B & H Publishing
T. L. Higley’s Guardian of the Flame: A Seven Wonders Novel is set in Alexandria, 48 BC. Amidst a power struggle between Ptolemy Auletes’s children (including Cleopatra), Julius Caesar and his Roman legion invade Alexandria. Sophia, Cleopatra’s mentor and keeper of the Lighthouse, finds her peace completely disrupted, especially by the presence of one Roman centurion and his men who occupy her Lighthouse. As Alexandria fortifies itself against the enemy, so too does Sophia raise her guard. Higley carries the reader along with the parallel stories of Alexandria and Sophia and how they deal with their turmoil. Who will end up on Alexandria’s throne: Cleopatra, Caesar, or Ptolemy XIII? Who will sit on Sophia’s throne: Sophia, the centurion, or the mysterious God of the Jews who claims to love her though she does not deserve it? Sophia is a rose that has closed into itself and been covered in frost. Throughout, Higley shows how she slowly peeks out from her cold petals, testing the break in her routine to see if her world is safe for her finally to blossom after a tumultuous past.
Higley writes a compelling novel that captures well the time period and the characters associated with it. She does not keep Sophia as the only point-of-view character, but also allows sight through the perspectives of the enemy, the love-interest, and other significant historical figures. In some places the story drags, but overall it keeps up its energy while supplying intricate details of the mesh of Egyptian, Greek, Jewish, and Roman cultures found in Alexandria. Higley brushed up on her Latin for this novel, incorporating it throughout the story for the reader’s benefit. Because Sophia represents such a guarded character, her interaction with other characters is very revealing. She has very intense emotions and tends to demonstrate her harsher ones. Her past wounds hinder her from expressing the deep love she feels, even often to herself. Her main internal struggle is about believing that anyone could love her. One man whom she respects believes in the One true God and constantly reminds Sophia of His love for her, echoing Jeremiah 31:3. While the battle for Alexandria is important to this story, it is only a mirror of the battle waged for Sophia’s heart.
Sophia’s personality drives the story forward. It is her acceptance of grace that finally satisfies the reader. It is a clean romance that incorporates intrigue, inventions, history, language, dynamic characters, provoking thoughts, and interesting twists. Adults will enjoy and appreciate this work, as will anyone who is interested in history and the era of Rome. – Stephanie Warner, www.ChristianBookPreviews.com
Guardian of the Flame is book three in the Seven Wonders series of novels transporting readers back to the Ancient World. Characters struggle to find meaning in a pagan society and are confronted by the one true God and His message of redemption.The year is 48 BC. Sophia, a woman hurt by past loss, guards the famous lighthouse of Alexandria, Egypt, in order to hide herself away from a world she deems cruel and unloving. But there is no escape. Political turmoil swells as Roman general Julius Caesar and his legion storm the city, and Cleopatra, Greek queen of Egypt , fights to retain her country against both Caesar and bloodthirsty rivals within her own household. Sophia is caught in the middle between a loyalty to Cleopatra and her maddening interest in Bellus, the Roman soldier whom Caesar has instructed to overtake the lighthouse.