Tag Archives: Jesus

Sneak Peak at The Cartaphilus Saga

The release date is March 27, 2015 reserve your copy now for half price. It will be available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Sony, Apple, and all the major book retailers. Below you can read a description of the book, and I have a link where you can read the first six chapters online, or download it to the device you like to read books on.

The Cartaphilus Saga book #1: Amissio will be available everywhere e-books are sold. With the first release to be on Amazon. The print editions will follow the e-book edition.

NOTE: though this is being released as both Historical Fiction and Christian Fiction it is not a religious book and does not take a position on Christianity either for or against. The crucifixion is used as the source of the curse placed on Cartaphilus. A curse of immortality.

And the best thing is it is FREE. All I am asking is for you to leave a comment.


Here’s the description:

The Cartaphilus Saga, Book #1: Amissio

David Gerrard is a freelance reporter for the tabloids, but one with definite principals. Though he has researched and written dozens of stories, he will only publish the ones he truly believes. For ten years, he has been receiving story leads from a source he has never met in person. Mark Long is a remarkable storyteller, bringing David stories from throughout history and adding unique and substantial variations to each one. For the first time, Mark has requested a face to face meeting between himself and David.

The first thing the men do together is visit Mark’s old friend, Tony Vargas, who is an expert on the Roman Empire period and an avid collector. Mark presents Tony with an ancient sword in a velvet lined case and asks Tony to tell him exactly what it is. Tony states that it is a first century Roman gladius sword. He shows the men other swords in his collection and discusses the detailed differences. Then he tells them the sword had once belonged to a soldier named Casius, since the name is engraved on the handle.

At this, Mark is eager to leave, though he doesn’t explain why at the time. When he and David are alone in the hotel, Mark tells him in secret that Tony was right: the sword had belonged to a Roman soldier named Casius. But what Tony hadn’t known was that Casius had had the sword taken from him by a Jew named Peter, and a Roman centurion had taken it from Peter. Intrigued, David settles into his role as reporter, with his digital recorder, pen, and paper always at the ready.

Mark tells him the centurion’s name was Marcus Cartaphilus Longus. He had been stationed with the Roman garrison in Caesarea when he’d discovered his daughter was close to death. After learning the name of a man who had reportedly saved others from death, Cartaphilus went in search of this Yeshua. Unfortunately, his daughter died before he could reach Yeshua. Desolate over the death of his daughter and the subsequent death of his wife, Cartaphilus vowed to destroy Yeshua.

At that time, Pontius Pilate was the Prefect of Judea. He was in charge of keeping the peace. When the Jewish Passover came, he ordered in extra troops, and Cartaphilus led those troops. Upon their arrival, Cartaphilus was ordered to arrest a Jew accused by the priests of causing trouble in Judea. They were led to the accused by a man named Judas Iscariot, but the Jew was surrounded by his followers, including one man named Peter who grabbed Casius’ gladius and cut the ear off one of the men with the soldiers while trying to protect Yeshua. Miraculously, Yeshua was able to pick up the severed ear and reattach it to the man’s head with the simple pressure of his hand. Eventually, Cartaphilus placed Yeshua under arrest and led him to Jerusalem and the house of Caiaphas, the High Priest.

Over the next few days, Mark’s story continues, reliving the final hours of Jesus Christ’s life, and even the years following.

David listens carefully and questions often, impressed by Mark’s in-depth account of this two thousand year old story. When Mark begins to add in details that David cannot find in his research, David becomes determined to disprove the story. He compares Mark’s details to those told in the Bible. He contacts a professional researcher, a genealogist, and a professor friend, asking them all questions to help him refute this story, but despite their best efforts they cannot. Over a few exhausting days and nights, the two men take the story apart, but David cannot find any flaws. The problem is, the only way Mark could know any of these details was if he had been an actual eyewitness, which is obviously impossible.

