The Light Bearer

The Light Bearer

The Light Bearer, a tale of ancient Rome, is the product of twelve years of research into the history, culture and mythology of classical Rome and the proto-Germanic tribes.

In the harsh wastes of the barbarian north, a child is born on dirt and straw in the rude thatched hall of a Germanic tribal chieftain. She is Auriane, destined to follow the pathway of her tribe’s most revered seeress. But as ruthless Roman invaders plunder her people's lands, burn their crops and kidnap their young men for the imperial army, Auriane is chosen to lead her tribal people in their struggle against the empire.

When the Emperor Domitian crosses the Rhine with four legions, the north’s hope resides in a woman…

And as the only world she has known collapses around her, Auriane is captured and taken to Rome, and into a life of horror and glory no seeress could have foreseen.

In Rome, senator and Stoic humanist Marcus Arrius Julianus rises to the loftiest pinnacles of government. Through wit, daring and brilliant maneuvering, he struggles to check the murderous whims of the increasingly corrupt Emperor Domitian. As a reign of terror begins, Marcus Julianus orchestrates a vast plot to assassinate the emperor.

Cultured Marcus Julianus and barbarian Auriane meet — and form a powerful bond across the gulf of their vastly different ways of life.

Domitian condemns Auriane to the arena, where in the halls of a gladiatorial training school she discovers the tribesman who betrayed her people in war. As Julianus’ assassination plot rushes to its cataclysmic conclusion, Auriane must carry out the solemn rite of vengeance before a maddened throng in the Colosseum.

The E-Book version now available!

The Light Bearer
(E-book cover)

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Critical Acclaim for The Light Bearer

“For anyone interested in this tumultuous period of Roman despotism and Germanic tribes, Gillespie's epic is an intriguing recording of everyday detail, national issues and, more impressively, overarching influences of religion and psychology.”

—Publishers Weekly (starred review)

“Gillespie’s grasp of the daily social, religious and political lives of Germanic tribes and urban Romans alike, and her understanding of the way human deeds are woven by time into myth, keep The Light Bearer rooted in historical plausibility … keeps the reader engaged … The Light Bearer taps into one of the most popular themes in historical fiction today, the unsung woman who takes a hand in the shaping of history.”

—The San Francisco Chronicle

“Much has been written of the cold-blooded shenanigans of the Roman way of life, but Gillespie weaves her tale in a way that brings new color and excitement to the era … [She] gives crisp and detailed descriptions of the fighting methods of the well-trained Roman legions … as powerful as Gillespie’s action writing can be, she shows a deft and almost musical quality in more passionate interludes … Throughout this monumental story, Gillespie constantly increases the excitement and intrigue. There are no flat passages in The Light Bearer, only a fast-flowing stream that erupts into a full-scale torrent in the book’s conclusion.”

—Washington Post Book World

“A time capsule journey into a world of richly embroidered adventure … Richly flavored with historical references, the plot, the action, the painstakingly developed characterizations make it a treasure—even for those who don’t put historical tomes high on their reading list. Gillespie’s greatest gift is the way she crafts descriptive passages—phrases never sit static on the pages. These words are fluid grace points that translate instantly into living, active images in the reader’s imagination.”

—Northwest Florida Daily News

“Gillespie immersed herself in the lore and legends of the Roman way of life and emerged with The Light Bearer … sure to entertain readers in a manner they will not soon forget.”

—Orlando Sentinel

“Gillespie spent eleven years bringing this magnificent book to completion … replete with excitement … Gillespie’s love of the written word is evident.”

—The Marina Times

“Auriane is a true heroine, a woman who stands out from the crowd and who makes a journey of growth and discovery. Her innocence and faith make her trials more poignant, her choices more stark … The Light Bearer weaves a strong picture of life in the first centuries … There are plenty of details that give a feel for the coarse and glorious realities of the ancient Roman world … This is epic historical fiction, centering on one larger-than-life woman.”

—All About Romance

“…you are in for a treat when you discover [Gillespie’s] Lady of the Light, and its predecessor, The Light Bearer, two of the most stunning, mature and intelligent historical/magical novels I have ever read. …its themes—the cost of love, the weaving of destiny, and the way our choices have unexpected consequences—are as contemporary as today’s headline news.”

—Sage Woman Magazine

“Ms. Gillespie writes with a fluid power. Her characters are strong, clear, three-dimensional and totally believable. Her action leaps off the page; her description of life in Rome around the time of Nero is authentic; and her feel for the mysticism and the magic of primitive religions makes one almost want to believe. How the fate of Marcus becomes entwined with that of Auriane is another facet of this wonderful novel never falters or slows its pace.”

—The Book Report

“(Auriane) is a brilliantly written character…Gillespie is an extremely gifted author who effortlessly and seamlessly weaves together historical facts and fictional twists and turns… The Light Bearer is a monumental work of fiction, history and adventure.”

—Under the Covers