Praise for Belisarius:
"...The book strikes one as a conservative rallying cry to the 'Christian West' today...It presents and argues for, in an understated way, a Christian way of war, to be waged by manly men who value purity and patriotism for the sake of preserving Christian civilization. Nobiscum Deus, they cry in battle. So does this book. Not that the book deliberately carries a political message. On its own terms, it is an ambitious tale, filled with action, spectacle, and intrigues of all kinds....It is painstakingly authentic in its historical, military, and religious detail, assiduously researched and replete with facts....Not only is it driven by costumed action and Dune-like plots-within-plots, the gap between Emperor Constantine and the recapture of Rome, where Christendom was overshadowed by her towering enemies and in peril of extinction, is a too often neglected era of the Church's life. Catholic author Paolo Belzoni specializes in Byzantine history, and the atmosphere throughout Belisarius, both domestic and abroad, is painted with historical authenticity and great research. Journey with Belisarius in this faith enriching novel as he distinguishes himself amongst his peers and rises to be one of the greatest and most saintly generals in Western history."
(Kolbe Academy Little Home Journal)
"A superb Ancient Rome tale that brings to life one of of his career under the emperors Justin and Justinian. A devout man in a world of pagans, Arians, and less than sterling Catholics, young Belisarius earns his command. Young readers will learn a bit about the sixth century, one of the less studied epochs of history, while meeting a gallery of interesting characters drawn from all parts of the empire and outside. A map is provided along with diagrams of major battles."
(Colleen Drippe, Editor, Hereditas Magazine)
"Book I in a trilogy about the famed Byzantine general who briefly expanded the Roman Empire again. It begins with childhood vignettes and teenage exploits in fighting marauders, until the hero and his friends leave the Thracian town of Germania to seek their fortune as soldiers under the emperor Justin, and the story takes off....Life in Constantinople, at the imperial court, and in the army, is imaginatively handled. The emperor Justin comes off as a crusty--and crafty--old soldier, whereas Justinian is already depicted as under the influence of Theodora....The Persian wars take up much of the story, and military history buffs will enjoy the descriptions of the various campaigns and battle scenes. A religious theme runs through the story, best embodied in Belisarius' boyhood friend Florentius....Belisarius and most other major characters in the story are well-developed.
(Irene B. Hahn, About.com, Ancient History)About the book:
The year is AD 504. The all-powerful Roman Empire lies in tatters, its western provinces dismembered into a patchwork of new kingdoms ruled by barbarians. Britain has been abandoned by the Romans for almost 100 years. Gaul, conquered by Caesar, is ruled by a Frankish king. Spain, which produced the Roman emperors Trajan and Theodosius the Great is now the seat of the Visigoths. North Africa, birthplace of St. Augustine, groans under the overlordship of the Vandals. Even Italy and the Eternal City of Rome herself are under the rule of a powerful Ostrogothic king.
In Constantinople, the New Rome, the Eastern Roman emperor is beset by problems. New and dangerous barbarian hordes appear on the frontier year after year. The powerful king of Persia demands tribute and threatens Roman Mesopotamia and Syria. Religious controversies spawn catastrophic military uprisings.
But unbeknownst to all, in that same year was born Belisarius, the greatest Roman general of them all. At a time when Roman power was thought to be practically extinct, Belisarius did what no sane Roman thought possible. He went toe-to-toe with the empire's most powerful enemies.
Belisarius: The First Shall Be Last is a historical novel that recreates the early life of this amazing hero. Filled with action and intrigue, the book is replete with historical and religious detail drawn from ancient historians like Procopius, Agathias, John Malalas, and many others. The novel is a fascinating introduction to the Justinianic period—the last gasp of the Roman Empire and the infancy of Christendom in both the East and West.About the Author:
Paolo A. Belzoni is a writer residing in New Jersey. He has published several works of short fiction and his interests include Roman and Byzantine military history, art, architecture, and archaeology, as well as early Church history. Belisarius: The First Shall Be Last is his first novel.