November 24, 2019 (Steven O’Reilly) – Regular readers of this blog may have been aware that I have been working on a historical-fiction trilogy. I am pleased to announce that book I of this trilogy is now available on AMAZON in Kindle and paperback versions.
The title of the trilogy is PIA FIDELIS. Book I of the PIA FIDELIS trilogy, The Two Kingdoms, is set in the Roman Empire beginning in the year 351 AD. The Roman Empire — divided East and West — was on the eve of a great civil war, and the Catholic Church was beset by the Arian heresy. PIA FIDELIS is a tale of war, adventure, and romance, and the rise of the ‘Shadow of the Antichrist.’
I actually began tinkering with this story in 2010 — before the present pontificate — because even then I saw parallels between our own times and the times of the Arian crisis. In that age, and now in our own, there are divisions and tribulations through which the Church must suffer. Thus, it is neither coincidence nor accident that PIA FIDELIS spans this time period and subject matter.
It was in this period, there arose Julian who came to be known to history as the “the Apostate.” The character of Julian will figure prominently in the PIA FIDELIS trilogy. In fact, I wrote an article on the Roma Locuta Est blog which touched upon the life and character of Julian the Apostate and the parallels of his time to our own time (see The Historicity of Miracles: The case of Julian the Apostate and a lesson for our time). Cardinal John Henry Newman included the example of Julian the Apostate amongst his list of “shadows of the Antichrist.” Newman wrote of these “shadows” (emphasis added):
“Just as the types of Christ went before Christ, so the shadows of Antichrist precede him. In truth, every event of this world is a type of those that follow, history proceeding forward as a circle ever enlarging. The days of the Apostles typified the last days: there were false Christs, and risings, and troubles, and persecutions, and the judicial destruction of the Jewish Church. In like manner, every age presents its own picture of those still future events, which, and which alone, are the real fulfilment of the prophecy which stands at the head of all of them. Hence St. John says, “Little children, it is the last time; and as ye have heard that the Antichrist shall come, even now are there many Antichrists; whereby we know that it is the last time.” [1 John ii. 18.] Antichrist was come, and was not come; it was, and it was not the last time. In the sense in which the Apostles’ day might be called the “last time,” and the end of the world, it was also the time of Antichrist.” (Source: John Henry Newman. The Patristical Idea of Antichrist. Lecture 1. The Times of Antichrist).
It is of Julian that Newman wrote: “The history of the apostate emperor Julian, who lived between 300 and 400 years after Christ, furnishes us with another approximation to the predicted Antichrist, and an additional reason for thinking he will be one person, not a kingdom, power, or the like” (here). Newman describes how Julian — a “shadow of the Antichrist” – arose in the midst of the Arian heresy and how he attempted to reintroduce paganism and overthrow the Church. These parallels to our time were the reason Julian and the Arian heresy were chosen as the subject of PIA FIDELIS trilogy. Newman writes of Julian (emphasis added):
“…Next the apostate emperor Julian, who attempted to overthrow the Church by craft, and introduce paganism back again: it is observable that he was preceded, nay, he was nurtured, by heresy; by that first great heresy which disturbed the peace and purity of the Church. About forty years before he became emperor, arose the pestilent Arian heresy which denied that Christ was God. It ate its way among the rulers of the Church like a canker, and what with the treachery of some, and the mistakes of others, at one time it was all but dominant throughout Christendom. The few holy and faithful men, who witnessed for the Truth, cried out, with awe and terror at the apostasy, that Antichrist was coming. They called it the “forerunner of Antichrist.” And true, his Shadow came. Julian was educated in the bosom of Arianism by some of its principal upholders. His tutor was that Eusebius from whom its partizans took their name; and in due time he fell away to paganism, became a hater and persecutor of the Church, and was cut off before he had reigned out the brief period which will be the real Antichrist’s duration.” (Source: John Henry Newman. The Patristical Idea of Antichrist. Lecture 1. The Times of Antichrist).
The tumultuous events of this period and of the PIA FIDELIS trilogy are seen through the eyes of various characters, including a Western Roman military tribune; the daughter of a Eastern Roman general; Emperor Constantius II and others. Prominent churchmen of the age, e.g., Athanasius and Liberius, appear as well. The back cover of PIA FIDELIS: The Two Kingdoms describes the book briefly as follows:
PIA FIDELIS is a historical-fiction trilogy which tells a tale of war, adventure, and romance amidst a crumbling empire and the rising Shadow of the Antichrist.
Book I of the PIA FIDELIS series, The Two Kingdoms, begins in 351 AD as civil war looms between the Eastern and Western Roman Empires, and the Arian crisis rages within the Church.
…in Rome, Septimus must lead his legion as it marches to war, leaving behind the woman he is to marry…but both his hope to one day return to her, and his very life are threatened by betrayal…
…In Constantinople, a young woman named Melissa attracts the interest of dangerous and powerful men as she encounters adventures of her own, even as her parents seek to marry her off to a man she does not love…
…And all the while, as the Eastern emperor plots to impose Arianism upon the Church, his cousin Julian is instructed in the Dark Arts by a sorcerer who, it seems, can summon the ancient gods of the Greeks and Romans. In time, these ‘gods’ will reveal to Julian their plan for his future…a future in which the fate of the empire, the Church, and the lives of many may one day hang in the balance…
PIA FIDELIS has been — and continues to be — labor of love as the trilogy continues! If you are so inclined, purchase a copy, retweet news about it, and ask your friends to do the same — and please share on Facebook! And…most of all…purchase a copy! In a world which grows increasingly anti-Christian each day in its messaging, its laws, politics, movies and books — I hope the reader will both enjoy and find hope in this Christian-based historical fiction novel: PIA FIDELIS.
If you are so kind as to purchase a copy, and enjoy the story — please leave a positive customer review on Amazon.com. Please check for updates, following both the Pia Fidelis website and following Pia Fidelis on twitter @FidelisPia.
Steven O’Reilly is a graduate of the University of Dallas and the Georgia Institute of Technology. A former intelligence officer, he and his wife, Margaret, live near Atlanta with their family. He has written apologetic articles and is author of the historical-adventure trilogy, entitled Pia Fidelis, set during the time of the Arian crisis. The first book of the Pia Fidelis trilogy. The Two Kingdoms, is available on Amazon.com. Mr. O’Reilly asks for your prayers for his intentions. He can be contacted at StevenOReilly@AOL.com (or follow on Twitter: @S_OReilly_USA).