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Tom Roberts

Tom Roberts

Tom Roberts is the author of an historical novel and a short story collection. In 2019, at the Florida Writers Association’s Royal Palm Literary Awards, his historical novel, Lost Scrolls of Archimedes, was awarded Gold for best unpublished historical novel (self-published in March 2020). A software engineer in a previous life, Mr. Roberts began writing in 2017. He is avid reader of ancient history and technology and a member of the Florida Writers Association, the Atlanta Writers Club, James River Writers, and Emerald Coast Writers. His favorite authors are Bernard Cornwell, Patrick O’Brian, Steven Saylor, and Arthur C. Clarke. An Air Force veteran, he loves dogs and enjoys hiking, classical music, video games, and college sports. He lives with his wife in Pensacola, Florida.

Lost Scrolls of Archimedes
Join the action in Lost Scrolls of Archimedes, a science-based adventure of history that might have been. Set in Cleopatra’s Egypt, it is a coming-of-age story of a young scholar forced out of the dusty library and onto the world stage of a Roman civil war with the winner taking the rich lands of Egypt. Alexandria, Egypt, 34 BC. Marcus Bassus dreams of a life of intellectual pursuits. Entrusted by his missing mentor with the enigmatic scrolls of Archimedes, he resolves to prove his worth by decoding the complex documents on his own. But when a close friend betrays him and steals one of the scrolls, Marcus vows to prevent its secrets from falling into the corrupt hands of Roman Consul Octavian. Devastated when the Romans assassinate his father, but aided by the smart and alluring linguist, Electra, Marcus works furiously to recover the lost scroll. And after learning Octavian plans to use the ill-gotten information to construct the ultimate weapon against Antony and Cleopatra, he realizes he is Egypt’s only hope. Marcus crosses desert sands and turbulent seas in a quest to build a counter-weapon in time to stave off Roman conquest. Tom Roberts’ award-winning Lost Scrolls of Archimedes is a coming-of-age story and the first book in the action-packed Lost Artifacts historical fiction saga. If you like ancient-world adventures, scholarly heroes, and well-researched settings, you’ll love Tom Roberts’ epic struggle for supremacy. "This novel deals with timeless issues; the power of knowledge to be used for good or evil; the struggle for power and supremacy by leaders; the issue of slavery and how to end it; trust in a relationship. The blend of fiction and historical fact is believable." - Royal Palm Literary Award
Ephesus, August 5, 38 B.C. Marcus Bassus gripped the side of the skiff and stared at the dark river. Its placid surface reflected the half-moon’s light while masking the turbulent undercurrents far below. “We must jump now, Marcus.” Hippolytus said. Despite the warm night air, Marcus shivered as he studied the shrouded shore fifty feet beyond the boat. The lost artifacts they sought tonight hid potent and mysterious dangers. Despite the risk to his life if he was caught, he heeded their siren call. But I’m a scholar, not a thief. He took a deep breath and glanced at his mentor standing in the bow. Like Marcus, Hippolytus was stripped to his loincloth, his skin blackened with ashes and pig fat. For the third time, the small boat neared the eastern shore of the Cayster River north of the city of Ephesus in the Roman province of Asia. At the earlier locations where they sought to disembark, rocks, fallen trees, and tricky currents made the approach too dangerous. They were behind schedule. Water splashed as Julianus, their local guide, rowed to keep the bow pointed into the swift current. Moonlight glinted off a medallion peeking above his tunic. The same Oracle medallion hung from Hippolytus’s neck. “Come on, boy,” Julianus urged. His mangled nose lent a nasal tone to his voice. “This is damned hard work.” Marcus had met the man only yesterday. Julianus, whose muscled arms bulged as he heaved at the oars, said little beyond reporting the local conditions. Hippolytus said the man was obtuse, even for an Oracle. Turning to the water, Marcus sought to calm his fears, reminding himself he often swam across the great Nile River canal in Alexandria. Still, the unknowns ahead fueled his anxiety. “Did you hear me?” Hippolytus urged, pointing his finger at Marcus. “It’s time.” Pulse racing, Marcus scooped his leather bag off the bottom boards and flung it over his back before rolling over the boat’s side. He gasped as the icy water shocked him. His darkened skin blended with the inky river, and he swam against the current until Hippolytus joined him. Hippolytus waved to Julianus, who then maneuvered the skiff downstream toward the harbor at Ephesus. With long frog strokes, Marcus swam alongside Hippolytus toward the ominous shore, where he feared soldiers waited to hack him to pieces. Soon enough his feet touched the rough river bottom, and the two invaders crawled through the shallows to a narrow strip of beach. He scurried across the sand into the shadows of the muddy embankment. With each step, he expected an arrow from an Amazon huntress, the sworn protector of the goddess Artemis. His heart pounded in his ears, drowning out the river’s soft moan. He tripped on a tree root but reached the bank and surveyed the marsh ahead. Neither sound nor motion reached his senses. His heartbeat slowed. The serenity of the celestial glow only deepened his sense that a dark destiny was hanging over the river and land.

Historical Fiction

Moving Pieces
Intrigued by Netflix’s fantastic Queen’s Gambit? Read more chess-fueled fiction in Moving Pieces, a collection of eight short stories and two novelettes.
Dust devils performed an elaborate dance as I gazed out the windshield of the Embassy’s black 1931 Bentley. Directions from the French police had brought me to this isolated oasis after a two-hour drive south from Tunis. I pulled up next to the long, saloon body of the blue 1935 Citroën Avant 7 immediately recognizable as Sir Edward’s. Parked on the other side of the Avant was a tired French police vehicle wearing bald tires and a cracked windshield. As I exited the car, the desert wind’s raw heat singed my face. I jammed my fedora onto my head to shade my eyes from the late afternoon sun and surveyed the dreadful scene before me. Fifty feet ahead, the serenity of the placid salt pond was spoiled along with the palm trees and the lush grass by two bodies: one human, a male sitting against a tree, and one animal, a camel, sprawled in the sand. The smell of camel dung filled the air, and though I couldn’t see them, so did the buzz from the swarming flies. A round, canvas tent favored by western tourists wishing to brave the desert elements in comfortable style was pitched nearby.


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