century Rome, Master and God is Lindsey Davis's meticulously researched epic novel of the life and times surrounding the last of the Flavian dynasty of emperors. Gaius Vinius is a reluctant Praetorian Guard -- the Emperor's personal guard -- and a man with a disastrous marriage history. Flavia Lucilla is also in the imperial court and she is responsible not only for having created the ridiculous hairstyle worn by the imperial ladies but for also making toupees for the balding and increasingly paranoid emperor. The two of them are brought together in an unlikely manner -- a devastating fire in Rome -- which then leads to a lifelong friendship.

Medicus / Ruth Downie

Gaius Petrius Ruso is a divorced and down-on his luck army doctor who has made the rash decision to seek his fortune in an inclement outpost of the Roman Empire, namely Britannia. His arrival in Deva (more commonly known as Chester, England) does little to improve his mood, and after a straight thirty six hour shift at the army hospital, he succumbs to a moment of weakness and rescues an injured slave girl, Tilla, from the hands of her abusive owner.

Now he has a new problem: a slave who won't talk and can't cook, and drags trouble in her wake. Before he knows it, Ruso is caught in the middle of an investigation into the deaths of prostitutes working out of the local bar. A few years earlier, after he rescued Emperor Trajan from an earthquake in Antioch, Ruso seemed headed for glory: now he's living among heathens in a vermin-infested bachelor pad and must summon all his forensic knowledge to find a killer who may be after him next.

Who are the true barbarians, the conquered or the conquerors? It's up to Ruso -- certainly the most likeable sleuth to come out of the Roman Empire -- to discover the truth. With a gift for comic timing and historic detail, Ruth Downie has conjured an ancient world as raucous and real as our own.

Nefertiti / Nick Drake

She is called "The Perfect One," the most famous and beautiful woman in the ancient world. She rules with her husband Akhenaten over the most powerful, sophisticated and affluent society the world has ever seen and across an empire that stretches from Africa through the Middle East.

But behind these glorious scenes an epic power struggle is taking place: Nefertiti and Akhenaten inaugurate an enlightened new religion and build a magnificent and mysterious new capital, Akhetaten, in which to worship the Sun God, the Aten. The delicate balance of power in Egypt is thrown into confusion. The priesthood is stripped of its traditional authority and wealth, the army is enraged by the growing turbulence in the empire, and the people resent the loss of their gods. Old alliances are brought into doubt, and generations of inherited power and wealth are suddenly at stake.

And then, just days before the crucial festival to celebrate the new capital, Nefertiti suddenly vanishes. Rai Rahotep, the youngest chief detective in the Thebes division, with a rising reputation for his original methods, is secretly assigned by Akhenaten himself to investigate. He has ten days to find the Queen and return her in time for the celebrations. Success will bring glory - but if Rai fails, he and his family will die. . . .

Odysseus: The Oath / Valerio Massimo Manfredi

This is the first title in an epic series following the life of Odysseus - adventure, passion and battle in ancient Greece.?

As a young boy in Ithaca, Odysseus listens in wonder to his grandfather Autolykos, a man feared by many across the land as a ruthless fighter. He learns of his heritage and a lifelong passion is sparked: to become an adventurer and warrior. In Mycenae, he meets King Eurystheus and learns the terrible story of Hercules - the man with god-like strength who slaughtered his family and punished by the King to undertake impossible tasks to earn absolution. But is Eurystheus the man he says he is? When a child comes to Odysseus in the middle of the night, with another, very disturbing, version of what happened that fateful night, Odysseus embarks on the first of his extraordinary quests.

The Pericles Commission / Gary Corby

Nicolaos walks the mean streets of Classical Athens as an agent for the promising young politician Pericles. His mission is to find the assassin of the statesman Ephialtes, the man who brought democracy to Athens and whose murder has thrown the city into uproar. It's a job not made any easier by the increasing number of dead witnesses. But murder and mayhem don't bother Nico; what's really on his mind is how to get closer (much closer) to Diotima, the intelligent and annoyingly virgin priestess of Artemis, and how to shake off his irritating twelve-year-old brother Socrates.

