Julian Bauer's latest release, Eugenios, is a novel based on the evolving relationship of two Jewish families with some key Roman politicians and Jesus' family.
The book is divided into two sections. In the first one, the reader will meet the Jewish slave Sphaerus, his wife Kallisto, and their children; Eugenios, Theodoros, and Sarah. The second part describes the lives of their descendants, especially on Eugenios's whose role in Roman politics will affect all their extended families.
The story begins in 38 BC during the reigns of Emperor Augustus Octavian, and Herod, governor of Galilee. After Herod invades Joppa, his soldiers murder the family of Kallisto. At the time a young virgin, she is taken as slave and offered as a gift to Octavian. However, Octavian orders Sphaerus to marry her, so as to avert a jealous fit from his wife, Livia; thus Octavian hoped to keep the peace of his household. That night changes Kallisto's fate forever, from a life of comfort as the daughter of a very wealthy Jewish merchant to that of an impoverished housewife of a slave. Nonetheless Sphaerus's love, consideration, and patience win her over and save her from becoming entertainment for Octavian's soldiers.
In the first part of the story, the reader will follow Sphaerus and his family through political intrigues, challenges, and the ordeals of Rome and its colonies. However, since Octavian appreciates Sphaerus's loyalty, service, and wise counsel, the slave's family benefit from the protection of the emperor. However, it will also be influenced by the societal and religious that emerge as Jesus' ministry begins to flourish.
In the second part of the novel, the Roman Empire is under attack and its enemies are allying against it. Mr. Bauer reveals how the constant political changes in Rome have ripple effects on all its citizens and specifically on Eugenios, Theodoros, and Sarah.
In contrast with other books by Mr. Bauer that I have read, this is a well-researched historical-fiction novel emphasizing current topics such as corruption, lack of integrity in government, earnest ambition leading to war, strategic treaties, the decline of social morals, and religious metamorphoses”. The author skillfully weaves the threads of Jesus' life with that of Sphaerus and his family. Their relationship will come together in an unexpected climax at the end.
Eugenios is a thought-provoking book that educates and creates awareness of how the choices we make affect our future.
For me, it is one of the best books written by Mr. Bauer.
I highly recommend Eugenios to readers who enjoy historical fiction novels that interweave universal themes in a refreshing new way!