As most site readers are aware, the novel I’m in the midst of writing — the first one I think I’ll try to sell — is largely set during those stormy years in which the Roman Republic dissolved and the Roman Empire was established in its place. As the one-line summation of Four Shards of Heaven reads:
The son of Cleopatra and Julius Caesar struggles against the might of Rome to prevent the opening of a gate to Hell.
My narrative moves around and through the lives of Octavian, Antony, and Cleopatra, so it’s giving nothing away to say that a major event in the book is the historical naval battle of Actium, at which Octavian’s forces decisively defeated those of Antony and Cleopatra.
It is this world-changing battle that I’ve been researching for the better part of the past couple of weeks, trying to get as firm a grasp on what we know about it before I begin pushing my own fantastic elements into it.
Amazingly, I learned in the midst of all this research that the Military Channel was going to run an hour-long special on Actium, one that promised some nifty reconstructions of ships and strategies. Splendid news, right?
Except that I don’t get the Military Channel. I don’t get any channels that aren’t broadcast over the air (and I generally don’t miss them).
Thankfully, a fellow faculty member, the terrific Tom Horan, not only receives the station but also has the ability to use a VCR (no small technical feat these days). He recorded it for me, and I’ll watch it tonight.