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Writers Inspiring Change feature book review: ANTIOCH: The Sword of Agrippa Book I

Updated: Mar 24

Antioch, by Gregory Ness is a masterful piece of writing. I had the opportunity to read an earlier version of this book published in 2014. I considered it a good book at that reading, but now, having just read the 2016 edition, I rate this book as excellent! Without spoiling this beautifully done story, it takes us back and forth between the present, which is some years ahead of contemporary times, and thousands of years into the past, and then rolls us back and forth in an ever-consuming tale between now and then. The detail and imagery laced into the text about ancient Rome and Egypt, as well as Persia and Turkey, and their cultures and people, animates them, as if the reader is walking the stony streets of Alexandria. There is a beautiful love story which transcends time, depiction of brutal wars and great power struggles between Rome, Egypt and others – and the perspective of how Julius Caesar was, as a man, and a leader, makes the history books seem shallow in design. But what really makes this story shine is the way the author draws us into the world of our memories, of past lives we have lived, and the scientific dialogues and intrigue which are unfolding in the now, and how, all of this ties into the grand story which we are reliving thousands of years before when Pharaohs were the most powerful rulers on Earth, when Caesar and his armies marched into Egypt and when the infamous Cleopatra had the two most powerful nations of that time, in the palm of her hands. Antioch makes you think about the nature of who we really are, about the veracity of having lived countless past lives, about the scientific import of a tiny organ in our brain – a portal which not only allows us to interact with the world around us, but quite possibly, is also the very link to our immensely distant past. An entertaining, gripping, beautifully written and highly insightful piece of work.

Review by International Writers Inspiring Change

About Greg Ness

I’m a Silicon Valley entrepreneur who loves books. I’ve helped to start more than eight tech companies and writing became a kind of therapy. I figured out that for moments at a time I could create my own world and personal moments of incredible tranquility intermixed with the stresses of creating startups in the thrilling, often crazy tech world. I have an amazing family who helped me to manage the hubbubs of victories and defeats in compressed time cycles, yet writing also helped me to stay centered.

What prompted you to become a writer?

In 2005 I started having strange dreams set in the days of the Roman Empire. I ignored them initially. Then they started disrupting my sleep. I was advised by a friend to try hypnosis and writing. So I did.

What do your readers like about your writing?

I think the mix of future and past by way of events intermixed with dream sequences gives Antioch a surreal, spiritual quality that resounds with some. Then there is the notion that we are all connected, across time and place, and yet can have very different perspectives on what needs to be done to make the world a better place, while others seem to appreciate the sense of being inside the room where technologists banter about tech over hash browns.

Is there a message weaved into your writing?

Yes. We are all connected by forces we don’t completely understand but are as real as any scientifically proven fact. This gives room for a healthy spiritual balance in a world too concerned with objective measurability and matter. Certainty it is the enemy of knowledge.

How do you inspire others with and through your writing?

In my humble opinion, readers feel a connection to something greater than the noisy media. Something profound. I find that very rewarding.

Tell us about your most recent book and why you wrote it.

Antioch is about my own spiritual quest as much as it is about the future and past. I’m very interested in the frontiers of science and where they might lead us. I’m also concerned about the backlash against science or at least the rejection of science that doesn’t favor a particular industry or traditionally accepted viewpoint. Do I believe all things labeled science? No. But I trust in the scientific method as a baseline for dialogue about complex issues that are often oversimplified so they can spread faster. I want Antioch to be a kind of reality check on what Hoffer called “The True Believer.”

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