Book Description

The Last Stoic by Morgan Wade

The Indie Book of the Day for 3rd of May, 2013!

Genre: Literary, History

The Last Stoic is a story of appetite and fear, both modern and ancient. Half of the story’s narrative occurs in the time and place of the ancient Roman Empire; the other half occurs in the present-day United States. The parallels between the two eras are so strong that the narrative continues uninterrupted as the setting shifts from historic Rome to modern America, alternating from chapter to chapter. 

Marcus, a young man from a northern provincial border town, journeys deep into the heart of the empire and witnesses first-hand the excesses that can lead to ruin, both personal and political. His story offers an ancient commentary on the preoccupations of our own turbulent times. Shortly after his arrival, the empire is thrown into a panic by an unprecedented barbarian attack on the capital. Suspicion and paranoia abound. A young Roman/American runaway named Patrick, disillusioned with his own life and the state of his country, becomes convinced that Marcus is a dangerous traitor. Culminating in a public accusation made by Patrick, Marcus is wrongfully imprisoned, exiled and tortured as an enemy of the state. In prison, he confronts the many contradictions he has found in his adopted home, and in himself. 

Throughout the story, in both eras, the writings of the philosopher-emperor Marcus Aurelius (The Meditations) insinuate themselves unexpectedly into Marcus’ life. In prison, he is saved by a chance meeting with Sextus Condianus, the “last Stoic” of the title, a cell-mate who is able to fully recite Aurelius’ words and impart their wisdom. Ultimately, it is this unanticipated and unbidden instruction that gives the young man the strength he requires to survive. It becomes evident that the words of the venerable Stoic emperor have as much relevance to our own era as they did to his.

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Book Insight

  • File Size: 487 KB
  • Print Length: 254 pages
  • Publisher: Hidden Brook Press (June 3, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00A9MKOI2
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray: Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled

Read Sample

Morgan Wade grew up in the farm country an hour north of Toronto.

The Last Stoic, his debut novel, was edited by Helen Humphreys (award-winning author of The Reinvention of Love and Coventry). It was long-listed for the 2012 ReLit Award for Fiction.

At 19, after reading Kerouac’s On The Road, he and a friend set out to circumnavigate the continent, travelling from Toronto to New York City and down the eastern seaboard, living and sleeping in a temperamental Pontiac Phoenix SJ. They spent two educational weeks at Mardi Gras, working the parades as carnies, selling firecrackers and cotton candy. From New Orleans they rolled into Brownsville, Texas, Acapulco, and then on to Palm Springs, where the Phoenix finally gasped its last. The pair continued by bus to L.A. and to Vancouver.

Morgan left the west coast to study literature and philosophy at McMaster and Dalhousie Universities, attaining a Master’s. Upon discovering the financial limitations of philosophy as a vocation, he trained as a software engineer and left Halifax at the height of the technology boom for stints in Boston, MA and Austin, TX.

Morgan has studied under novelist Michael Helm at The Humber School For Writers. His short story, The Solitaire, won an honourable mention in the Niagara Branch of the Canadian Authors Association Annual Short Story Competition and was published in their Ten Miles High anthology October, 2010. His short story Truth was published by The New Quarterly in their special 2011 QuArc issue. A poem entitled The Body Eclectic and a short story entitled The Family Business both appeared in the 2012 That Not Forgotten anthology published by Hidden Brook Press. Morgan now lives next to the best fresh-water sailing in the world, in Kingston, Ontario, Canada, with his wife and son, and a cat named Mabel. When he isn’t writing, he is learning the difference between a genoa and a jib.

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