Publisher: Mill City Press, Inc. (January 31, 2018)
Category: Historical Fiction, Ancient Civilizations, Supernatural Powers, Young Adult
Tour dates: October-November, 2018
Available in Print and ebook, 364 pages
Set against the backdrop of the Ptolemaic Kingdom, an alternate history unfolds, linking the power of the pharaohs to magic. Brother is pitted against brother in a race to find twelve amulets, lost with the ancient pharaoh, and unlock their powers. Whoever holds the amulets holds that power; to save the world…or destroy it.
“Your Highness,” Xiphos began, “you and the kingdom will be happy to hear that your father is stable.” Xiphos waited, but Ptolemy only continued to drink deeply from his wine cup. Seeing no reaction, Xiphos continued, “After stabilizing him, we were able to transport him to his personal chambers. I offer my deepest apologies that I was unable to identify the poison at my initial assessment. I hope he has not sustained more damage as a result of this error.”
“I certainly hope not, as well,” Ptolemy said darkly.
Hannibal resisted the urge to speak in Xiphos’s defense. He had advised Xiphos not to take so much responsibility. After all, Xiphos had stabilized the king and saved Hannibal’s life at the scene of the crime.
Xiphos continued, “We believe the poison is nightshade, a magical compound from India. It is fast-acting and rare in the Hellenistic world, so we have little experience identifying it.” He stared straight ahead, clearing his throat. “And even less treating it.”
Ptolemy drew a long draft of his wine, setting the cup down with a clatter on the arm of his throne. He stared at Xiphos a moment before drawling with little apparent interest, “I thought he was stabbed. Where does poison come into it?”
“It was delivered by a system built into the dagger.” Xiphos took out the blade in question, handling it carefully. “Qinese, you will be interested to know; quite unusual.”
Prince Ptolemy’s gaze flickered over the knife, but he made no move to look more carefully.
“The edge is sharp,” Xiphos said, “but the surface is oily and porous. The oily part contains the compound. The blade was impregnated with the poison by way of a reservoir—”
“My father?” Ptolemy drawled. He lifted the wine cup to his lips, watching Xiphos as he sipped.
Xiphos gave a small bow, changing courses. “Cynisca, by good fortune, knew a spell for delaying the effect of the toxin indefinitely.”
Sosibius’s eyes narrowed. “How did she know such a spell?”
“From our mother.” Xiphos met the priest’s eyes, giving nothing away.
“I believe such a spell was in the Huangdi Neijing,” Sosibius said. “You have it, then?”
“Yes.” Xiphos met the priest’s eyes. “Except for the seventh scroll, of course. It has long been thought it may be in Qina with my mother. What we need now is a way to neutralize the poison permanently.”
Ptolemy looked blankly at Xiphos. “The Huangdi what?” He took another large swig of undiluted wine.
“Qibo’s treatise on internal medicine. My mother helped him with it.” Xiphos addressed Sosibius. “She taught a bit to both Cynisca and myself.”
“What is your understanding of Qibo’s thesis?” Sosibius asked.
Xiphos hesitated a moment.
“Speak,” Ptolemy demanded.
Xiphos gave a quick bow of his head and began. “There are twelve major meridians in our bodies,” he said. “Channels . . . rivers, if you will. These meridians allow the flow of our qi, our life force, into and out of areas of health and disease. Using a variety of modalities—needles, massage, meditation, herbs, exercise—the flow of qi can be restored. With proper training and study, it can be manipulated for a variety of effects.”
“This is more than basic understanding,” Sosibius said.
Xiphos bowed his head in acknowledgment. “Qibo taught us how to harness our personal qi into simple elemental effects that correspond to the five basic elements of the universe: fire, earth, metal, water, and wood. My mother taught Cynisca and me how to channel our qi into elemental healing by laying on hands. After collaborating with Qibo, she began to pool her information with knowledge from the East.”
“How does all this relate to my father?” Magas asked, his brow wrinkled in worry.
Xiphos turned to him. “Qibo speaks of an ‘herb of deathlessness’ that can detoxify a substance . . . a universal antidote that only grows in the province of Qi along the Yellow River, northeast of the Qin homeland. We must form an expedition and find this herb. Unfortunately, our relations with Qina are at best sketchy, since Pharaoh just—”
Ptolemy the Younger slammed his wine cup to the arm of his throne. “I am Pharaoh now!”
A hush fell over the throne room.
Magas turned to his older brother, frowning. “Father is alive.”
Sosibius murmured to the young Ptolemy, soothing his anger, as he glanced up at Xiphos.
Ptolemy listened, studying Xiphos too. The florid tint to his face faded a bit. He gathered himself, even smiling as he addressed Xiphos: “We have searched Qibo’s quarters. The seventh scroll, I am told, is missing. Qibo told my father about it. I would like to study it myself.”
Xiphos spoke. “Your Highness, we found no scrolls at the scene of the murder.”
Hannibal stepped forward. “These are but rumors—”
“I didn’t ask for your Punic opinion!” Ptolemy spit out.
A hush fell like a blade over the throne room.
Hasdrubal stared at the floor, his face flaming.
