A shy person, Vann Turner avoids crowds and tries to avoid any attention. He is not on Facebook or Twitter. When questioned about this, he said, "What I have to say publicly, I say in my published writings. I am something of a recluse."
On occasion friends visit him and his dogs in our mountain home. Every two weeks he goes to the market for dairy products, fruits, vegetables and Oreos. You’ll recognize him in Walmart (Newport, TN) by the black armband he wears on the left. If you do, go up and say hello. "I welcome people into my life. People are important."
Or if you would like to send him an email, he will answer you. "One-on-one works well for me, you see. It’s the crowd or anonymous banter that gives me the heebie-jeebies, not one-on-one contact. And besides, email has proved to be a bridge to friendships for me."
On an isolated cape high above a churning sea, a mysterious young woman of enchanting beauty enters a lonely temple. Lulled there by inconceivable desire, it is a clandestine meeting that will forever alter her fate. Wishing only to capture the love of a god, she instead commits a grievous act of sin against an angry goddess and sets in motion a chain of events that not only tears her world apart, but those that love her as well...
In a world ruled by men, and explained by myth, two brave sisters must break the rules and embark on a perilous journey. Divided by difference, yet united by a singular cause, they must go out into a world that is at once cruel and capricious; a world which often views and treats women as being no better than slaves
It is a journey that will take them across the width and breadth of ancient Greece. From the highest of mountains, to the deepest of valleys; to the most fabled of lands where myths come to life and futures are told, and finally, to the dark confines of the Underworld itself in search of answers. It is a journey that will see them pitted against unforeseen challenges and dangers, and at times against each other. But as their journey of struggle and discovery unfolds, something unusual begins to take shape, and the question of what happened to their sister is invariably replaced with one of a much deeper meaning
How far would you go to save the soul of someone you love?
It is AD 41. The savage Gaul Britomaris has defeated the best of the Roman gladiators in the arena. Now a young volunteer, Marcus Valerius Pavo, the son of a murdered general, has been given a month to prepare to face Britomaris in a fight which only one man can survive. He is to be trained by veteran soldier Macro, who fears for his young trainee's chances. But Pavo is motivated by more than a simple desire for victory or survival, and Britomaris may yet be facing his most dangerous opponent...
Emperor Nero’s grip on power is weakening. In every shadow he sees an enemy and like a cornered animal he lashes out at every perceived threat. His paranoia settles on the figure of Gnaeus Domitius Corbulo, Rome’s greatest General who leads the imperial legions in the East.
So popular is Corbulo with his men that he effective presides over an Empire within an Empire. Is Corbulo preparing to march against Rome and take the purple?
Gaius Valerius Verrens, Hero of Rome, is ordered to Antioch with the power of life and death over Corbulo, a soldier he worships. There he finds word of his mission has preceded him and every man’s hand is turned against him. But Corbulo’s eyes are not on Rome, but on a new threat to the Empire’s border. The Parthian King of Kings, Vologases, is marching to war and with such an army that if not stopped he might overwhelm the entire Roman east.
Valerius marches at Corbulo’s side. Outnumbered they make a stand in the barren wastes beyond the Tigris to meet Vologases in an epic contest of military might and ingenuity that will decide the fate of the Empire. And while he fights for the Empire, and for his own survival on the battlefield, Valerius must decide whether to complete his mission, or risk incurring his Emperor’s dangerous wrath.
A newspaper journalist by profession, Douglas Jackson's lifelong fascination for Rome and the Romans inspired him to pick up the pen and write his first novel, Caligula, and a sequel Claudius. He has gone on to become one of the best writers of Roman historical fiction at work today. Avenger of Rome is the third title in his series featuring Gaius Valerius Verrens; the first two, Hero of Rome and Defender of Rome, are available in paperback and ebook editions.
AD 68. The Emperor Nero’s erratic and bloody reign is in its death throes when Gaius Valerius Verrens is dispatched to Rome on a mission that will bring it to a close. With Nero dead, the city holds its breath and awaits the arrival his successor, Servius Sulpicius Galba, governor of Hispania. The Empire prays for peace, but it prays in vain. Galba promises stability and prosperity, but his rule begins with a massacre and ends only months later in chaos and carnage. This will become known as the Year of the Four Emperors, a time of civil war which will tear Rome apart and test Valerius’s skills and loyalties to their very limit. Fortunate to survive Galba’s fall, Valerius is sent on a mission by Rome’s new Emperor, Otho, to his old friend Vitellius, commander of the armies of the north. Vitellius’s legions are on the march, and only Valerius can persuade him to halt them before the inevitable confrontation. In an epic adventure that will take him the length and breadth of a divided land, the one-armed Roman fights to stay alive and stave off a bloodbath as he is stalked by the most implacable enemy he has ever faced.
Set in the 1980’s, the gritty opening scene has Robert Newell—straight and with head-turning good looks—facing the reality of Carmen. In actuality he confronts the reality about himself—how, to escape his homelessness, he has pandered himself to her lusts. He speaks to her about wanting children and driving home after work to play with them in the backyard. She speaks of sex toys.
Bob’s beatified mother visits him in his sleep and in the morning he decides to make his move. In order to reclaim his dignity of being a man, he will again make his home in his rusting pickup truck. He hopes that one day he might obtain his dream. He acknowledges that it is a humble dream, the common dream of Everyman—the dream of wife and family.
In Atlanta a Marine he had served with in Vietnam pummels him in a beer joint and tosses him out onto the sidewalk. Blaine Shirer, a homely gay guy, has been prowling a nearby park for tricks. He stops to help Bob home.
Over weeks a sort of friendship develops—on again, off again. But eventually they manage to make a home together and celebrate the negligible milestones of one life, of the other’s and of the life they share together. But then come bullets and judgment by the righteous.
In this novel of heart and grit, Vann Turner bears witness to the dreams we seek, the love we crave and the courage we must summon to defend it from righteous wagging tongues.
This beautiful, illuminating tale of hope and courage is based on interviews that were conducted with Holocaust survivor and Auschwitz-Birkenau tattooist Ludwig (Lale) Sokolov—an unforgettable love story in the midst of atrocity.
“The Tattooist of Auschwitz is an extraordinary document, a story about the extremes of human behavior existing side by side: calculated brutality alongside impulsive and selfless acts of love. I find it hard to imagine anyone who would not be drawn in, confronted and moved. I would recommend it unreservedly to anyone, whether they’d read a hundred Holocaust stories or none.”—Graeme Simsion, internationally-bestselling author of The Rosie Project
In April 1942, Lale Sokolov, a Slovakian Jew, is forcibly transported to the concentration camps at Auschwitz-Birkenau. When his captors discover that he speaks several languages, he is put to work as a Tätowierer (the German word for tattooist), tasked with permanently marking his fellow prisoners.
Imprisoned for over two and a half years, Lale witnesses horrific atrocities and barbarism—but also incredible acts of bravery and compassion. Risking his own life, he uses his privileged position to exchange jewels and money from murdered Jews for food to keep his fellow prisoners alive.
One day in July 1942, Lale, prisoner 32407, comforts a trembling young woman waiting in line to have the number 34902 tattooed onto her arm. Her name is Gita, and in that first encounter, Lale vows to somehow survive the camp and marry her.
A vivid, harrowing, and ultimately hopeful re-creation of Lale Sokolov's experiences as the man who tattooed the arms of thousands of prisoners with what would become one of the most potent symbols of the Holocaust, The Tattooist of Auschwitz is also a testament to the endurance of love and humanity under the darkest possible conditions.