One night David sits bolt upright in his hotel room bed, jarred awake by a detail. He checks his recorder to be sure and confirms what he’d thought. Caught up in the emotion of the story, Mark had accidentally messed up by using the pronoun “we” instead of “they”, and the vigilant reporter had caught his slip on tape.

Cornered by the recorded remark, Mark admits that he is two thousand years old. Of course, David tells him the whole idea is ridiculous. He is angry at the waste of his time and toys with the idea of leaving. But Mark begs him to stay. He says he doesn’t need David to necessarily believe him, he needs him to believe the story. He says that if David believes it, so will his readers, and he needs David to tell the world what really happened.

Highly skeptical, David begins to question him about other events that have happened over the past two thousand years—including Mark’s participation in WWII as a Nazi—but Mark stops him, saying the stories must be told as they happened, not by skipping through the centuries. Eventually Mark hands him a daguerreotype of two men from the American Civil War, and David has it checked by experts. They all agree that the daguerreotype is authentic. One of the men in the picture is one of General Robert Lee’s sons, and David has a very hard time telling himself the other is not Mark.

David has failed in his quest to disprove Mark’s story. His researchers have as well. So David grudgingly allows himself to believe in the possibility that Mark is two thousand years old, that Mark Long is actually Marcus Cartaphilus Longus. And if that is possible, how many other stories could Mark have to share with him? Would he be able to unearth more of the most famous lies or half-truths throughout history?

Unfortunately, now that David is swept up in the excitement of the idea, Mark is called away on urgent business. He promises to get in touch so they can continue with this story and more. David stares at him as he leaves the hotel, unable to believe he is suddenly gone.

Two months later, David receives a short email from Mark, stating the place and time where they should meet. This time David is prepared and smiling with anticipation as he packs his things.


Here’s the link for the FREE download (or you can read it online) of the first six chapters:

The Cartaphilus Saga, Book #1: Amissio



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I Believe

I believe, and not just because I have a 7-year-old daughter. I have always believed, even when I was a 40-year-old man who thought I would never have children I believed. Why do I believe? To explain, I need to tell a brief history of Santa Claus, and of course, any history of Santa Claus begins with a brief history of St. Nicholas. My rule on my website is no politics or religion. However, as Saint Nicholas was a Christian Bishop it is part of who he was, and as such, it is part of his story. This article is a brief history of Saint Nicholas / Santa Claus and makes no judgments for or against Christianity in keeping with my rule.

Nicholas was born in present day Turkey to wealthy Greek parents. Orphaned while a small boy he was raised by his uncle Nicholas. Uncle Nicholas was the bishop of Patara. As he grew older, our Nicholas became a priest under his uncle’s tutelage. On his uncle’s death, Father Nicholas became Bishop Nicholas. Religious icons are almost as old as Christianity, and play a part in some of the legends of Saint Nicholas. In the early days of Christianity the majority of people could not read or write, (priests were the exception to this). Icons are religious images created according to strict rules. Each saint’s icon has specific items in the image that identify that particular saint. In the case of Saint Nicholas, he holds a book in his left hand and in his right hand, he holds three purses, or three gold coins, or three balls of gold.

The book is a gospel. Saint Nicholas is considered a defender of the faith. At the Council of Nicaea, the Roman Emperor called all the leaders of Christianity together in an attempt to “standardize” the religion. There were two main groups within Christianity. The first and smaller group (called Gnostics) believed Jesus was a prophet who was then killed, executed, and buried. They also believed that the way to heaven was through a secret knowledge (Gnosticism). By learning this secret knowledge, people earned their way into heaven. They were the authors of the Gnostic gospels, often referred to as the “forbidden books of the bible”. The second group (which Nicholas was a member of) believed that Jesus was the son of God and rose from the dead, they also believed that no one could earn their way into heaven. This second group believed that people went to heaven only through the grace of God, because of the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross.

