Author Archives: Carol Ashby

About Carol Ashby

Carol Ashby delights in creating stories about difficult friendships growing into love under dangerous circumstances. Combining her fascination with the Roman Empire born of her first middle-school Latin class and a research career in New Mexico that inspires her to get every historical detail right, she spins stories to make her readers feel like they’re living under the Caesars themselves.

More Than Honor: Duty and honor had anchored his life, but only truth could set him free.

Ready for the next adventure filled with danger, friendship, faith, and love? Join me again in the Roman Empire of Hadrian, this time in Rome itself in AD 126. The next volume in the Light in the Empire series is here!

As Tribune Titianus hunts the one who killed Pompeia’s father, will he discover the secret that could lead to her death?

It’s another tale of light in the darkness and hope in difficult times!

More Than Honor can be read stand-alone, like all the books in the Light in the Empire series. But if you’ve been wondering whether Septimus Sabinus from Honor Bound was still choosing to live his life based on honor three years later, like Marcus Brutus had hoped he would, you’ll be glad to see the young man he’s become.

More Than Honor cover

Available as e-book, paperback, and hardcover at Amazon and Barnes & Noble, as e-book at Kobo, and at local bookstores by special order.

More Than Honor by Carol Ashby
Volume 10 of the Light in the Empire series

Duty and honor had anchored his life, but only truth could set him free.

Devotion to duty and dogged determination make Tribune Titianus the most feared investigator of the Urban Cohort. Honor drives him to hunt down anyone who breaks Roman law, but it becomes personal when Lenaeus, his old tutor, is murdered in his own classroom. Why kill a respected teacher of the noble sons of Rome, a man who has nothing worth stealing and no known enemies? Had he learned something too dangerous to let him live?

Pompeia was only a girl when Titianus studied with Father before her family became Christians. She and her brother Kaeso can’t move their school from the house where their father was killed. But what if the one who killed Father comes to kill again? Kaeso’s friend Septimus insists they spend nights at his father’s well-guarded home. But danger lurks there as well. As Titianus hunts for the murderer, will he discover their secret faith and arrest them as enemies of the Empire?

When Titianus gets too close to finding the killer, the hunter becomes the hunted. While he recovers at his cousin Septimus’s house, Pompeia becomes the first woman to touch his heart. But a tribune’s loyalty is sworn to Rome, no matter how he feels. When her faith is revealed, will truth and love mean more to him than honor? Does honor require more than devotion to Rome?

Light in the Empire Series: Dangerous times, difficult friendships, lives transformed by forgiveness and love

More Than Honor is the tenth volume in the Light in the Empire series, which follows the interconnected lives of six Roman families during the reigns of Trajan and Hadrian. Each can be read stand-alone. The twelve novels of the series will take you around the Empire, from Germania and Britannia to Thracia, Dacia, and Judaea and, of course, to Rome itself.

Hope’s Reward: Must the secrets we hide destroy our hope for a future?

Ready for another adventure in the Roman Empire of Trajan in AD 106? The next volume in the Light in the Empire series is here!

Hope’s Reward can be read stand-alone, like all the books in the Light in the Empire series. But if you’ve been wondering where Ursus went after he left Ariana and Donatus in Hope Unchained, now you can discover what happened to him as a new child of God.

It’s a story of two people hoping to escape the past and longing for a different future. When God brings together a runaway gladiator and a pagan Roman noblewoman desperate for a new life, difficulties and danger are sure to follow. Come join me again for a new story of light in the darkness and hope in difficult times.

Hope's Reward cover

Available as e-book, paperback, and hardcover at Amazon and Barnes & Noble, as e-book at Kobo, and at local bookstores by special order.

Hope’s Reward by Carol Ashby
Volume 9 of the Light in the Empire series

Must the secrets we hide destroy our hope for a future?

For a gladiator slave, each time you step on the sand, it’s kill or die. When Ursus decides to follow Jesus, he must choose to die the next time he’s ordered to fight…or run away. He runs, taking again his childhood name, Matti. But he isn’t just trying to escape. He’s running to Thessalonica, where he hopes to find other Christians like the woman who led him to faith.

