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Publisher's Summary

What if you suddenly discovered that you were not who you thought you were - that your true family history had been hidden from you since birth? What if the truth about your origins would cause others to despise you? What if the man who had arranged the deception was seriously ill and needed your help? What if you were a slave and that man held your life in his hands - and you his? 

These are some of the questions examined in the first two volumes of the new historical trilogy A Slave’s Story.  

A Rooster for Asklepios centers on Marcus, a slave in the household of Lucius Coelius Felix who enjoys a better life than most slaves (and many free citizens) as the secretary and accountant of a wealthy aristocrat. His master is rising in the civic hierarchy of the Roman colony of Antioch-near-Pisidia (Central Turkey), and his responsibilities and income are growing as well. If this continues, he could soon earn enough to buy his freedom, set up a small business, maybe even marry.  

Then disaster strikes, and his master falls into a deep depression that is exacerbated by a nagging illness that his physician seems unable to heal. The future looks bleak until the physician receives a dream in which the healing god Asklepios seems to be calling Lucius to journey hundreds of miles across Western Asia Minor to his sanctuary at Pergamon for treatment and, if all goes well, a cure. 

Accompanied by Marcus and his new wife, Selena, Lucius embarks on a long and eventful journey in which both master and slave encounter people and ideas that challenge long-held beliefs about themselves, their society, and the world around them. Values are questioned, loyalties tested, and identities transformed in a story that brings to life a corner of the Roman world that has been neglected by previous storytellers.

Christopher D. Stanley is a professor who studies and writes about the social and religious history of the Greco-Roman world, with special attention to early Judaism and Christianity.

©2020 Christopher D Stanley (P)2021 Christopher D Stanley

What listeners say about A Rooster for Asklepios

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

"The lot of a slave is a sorry one."

If you are looking for a book with lots of military action, or a personable semi comedic detective story, or political battling on the steps of Rome's Senate, This is not the book for you. But if it is the daily lives of the citizens, within the household and outside in the provinces, the customs, in fighting, ambitions, travel, medicine, competitive games, religion and so much more, this book will delight. The story is simple: a wealthy aristocratic Roman citizen living in a central Turkish Roman colony, falls seriously ill and travels with his wife, Selina, and Marcus, his trusted secretary slave, hundreds of miles to Pergamonin in search of a cure. Though we are separated from the protagonists by almost two thousand years, the people are still very real, essentially similar to us today and it is easy for the reader to be absorbed into the time and place, beliefs, hopes and fears, mostly viewed from the point of view of a fortunate slave.

This is a long book, some twenty two hours in length, so it needs a good narrator to succeed. Keith Edward Gerhard is good, with well modulated speech, good pacing and clear pauses in the text where required - no merging into the next unrelated paragraph, or even chapter, without a break which, sad!y, does sometimes happen. So, a nice presentation plus well differentiated voices for all of the characters when in conversation: an excellent performance. However, for this reader it was overly fast for comfortable listening but playback at 0.9 instantly resolved that small difficulty (even increasing the story length by an extra couple of hours).

A Rooster for Asklepios is a book to curl oneself into, to savour and live within. It is so packed with detail it could become tedious, but instead it brings everything into glorious life. I was very fortunate in being freely gifted with a complimentary copy by the rights holder, at my request, via Audiobook Boom. Thank you so much. Not for someone wanting a fast paced action romp, But for the enjoyment of immersion in a time long past, with strong characters brought to life again, and a plausible story with a hint of mystery, this book is highly recommended. A second book, A Bull for Pluto, follows and I look forward to it with impatience

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An accurate historical fiction

If you ever wanted to know what life was like for a slave in ancient Rome, you will really enjoy this book. Very detailed depictions of daily life and historically accurate drama. Learning about all the similarities between now and then was fascinating and kept me engaged all the way through.

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A real "stinker"

Maybe the least engaging, most annoying male narrator I've heard on any Audible selection - and my library contains over 1,200 titles. Distracting mispronunciations of common English words and little differentiation among characters' voices. Also, way too much excruciatingly detailed info on one main character's intestinal maladies and their resultant embarrassments and inconveniences (see headline). Ugh.
Will try to return.

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Amazing Story!

The author creates a fun and enjoyable experience while also learning a great deal of information from the time period. An instant classic. The use of period accurate pronunciations was a nice touch as well, and the narrator's vocal range was impressive!

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Profile Image for Norma Miles
  • Norma Miles
  • 10-24-21

"The lot of slaves is a sorry one."

If you are looking for a book with lots of military action, or a personable semi comedic detective story, or political battling on the steps of Rome's Senate, This is not the book for you. But if it is the daily lives of the citizens, within the household and outside in the provinces, the customs, in fighting, ambitions, travel, medicine, competitive games, religion and so much more, this book will delight. The story is simple: a wealthy aristocratic Roman citizen living in a central Turkish Roman colony, falls seriously ill and travels with his wife, Selina, and Marcus, his trusted secretary slave, hundreds of miles to Pergamonin in search of a cure. Though we are separated from the protagonists by almost two thousand years, the people are still very real, essentially similar to us today and it is easy for the reader to be absorbed into the time and place, beliefs, hopes and fears, mostly viewed from the point of view of a fortunate slave.

This is a long book, some twenty two hours in length, so it needs a good narrator to succeed. Keith Edward Gerhard is good, with well modulated speech, good pacing and clear pauses in the text where required - no merging into the next unrelated paragraph, or even chapter, without a break which, sad!y, does sometimes happen. So, a nice presentation plus well differentiated voices for all of the characters when in conversation: an excellent performance. However, for this reader it was overly fast bfor comfortable listening but playback at 0.9 instantly resolved that small difficulty (even increasing the story length by an extra couple of hours).

A Rooster for Asklepios is a book to curl oneself into, to savour and live within. It is so packed with detail it could become tedious, but instead it brings everything into glorious life. I was very fortunate in being freely gifted with a complimentary copy by the rights holder, at my request, via Audiobook Boom. Thank you so much. Not for someone wanting a fast paced action romp, But for the enjoyment of immersion in a time long past, with strong characters brought to life again, and a plausible story with a hint of mystery, this book is highly recommended. A second book, A Bull for Pluto, follows and I look forward to it with impatience.

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Tom Baker
  • Tom Baker
  • 06-13-21

Excellent Cultural History Lesson in an OK story

As a student of ancient history I found the accuracy and attention to historical details in this novel very good. This book is a great way to learn about different aspects of Romam life in 1st century AD Turkey and beyond.

I would say though that the story is fine. it's not bad as I listened to it all the way through and will listen to the next one. However, it is was a bit too slow and ploddy at times I found. Also, if your looking for 'action' or excitement (sort of like Simon Scarrow has in his novels) then look elsewhere as your be disappointed.

Overall, I would say this is a great cultural history lesson wrapped in an alright story.