Roma / Steven Saylor

Spanning a thousand years, and following the shifting fortunes of two families though the ages, this is the epic saga of Rome, the city and its people.???? Weaving history, legend, and new archaeological discoveries into a spellbinding narrative, critically acclaimed novelist Steven Saylor gives new life to the drama of the city?s first thousand years ? from the founding of the city by the ill-fated twins Romulus and Remus, through Rome?s astonishing ascent to become the capitol of the most powerful empire in history. Roma recounts the tragedy of the hero-traitor Coriolanus, the capture of the city by the Gauls, the invasion of Hannibal, the bitter political struggles of the patricians and plebeians, and the ultimate death of Rome?s republic with the triumph, and assassination, of Julius Caesar.

The Secret Chord / Geraldine Brooks

A rich and utterly absorbing novel about the life of King David, from the Pulitzer Prize winning author of People of the Book and?March.?

The Secret Chord provides new context for some of the best-known episodes of David s life while also focusing on others, even more remarkable and emotionally intense, that have been neglected. We see David through the eyes of those who love him or fear him from the prophet Natan, voice of his conscience, to his wives Mikal, Avigail, and Batsheva, and finally to Solomon, the late-born son who redeems his Lear-like old age. Brooks has an uncanny ability to hear and transform characters from history, and this beautifully written, unvarnished saga of faith, desire, family, ambition, betrayal, and power will enthrall her many fans.?

The Seven Wonders / Steven Saylor

The year is 92 B.C. Gordianus has just turned eighteen and is about to embark on the adventure of a lifetime: a far-flung journey to see the Seven Wonders of the World. Gordianus is not yet called "the Finder" -- but at each of the Seven Wonders, the wide-eyed young Roman encounters a mystery to challenge the powers of deduction.

Accompanying Gordianus on his travels is his tutor, Antipater of Sidon, the world's most celebrated poet. But there is more to the apparently harmless old poet than meets the eye. Before they leave home, Antipater fakes his own death and travels under an assumed identity. Looming in the background are the first rumblings of a political upheaval that will shake the entire Roman world.Teacher and pupil journey to the fabled cities of Greece and Asia Minor, and then to Babylon and Egypt.

Shaman / Kim Stanley Robinson

Kim Stanley Robinson, the New York Times bestselling author of science fiction masterworks such as the Mars trilogy and 2312, has, on many occasions, imagined our future. Now, in SHAMAN, he brings our past to life as never before.

There is Thorn, a shaman himself. He lives to pass down his wisdom and his stories -- to teach those who would follow in his footsteps.There is Heather, the healer who, in many ways, holds the clan together.There is Elga, an outsider and the bringer of change.And then there is Loon, the next shaman, who is determined to find his own path. But in a world so treacherous, that journey is never simple -- and where it may lead is never certain.SHAMAN is a powerful, thrilling and heartbreaking story of one young man's journey into adulthood -- and an awe-inspiring vision of how we lived thirty thousand years ago.

The Source / James A. Michener

In his signature style of grand storytelling, James A. Michener transports us back thousands of years to the Holy Land. Through the discoveries of modern archaeologists excavating the site of Tell Makor, Michener vividly re-creates life in an ancient city and traces the profound history of the Jewish people - from the persecution of the early Hebrews, the rise of Christianity, and the Crusades to the founding of Israel and the modern conflict in the Middle East. An epic tale of love, strength, and faith, The Source is a richly written saga that encompasses the history of Western civilization and the great religious and cultural ideas that have shaped our world.

The Sweet Girl / Annabel Lyon

From the award-winning author of The Golden Mean, a captivating, wholly transporting new novel that follows Aristotle?s strong-willed daughter as she shapes her own destiny: an unexpected love story, a tender portrait of a girl and her father, and an astonishing journey through the underbelly of a supposedly enlightened society. Aristotle has never been able to resist a keen mind, and Pythias is certainly her father?s daughter: besting his brightest students, refusing to content herself with a life circumscribed by the kitchen, the loom, and, eventually, a husband. Into her teenage years, she is protected by the reputation of her adored father, but with the death of Alexander the Great, her fortunes suddenly change. Aristotle?s family is forced to flee Athens for a small town, where the great philosopher soon dies, and orphaned Pythias quickly discovers that the world is not a place of logic after all, but one of superstition.

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