When Felicia’s new husband, Falco, almost kills her in a fit of rage, her uncle won’t help her end the marriage with his business partner. He will send her to her sister in Thessalonica, but only if she tells no one she plans to divorce Falco and demand her dowry back before she gets there. When Matti interrupts a robbery too late to save Felicia’s money for traveling by sea, he offers to bodyguard and escort her overland to their mutual destination.

After Matti risks everything to save her from Falco’s assassins, Felicia fears taking the danger to her sister’s family. When his Christian friends take them in, she discovers the deepest desires of her heart. But will the secrets of Matti’s past make a future together impossible?

Light in the Empire Series: Dangerous times, difficult friendships, lives transformed by forgiveness and love

Hope’s Reward is the ninth volume in the Light in the Empire series, which follows the interconnected lives of five Roman families during the reigns of Trajan and Hadrian. Each can be read stand-alone. The eleven novels of the series will take you around the Empire, from Germania and Britannia to Thracia, Dacia, and Judaea and, of course, to Rome itself.

Honor Bound: Honor had forced him to protect her. Time would tell if he’d regret it.

Ready for another adventure in the Roman Empire of Hadrian in AD 122-3? The next volume in the Light in the Empire series releases June 22, 2020.

Honor Bound can be read stand-alone, like all the books in the Light in the Empire series. But if you enjoyed Africanus and Brutus in True Freedom in AD 118, you can find out what happens to them four years later.

It’s a story of loss and new beginnings, of love and hatred and forgiveness that opens the door to a brighter future blessed by God. Come join me again for another story of light in the darkness and hope in difficult times.

Honor Bound cover

Releaseing June 22, 2020! Available as e-book, paperback, and hardcover at Amazon and Barnes & Noble, as e-book at Kobo, and at local bookstores by special order.

Honor Bound by Carol Ashby
Volume 8 of the Light in the Empire series

Honor had forced him to protect her. Time would tell if he’d regret it.

Marcus Brutus owns estates, ships, and gladiator schools that increase his fortune daily, but his greatest treasures are his honor and his wife. When she reveals her faith in Jesus before dying after the birth of their son, he’s consumed by hatred for the unnamed Christian woman who led his beloved to abandon the Roman gods, making him lose her in this life and the next.

For fifteen years, Licinia’s father hid her Christian faith. But now her father is dead, and a ruthless political enemy is hunting for anything to destroy her brother. When she becomes the target, her brother sends her to their estate in Germania. But is that far enough to protect her from an evil man who will stop at nothing?

A carriage accident leaves Brutus injured and his best friend near death, and Licinia cares for them. When her brother’s enemies come and he learns she’s the Christian who corrupted his wife, does honor require him to protect her or turn her over as an enemy of Rome? And when Licinia’s heart is drawn toward the pagan man who makes money off death, can she reconcile her growing affection with her love for Christ?

Light in the Empire Series: Dangerous times, difficult friendships, lives transformed by forgiveness and love

Honor Bound is the eighth volume in the Light in the Empire series, which follows the interconnected lives of four Roman families during the reigns of Trajan and Hadrian. Each can be read stand-alone. The nine novels of the series will take you around the Empire, from Germania and Britannia to Thracia, Dacia, and Judaea and, of course, to Rome itself.

Hope Unchained: Can the deepest loss bring the greatest gain?

More adventure in the Roman Empire of Trajan in AD 106! The next volume in the Light in the Empire series releases December 2, 2019.

Hope Unchained can be read stand-alone, like all the books in the Light in the Empire series. But if you enjoyed True Freedom set in Rome in AD 118, you’ll get to spend some time with Leander’s beloved sister Ariana twelve years earlier when Rome’s armies conquered Dacia and made them both slaves.

Come join me again for dangerous times, difficult friendships, and lives transformed by forgiveness and love!

Hope Unchained cover

Available as ebook, paperback, and hardcover at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, and local bookstores by special order.

