I am John, I Am Paul: A Story of of Two Soldiers in Ancient Rome
Ioannes Fulvius Marcus Romanus – John – first meets his fellow legionary while both are posted in fourth-century Germania, and in one battle John finds himself separated from his comrades and surrounded by spear-wielding enemies. At the crucial moment Paul arrives with a savage cry and reinforcements, and after that the two men become friends, brought closer not only by their shared love of battle but also by their participation in the religion of Mithraism so popular among soldiers. The two serve in the ranks of a legion policing a fractured world, with Constantine ruling in the North, Maxentius in the south, and Licinius in the east, and their own friendship is equally fractured, with one electing to follow the dictates of Christianity and the other believing in Mithraism. Tedesco packs a lot of story into a comparatively small number of pages, and he’s very adept at giving a low-key but very believable humanity to his main characters. Recommended.