By now you are asking “Ok, but what does all of this have to do with Saint Nicholas?” When the leader of the Gnostics stood before the Emperor making the case for his side at the Council of Nicaea, Bishop Nicholas calmly walked to the front of the gathering and slapped the Gnostic leader across the mouth, while he was addressing the Emperor. The other Gnostics demanded that Bishop Nicholas immediately be put to death for striking a person in the presence of the Emperor (this was a Roman law). Bishop Nicholas was well liked by all who knew him and he was generous to the poor. Also, Emperor Constantine is believed to have favored Nicholas’ side over the Gnostics. The Emperor decided that Bishop Nicholas would be stripped of all his Bishop’s attire and symbols of his rank, and placed in a cell for the night while the Emperor decided his fate.

In the morning, when the guards went to get Bishop Nicholas, his cell door was opened, all of his Bishop’s vestments were returned, and he was kneeling in prayer. Nicholas’ supporters claimed that Jesus had freed him and the Virgin Mary had returned all of his vestments to him. Emperor Constantine declared that was enough for him he would not go against Jesus and Mary. He restored Nicholas as a bishop. After this, all traces of Gnosticism were removed from the accepted cannon and Gnosticism was outlawed. It is for this reason that icons of Nicholas show him with a book (a gospel) in his right hand.

The three pieces of gold in his other hand are a testament to his generosity to the poor. There was a man who had three daughters, but no dowry. At this time, a woman without a dowry could not marry and would most likely become a prostitute because this would be the only way she would be able to support herself. Bishop Nicholas on hearing of this man and his three daughters provided the dowry for each of the daughters. When each daughter became of age, he secretly made his way to the house at night. He then left a bag of gold coins for the young woman’s dowry. When it was the youngest daughter’s turn, her father decided to hide and see who the anonymous benefactor was. Bishop Nicholas wanted to keep his identity secret, and so tossed the bag of coins down the chimney where they fell in a pair of stockings the daughter had hung over the fireplace to dry.

A myth surrounding Saint Nicholas has him bringing three boys back to life after a butcher had killed them. This story most probably comes from illiterate people mistaking the three gold balls in his hand (in the icon) for three heads. The three gold balls have also been mistaken for three oranges. This is why in Holland it is believed that Sinterklaas comes from Spain. In the time before North America was explored, oranges were imported from Spain to Holland.

Bishop Nicholas spent the rest of his life in service to the church and spent the fortune he inherited from his parents helping the poor, particularly children. During his life, children were considered of no value, and a parent or guardian could do with children as he liked (woman ranked above only children at this time). Bishop Nicholas died on 6 December 343. Traditionally a saint’s feast day is the anniversary of his/her death (the day they enter heaven). In celebration of the feast day of Saint Nicholas gifts are given to children to honor Saint Nicholas. Bishop Nicholas’ reputation as a giver of gifts is the source for our Santa Claus or Father Christmas.

Father Christmas goes back more than 500 years in England, over time he merged with Saint Nicholas into the figure we know today as Santa Claus. The first use of the name Santa Claus goes back to the American colonies in 1773. Santa Claus is also mentioned in Washington Irving’s 1809 History of New York. Santa Claus is an Americanization of the Dutch name for Saint Nicholas, Sinterklaas.

Santa Claus as we know him today has evolved over the last 200 year. In 1821, in the poem Santeclaus he was described as an old man on a reindeer sleigh. Next came the poem A Visit from Saint Nicholas (known today as Twas the Night Before Christmas or The Night Before Christmas). This poem was published anonymously on 23 December 1823. Today it is attributed to Clement Clarke Moore, though some claim it was written by Henry Livingston Jr. (books and articles have been written on which of these men actually wrote the poem).

A Visit from Saint Nicholas gave us much of what we know today about Santa Claus, but that is for next week.

Nederlands: Sinterklaas tijdens het Het Feest ...

Nederlands: Sinterklaas tijdens het Het Feest van Sinterklaas (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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