Hope Unchained by Carol Ashby
Volume 7 of the Light in the Empire series

Can the deepest loss bring the greatest gain?

Rome’s conquering army took Ariana’s family and freedom, but nothing can take her faith in Jesus. When she rescues a tribune’s wife from certain death, her reward is freedom and a chance to free her brother and sister. But first she must catch up with the slave caravan before they vanish forever, and tracking them from Dacia to the coast seems impossible for one woman alone.

Discharged from the legion with a hand crippled by a Dacian knife, Donatus faces a future without hope. When the tribune asks him to escort Ariana on her quest, it’s the only work he can find. It means four weeks with a Dacian woman and a gladiator bodyguard, but it takes money to eat. A man without options must take what he can get.

But a lot can happen in four weeks. Even battle-hardened men can be touched by love and forgiveness, and it’s easier to face an enemy with a sword than to face the truth. When his moment of truth comes, what will Donatus choose, and what will that mean for all of them?

Light in the Empire Series: Dangerous times, difficult friendships, lives transformed by forgiveness and love

Hope Unchained is the seventh volume in the Light in the Empire series, which follows the interconnected lives of four Roman families during the reigns of Trajan and Hadrian. Each can be read stand-alone. The nine novels of the series will take you around the Empire, from Germania and Britannia to Thracia, Dacia, and Judaea and, of course, to Rome itself.

True Freedom: The Chains We Cannot See Can Be the Hardest Ones to Break

Come join me again in the Roman Empire of Hadrian in AD 118! The next volume in the Light in the Empire series releases May 27 with pre-orders starting May 18.

True Freedom can be read stand-alone, like all the books in the Light in the Empire series. But if you enjoyed Forgiven or Faithful set in AD 122, you’ll get to spend some time four years earlier with some of the characters you may have liked or loved…or hated.

Come join me for more dangerous times, difficult friendships, and lives transformed by forgiveness and love!

True Freedom cover

Coming May 27, 2019; pre-order May 18. Available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, and local bookstores as special order.

True Freedom by Carol Ashby
Volume 6 of the Light in the Empire series

The chains we cannot see can be the hardest ones to break.

When Aulus runs up a gambling debt to his father’s political enemy, he’s desperate to pay it off before his father returns to Rome. His best friend Marcus suggests they fake the kidnapping of Aulus’s sister Julia and use the ransom money. But when the man they hired kidnaps her for real, Aulus is catapulted into a desperate search to find her.

Torn from his childhood home by Rome’s conquering armies and sold as a farm slave to labor until he dies, Dacius’s faith gives him strength to bear what he must and serve without complaining. After a deadly accident makes him one of Julia’s litter bearers, he overhears Marcus advising her brother to kidnap her. When Dacius almost dies thwarting the kidnapping, a Christian couple pretend Julia and Dacius are their children to keep her brother from finding them before her father returns.

But pretending to be free again makes returning to slavery more than Dacius can bear, while acting like a common woman opens Julia’s eyes to dreams and destinies she never knew existed. With her brother closing in and her father almost home, can she find a way around Roman law and custom to free them both for the future they long for?

Light in the Empire Series: Dangerous times, difficult friendships, lives transformed by forgiveness and love

True Freedom is the sixth volume in the Light in the Empire series, which follows the interconnected lives of the members of four Roman families during the reigns of Trajan and Hadrian. The eight novels of the series will take you around the Empire, from Germania and Britannia to Thracia, Dacia, and Judaea and, of course, to Rome itself.

Return to the Roman Empire for Second Chances

Come join me for more dangerous times, difficult friendships, and lives transformed by forgiveness and love in the Roman Empire of Hadrian (AD 122). The next volume in the Light in the Empire series releases November 26.

Second Chances can be read stand-alone, but if you’ve already read The Legacy, you’ll recognize some of the characters from eight years earlier (AD 114). You can probably guess who’s still up to no good.

Light in the Empire Vol 1-5 covers
Available in paperback and ebook at Amazon and Barnes & Noble and in ebook at Kobo.

Must the shadows of the past destroy the hope of the future?

