Blood of a Stone
By Jeanne Lyet Gassman
Publisher: Tuscany Press
Publication Date: March 17, 2015
Genre: Historical Fiction
Length: 371 Pages
About the book:
Faced with the brutality of slavery, Demetrios confronts his master and flees by the blood of a stone. Determined to escape his past, he struggles to create a new life and a new identity with his friend and fellow escaped slave, Elazar.
However, freedom has its price. Secrets cannot remain secret forever. A chance for love is lost. Elazar betrays Demetrios to a so-called prophet named Jesus of Nazareth. Fearing the Roman authorities and Jesus, Demetrios risks everything to silence those who would enslave him again. His quest leads him to startling discoveries and dire choices.
Demetrios must answer the question we all ask: Can we ever be free of our past?
EXCERPTFarmers, merchants, townspeople, and peasants crushed together on the narrow road into the city, pushing toward the marketplace. Shepherds whistled at their herds of goats, struggling to keep them away from the booths stacked with winter figs. Herod’s auxiliary troops circled through the mob on horseback and foot, their shouts lost in the uproar.“Move, move! In the name of Caesar and the King, get out of the way!”The people dropped back to clear a path for more soldiers who marched in tight formation. Their conical helmets bounced up and down in waves as they jogged along the road. One of the horsemen accompanying them broke rank and rode into a group of spectators that had pressed closer for a better look. He swung his sword and warned them to keep back. There were a few muttered epithets, but no one spoke too loudly. A space opened around the soldier, and the crowd could see why they had been forced off the path. The troops dragged behind them a captured slave: a dark-skinned man with the letter F, for fugitivus, seared into his forehead. His hands and feet were bound, and if it were not for the rope that jerked him upright and pulled him along, he would have fallen face down to the ground.Demetrios brushed his fingers across his own shoulder, feeling the raised, damaged flesh beneath his cloak. If he had not killed Marcus and escaped, his fate could have easily been the same as this poor runaway’s.Someone pitched a stone at the auxiliaries, striking the horse. The animal reared up, and a farmer in front of the soldiers lost control of his cart. The entire procession halted as his crates of doves toppled to the ground.The terrified birds flung themselves against the wooden slats; clouds of feathers spiraled into the air. The farmer tugged at his donkey’s rope, but the creature dug in its heels and refused to move, its hysterical brays adding to the general confusion.The slave, sensing he had a receptive audience, raised his head. The wound on his brow had festered. His skin glowed with fever and madness. He blinked, scanning the blur of faces in front of him, seeking one he knew would understand. Then he paused and focused his gaze on Demetrios, a faint smile playing around his mouth.Demetrios shrank back behind a cluster of men.Of all the Jews, the soldiers, and the travelers in this place, how did he know? How does one slave recognize the other? Although the sun was warm upon Demetrios’s back, he shivered.A man behind Demetrios said, “I heard they found him in the caves near the hot springs. He belonged to Herod’s house. Not a good place to hide.” The woman with him asked, “Where are they taking him?”“With a group of other slaves to the mines. He’ll never see daylight again.”Holding fast to the reins of his skittish horse, the furious soldier confronted the crowd. “Who threw that stone?”When no one answered, he hooked one of the crates with his sword and smashed it to the ground. Several doves flew out, sweeping low over everyone’s heads. “Clear this trash from the road.”Some of the men behind Demetrios laughed and jumped to catch the floundering birds; others complained loudly about the delay. A couple of the women near him finally stepped forward to help the beleaguered man drag his remaining crates to the side. The soldiers began to move again, their captive stumbling behind them.The slave cried out, “Please! Help me!” before he disappeared into the wall of armored bodies.“Demetrios of Tiberias? Is that you?”Over the bobbing heads, Demetrios strained to see who was calling him. He cut across the road and scooted around the people still pursuing errant doves.“Demetrios of Tiberias!” the voice called out to him with authority.Demetrios wheeled around. They knew. The soldiers were coming for him. He was caught, trapped like a beetle in the clinches of a scorpion’s pinchers. Someone had revealed his secret, knew that he, too, was an escaped slave. Marcus’s slave. Marcus’s murderer.“Demetrios! Demetrios!”Demetrios tried to escape through the crowd, but the throng closed about him. He had to get away. Escape. Again. As he ducked and darted through the multitude, Demetrios realized he would be running for the rest of his life. He would forever be a slave.“Demetrios!”He pushed against the backs of a group of men. “Let me through.” But the crowd would not part for him.A hand clutched his arm. He froze. Doomed. He was doomed. And he would be sentenced to die in the mines like his fellow slave. The hand that had seized him spun him around now to face his fate.