Hannibal bolted up the dais, yanked out his Iberian short sword, and pressed it to Ptolemy’s throat. “No one uses that language in my presence, king or prince included.”
Praise for 221 BC by Kendall Price and Laura Vosika
“As the debut novel opens, King Ptolemy IV, Macedonian ruler of Egypt, is distraught over the apparent murder of his friend and mentor, Qibo (“Multiple gashes covered his body. His eyes stared at the ceiling, as if he could still see whatever had killed him”). The ancient Taoist master had worked at the Museum of Alexandria for years. This act seems to be the dark culmination to a number of days in which Ptolemy has been plagued with nightmares laced with what appear to be strange signs. He dreams he is the Pharaoh Amenhotep, worrying over his kingdom and suffering from dental pain, the latter of which seems to affect Ptolemy’s waking hours as well. After exhuming the dead pharaoh’s body, experts discover that he did indeed have advanced abscesses in his teeth, which leads head librarian Eratosthenes to posit that someone might be working magic against the king, perhaps to re-create history. The theory is that Qibo was murdered to prevent him from translating ancient tablets that might help Ptolemy unlock the magical powers of a set of 12 amulets that have been in the possession of the pharaohs for untold years, each associated with a different element. Using the artifacts, someone might be able to wrest control of the kingdom. As the story proceeds, Price paints a vivid, intricate portrait of war, juggling a wide array of famous characters, including the notorious Hannibal, and using meticulous research to flesh out this universe, rooted in historical facts and details. The prose is rich and involving, and the twists are carefully designed and executed. An inventive blend of Egyptian history and magic, this dynastic tale opens what promises to be a stellar series.”- Kirkus
“What grabbed my attention was the fact that it was based in Egypt during the time before Christ, about the Pharaoh Ptolemy III and his family struggle to maintain their control of the united Egypt. I love how the story is created with historical facts into mystery of hidden artifacts that hold magical powers and having characters with unusual powers too. It makes for a very entertaining novel and keeps the reader wondering what will happen next.”- Valerie I. Rosica, Amazon Review
“Clearly a great deal of research was done to write this book. It’s also exceptionally creative and engrossing! Hope there’s more to come….”-Kathryn Price, Amazon Review
“Very interesting take on the Egyptian family the Ptolemy’s and their possible aliens within the ancient world and the invasion of Rome by Hannbal. Historical fiction worth reading!”-Char, Amazon Review
Dr. Kendall Price was born and raised in Columbia, Maryland, the third of four children. He attended high school at the Phillips Academy Boarding School in Andover, MA, a place that left him with many fond memories, and that he calls the most formative time of his life. The friendships in 221 BC are loosely based on his time at Andover.
Following in the footsteps of his father and two grandfathers, all doctors, Kendall attended Amherst College in Amherst, MA and the University of Illinois College of Medicine and studied pathology at Stanford University. While there, he did four fellowships, including medical staff/ autopsy, hematopathology, surgical pathology, and immunohistochemistry.
Doctor Price lives in St. Paul, Minnesota with his wife Michelle and their three children. It was Michelle’s influence, with her study of Chinese medicine, and a masters degree in Chinese acupuncture, that led Dr. Price to become certified in acupuncture himself. The magic in 221 BC is based on Chinese medicine.
In addition to writing and Chinese medicine, Dr. Price enjoys exercise, reading, and travel. He has been to all 48 continental US states, Canada, Mexico, Alaska, and Copenhagen.
Other writing credits include a small booklet, available on Amazon, on healing dental caries by nutritional means.
Laura Vosika is a writer, poet, and musician. Her time travel series, The Blue Bells Chronicles, set in modern and medieval Scotland, has garnered praise and comparisons to writers as diverse as Diana Gabaldon and Dostoevsky. Her poetry has been published in The Moccasin and The Martin Lake Journal 2017.
She has been featured in newspapers, on radio, and TV, has spoken for regional book events, and hosted the radio program Books and Brews. She currently teaches writing at Minneapolis Community and Technical College.
As a musician, Laura has performed as on trombone, flute, and harp, in orchestras, and big bands. She lives in Brooklyn Park with 5 of her 9 children, 3 cats, and an Irish Wolfhound.
Buy 221 BC
This giveaway is for 3 winners choice of one print or ebook copy of the book. Print is open to the U.S. only and ebook is available worldwide. This giveaway ends November 30, 2018, midnight pacific time. Entries are accepted via Rafflecopter only.
Follow the Tour
Teddy Rose Book Reviews Plus Oct 2 Kickoff
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Dawn Bound 2 Escape Oct 5 Excerpt
Dawn Bound 4 Escape Oct 9 Guest Review
Lu Ann Rockin’ Book Reviews Oct 12 Review
Yari Yaris-Book-World Amazon Oct 15 Review
Indie Review Behind the Scenes Oct 16 Video Interview 1 pm est (will be posted later in the week)
Teddy Rose Book Reviews Plus Nov 5 Review
Amber Imaginative Dreams Nov 20 Review & Excerpt
Mindy Room Without Books is Empty Nov 27 Review
This schedule is subject to change.