In AD 122, Cornelia Scipia, proud daughter of one of Rome’s noblest families, learns her adulterous husband plans to betroth their daughter to the vicious son of his best friend. Over her dead body! Cornelia divorces him, reclaims her enormous dowry, and kidnaps her own daughter. She plans to start over with Drusilla a thousand miles away. No more husbands for her. But she didn’t count on meeting Hector, the widowed Greek captain of the ship carrying her to her new life.

Devastated by the loss of his wife and daughter, Hector’s heart begins to heal as he befriends Drusilla. Cornelia’s sacrificial love for Drusilla and her courage and humor in the face of the unknown earn his admiration…as a friend. Is he ready for more?

Marriage to the kind, honest sea captain would give Drusilla the father she deserves…and Cornelia the faithful husband she’s always longed for. But while her ex-husband hunts them to drag Drusilla back to Rome, secrets in Hector’s past and the chasms between their social classes and different faiths erect complicated barriers to any future together. Will God give two lonely hearts a second chance at happiness?

Dangerous times, difficult friendships, lives transformed by forgiveness and love

Second Chances is the fifth volume in the Light in the Empire series, which follows the interconnected lives of four Roman families during the reigns of Trajan and Hadrian. Each can be read stand-alone. The eight novels of the series will take you around the Empire, from Germania and Britannia to Thracia, Dacia, and Judaea and, of course, to Rome itself.

Join some of the people you met in The Legacy eight years later in this tale of hope and a future never imagined until God opens the door.

The Legacy that Matters

last will and testament

Legacy. It’s a word that calls up images of wills and lawyers, of our parents’ house or the family farmland, of stocks and bonds and bank accounts, of family heirlooms and…the list goes on.

But we leave behind a legacy much more important than material possessions. Is there a person alive who doesn’t want those they love to share the highest values that inspire and define their lives?

I can think of no greater legacy that I could pass on to my family and friends than the knowledge of how much God loves them and how Jesus’s sacrifice on the cross opened the door to eternal life, if they only choose to accept the forgiveness and salvation He freely offers.

But what if the ones you love embrace the culture that questions and rejects what you long to share?
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Living in a Disposable World

Mannequin

Every trash day, it’s obvious we’re living in a disposable world. So much of our garbage exists because someone found a way to make something quicker and easier so we have more time to do something else.

Those single-serving plastic cups for brewing coffee without measuring out the grounds or cleaning up the pot after the coffee’s ready. The plastic cooking trays that are part of a nukeable boxed dinner. Single use…then into the trash (or recycling bin if we try to live “green”). They did what we needed; then out they go.

But do we ever approach people with that attitude? If they no longer fulfill our own needs, are they “disposable,” too?
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When Yes Means No and No Becomes Yes

 jumping between yes and no

When someone asks me to do something for them, my natural inclination is to say yes. When it’s someone in authority over me, someone with the right to command instead of ask, the “yes” is almost automatic.

It’s not that I’m a pathological people-pleaser, but I find no pleasure in disappointing people when what they ask is reasonable.

But do you ever find yourself saying yes when you plan to avoid doing what was asked? And what about when you say no but decide to do it anyway?
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When Danger Lurks in an Appealing Package

snake's rattle

My husband came in to tell me he’d killed it. I had to go see.

By the side of the house, on the path between the front door and the side gate in the adobe wall that surrounds the pond, I found it. A western rattlesnake was still slowly coiling and uncoiling, but it was dead, its head crushed by a blow from a two-by-four. (Don’t ever touch a freshly killed rattlesnake. It can deliver a reflex bite for up to an hour.)

How sad. If it had been well away from the house and shop, I would have enjoyed seeing it. I like snakes, even rattlesnakes, but an ambush predator that might inject you with venom if you surprise it can’t be allowed to stay where people walk all the time.

As much as I appreciate the elegant design and graceful beauty of a rattlesnake, I won’t let it stay too close. I might walk by it safely a hundred times without even noticing it, but when it decides to strike…

How often do we not see the hazard in something before it’s too late?
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