A big welcome to Fiona Glass as part of her release of Trench Warfare.
It’s a good question, and one that readers of my latest m/m romance Trench Warfare might well be asking.
Although the book has a contemporary setting, its main characters, Steve and Jon, are archaeologists working on a rescue dig, hoping to find a town’s missing priory. I won’t spoil the surprise, but there’s also a link to much earlier history involving the Roman god Mithras.
I first came across Mithras, briefly, at university but we learned almost nothing about him or his cult. It wasn’t until I read Mary Stewart’s Crystal Cave series, about King Arthur and early ‛Dark Age’ Britain, that he reappeared. I’ve mentioned my love of Stewart before now; her Arthurian books are some of my favourites and the passages relating to the Mithraic cult are so atmospheric and full of detail that they’ve stayed with me for years.
Mithras is rather a mysterious figure in the Roman pantheon. He appeared later than many of the better-known deities such as Jupiter and Apollo, and was often worshipped by Roman soldiers. Even at the time there’s a suggestion the cult was frowned upon, and the temples seem to have been secretive places, often built (quite literally) underground. Partly this was to replicate the cave where Mithras was said to have sacrificed a bull, but partly you can’t help thinking it was to keep the religion away from prying eyes.
These days there’s startlingly little evidence for the cult at all. A few statues and carvings, a few mentions in Roman literature, and as far as I could tell from my research, only two known temple sites around the world. One of these is in Rome; the other in London, but even that has been moved away from its original site. I’m left wondering where Mary Stewart found her information about Mithras from, and how much of it stemmed from her own, clearly vivid, imagination.
The lack of material meant I had to use my imagination too, and I’m hoping I didn’t get the details too far wrong. If I did, then mea culpa, as the Romans themselves might have said. But in any case, I hope readers will enjoy reading about Steve and Jon’s discoveries just as much as I did writing about them.
‛Trench Warfare’ is a sweet, no-sex m/m romance featuring archaeology, ghosts, a missing priory, a gold cross, and something nasty lurking in the undercroft. It’s available on Kindle, and free on Kindle Unlimited, and you can find out more about the book, including an excerpt, at my website. Or why not head over to Amazon and grab a copy for yourself?
“What happened, anyway?” “Simple. I fell in.”
County archaeologist Steve Saunders desperately wants his latest dig to be a success. Too many people think he’s too young for the job, and besides, the chance to track down the town’s missing priory is too good to miss.
But the dig seems to be jinxed. The weather’s awful, the clients want the land back to build an apartment block, and the clients’ representative tries every dodgy trick in the book. On top of that there’s a strange, unfriendly atmosphere about the place. Could that be why the priory disappeared so thoroughly? And what’s the link to the unusual stairs Steve’s assistant Jon finds in the cloister trench?
Throughout everything, Jon proves to be an invaluable support. But when he tries a trick of his own, he sets off a chain of events that lead to a result nobody, least of all Steve, expects.