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The Scourge of God

by admin on March 3, 2011

The Scourge of GodA Novel of the Roman Empire

Published March 2005

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It is 450 A.D. and venerable Rome has stood for twelve centuries. Yet legend and prophecy foretells the Empire’s end in just three years. On the plains of Hunuguri, Attila the Hun is gathering the most menacing army Rome has ever faced. When he attacks, the horror he unleashes will earn him the title, “The Scourge of God.”

Based on the true tale of intrigue, treachery, lust and heroism that marked Rome’s last great stand against the barbarian threat, The Scourge of God immerses readers in a little-known and richly populated world of warlords, princesses, priests and generals, of glittering capitals and the crumbling ruins of ravaged provinces. Climaxing in the titanic Battle of Chalons, one of the largest in ancient history, this novel recounts the heroic struggle of the western Roman empire against the most fearsome invader Europe has ever faced.

Desperate Roman leaders, believing they have enlisted one of Attila’s lieutenants in an assassination plot, send a treacherous embassy to the barbarian king. The Roman Jonas Alabanda, imperial secretary, finds himself a victim of betrayal and hostage to the Huns. In league with a beautiful Roman captive and a real-life dwarf jester, he must use all his skills as diplomat and fighter not just to survive, but to escape and warn the Empire of its peril. Meanwhile, a Roman princess has asked Attila for rescue, triggering world war. Filled with battles, duels, an epic chase and a final showdown with Attila, The Scourge of God depicts Rome at its desperate end and new beginning, when ordinary people had to unite to defend the crumbling remnants of civilization. It brings to life a lost world of opulence, decadence, courage and spirituality. An explanatory chapter at the end further explains this colorful and bloody era, dominated by the most famous barbarian in world history.


“A wonderful book with well-drawn, compelling characters, particularly those of Jonas and his enemy Skilla, a Hun warrior. The battlefield descriptions are so vivid that one can almost taste the dust in the air and hear the clash of swords and screams of horses. Excellent and highly recommended.”
–Library Journal

“Dietrich vividly describes treachery, betrayals, assassination attempts, executions and battles, culminating in the almost incomprehensively massive and blood Battle of Chalons, in 451 A.D.” –-Booklist

“The story unfolds swiftly and satisfyingly, and the confusing array of tribes and leaders and deftly presented –- no mean feat.”
–-Publishers Weekly

“Dietrich posits that the reason Attila is the one barbarian we remember is because of the immense sacrifice that was required to stop him. He will certainly live on vividly in the minds of those who read this powerful novel.”
–-The Historical Novels Review

“A master at blending accurate historical fact with fictitious love-and-war storytelling techniques, Dietrich has once again delivered an effective combination of truth and lore. For readers who find history books dull and dry, Dietrich has the antidote.”
-–Seattle Times

“Dietrich’s writing have ranged from non-fiction to fiction, from settings in the Northwest to Antarctica to Europe, from current days to recent history to the distant past. The 53-year-old Tacoma native had become the equivalent of a baseball utilityman, capable of performing just about any writing cast with considerable aplomb and at a dizzying speed that has long astounded his colleagues . . . The Scourge of God (is) his entrée into an ancient world of love, lust, intrigue and action.”
–-Seattle Post-Intelligencer

“Well researched and told in a language that makes the reader believe it really is 1,500 years ago, “Scourge” flows past like fine wine.”
–-Salem Statesman-Journal

“Above all else, The Scourge of God is a study of cultures…the differences brought to light through Dietrich’s characters.”
–-Portland Oregonian

“The Scourge of God is a first-rate page turner. Dietrich fashions key characters to stand alongside historical figures, and the mix is seamless.”
–-Portland Independent

“The invasion represents one of history’s ultimate culture clashes, which pitted the civilized yet decaying Roman Empire against swarming barbarian tribes who wanted to level Roman cities. Dietrich doesn’t portray the Huns as mindless; he finds logic behind their actions, which humanizes them.”
–-Anacortes American

“Dietrich has given us an immensely readable glimpse of what the death struggle between Rome and Attila might have been like.”
–-Tacoma News Tribune

hardcover / $24.95 / HarperCollins / 006073499X / March 2005

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