Praise for Blood of a Stone
“Blood of a Stone takes the reader on an adventure in a fascinating period of history where the Roman Empire and the birth of Christianity converge. An extremely well written historical novel.” -Amazon Best Selling Author of The Olivia Series, Yael Politis
“Jeanne Gassman has composed a spiritual journey of one man's heart-rending path to redemption on the fringe of the Jesus movement. Wrapped in polished prose and vivid depictions of life in 1st Century Palestine, Gassman's story transcends genres to offer a rich biblical tale of love, loss, forgiveness, and the restorative power of faith.” - Barbara Devlin, Bestselling Author of the Brethren of the Coast series
"BLOOD OF A STONE by Jeanne Gassman is an enthralling, introspective historical tale that studies the human spirit in all its various forms: the good, the bad, the ugly and the beautiful. The novel is touching, wonderfully written and has a stunning story line that will stay with me for a long time. Highly recommend!" - Eliza Knight, USA Today Bestselling Author, My Lady Viper
“Details of 1st-Century Palestine come alive as Jeanne Lyet Gassman weaves a compelling story of unspeakable challenge and the search for redemption. Trapped in a life of desperation, Demetrios will do whatever it takes to escape, even kill those who enslave him. But when his life comes in contact with the man, Jesus, everything that seemed so important begins to shift. The story moves from pulse-pounding action to heart-wrenching honesty, as Demetrios pursues the Peace every heart craves.” - Amazon Best-seller Author, Christy M. Bellar, The Lady and the Mountain Man
"Grace, one of the most challenging journeys of life and literature, is explored in this fine debut novel by Jeanne Lyet Gassman. Set in first century Palestine during the time of Jesus, BLOOD OF A STONE is a moving, well-researched, beautifully turned novel that had me engaged and in tears. Highly recommended!" - Best-selling author Allegra Jordan, The End of Innocence
"Jeanne Gassman is a remarkable writer who brings a Biblical era stunningly to life in this powerful and fast-moving tale of sin and redemption." - American Fiction Prize Winner, Clint McCown, author of Haints
"In art man finds a conduit to the divine. Blood of a Stone, Jeanne L. Gassman’s artful debut, is a tale of murder, love, betrayal, and redemption in 1st century Judea. Crafted with imagination and superlative style, her story tracks slaves Demetrios’ and Elazar’s arduous climb from sin to forgiveness." - Winner of the Independent Publisher Book Award, David Beckett, The Cana Mystery
"Jeanne Lyet Gassman's stunning evocation of 1st-century Palestine in all its teeming, multifaceted complexity compelled me, page after page, to follow the fateful pilgrimage to Jerusalem while also walking the rocky path from undeserved suffering and terrible guilt to the possibility--open to all of us--of forgiving and being forgiven." - Diane Lefer, co-author of The Blessing Next to the Wound
"Blood of a Stone is a gripping story of friendship and betrayal, love against all odds, a brutal Roman Empire, and the threat of a revolt that becomes instead the beginnings of freedom. Jeanne Lyet Gassman tells us what it was like to live in the time of emperors and slavery, a world into which Christ was born." - National Book Award Winner, Gloria Whelan, Homeless Bird
"A meditative journey on the ways that life cripple us all -- and the choices we make that lead to bitterness and blame or joy and forgiveness -- Gassman's BLOOD OF A STONE is a biblical journey of self-discovery that will strike a chord in every reader." - Michelle Zink, Author of Prophecy of the Sisters Trilogy
"Jeanne Lyet Gassman is an astonishingly good writer. The ancient world of Blood of a Stone feels alive on every page. And if you think there's nothing fresh to say about the fragility of freedom and the difficult road towards redemption, this novel—chock-full of compelling characters and propelled by a polished, downright luminous prose—will provide new and heartfelt insights." - Nance Van Winckel, author of Boneland: Linked Stories
"In Blood of a Stone, author Jeanne Lyet Gassman leads the reader on a journey of surprise and suspense. Her well-researched work is the story of Demetrios, a slave who sinks to murder to defend his own life. He is a Gentile, in partnership with Elazar, a Jew. They travel Palestine in the midst of the Jesus movement and each in his own way finds his life changed." - Wall Street Journal Top Ten book selection author, Donna Foley Mabrey, Maude
About the Author
Blog: Jeanne's Writing Desk
Facebook; Facebook Author Page
Blood of a Stone Blog Tour Schedule
Spotlight at Curling Up With A Good Book T
uesday, May 5
Excerpt at What Is That Book About
Wednesday, May 6
Spotlight at Cheryl's Book Nook
Thursday, May 7
Excerpt & Guest Post at Curling Up With A Good Book
Friday, May 8
Review at Book Nerd
Tuesday, May 12
Review at Book Lovers Paradise
Wednesday, May 13
Review at With Her Nose Stuck in a Book
Guest Post at Book Lovers Paradise
Thursday, May 14
Review at A Book Geek
Monday, May 18
Spotlight at A Literary Vacation
Tuesday, May 19
Guest Post & Giveaway at Latte Da
Excerpt & Giveaway at Queen of All She Reads
Wednesday, May 20
Review at Genre Queen
Thursday, May 21
Spotlight at CelticLady's Reviews
Guest Post & Giveaway at Raven Haired Girl
Friday, May 22
Blog Tour Wrap-Up at Passages to the Past
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