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Shifting into Gear

July 10, 2004

This afternoon I completed the mammoth outline for Chapter XII. It is amazing, really, how much there is to cover, considering that the events unfold over only about a week. Every other of my chapters covers weeks or more often months, so this is a rarity. But so hectic, crazed, and dramatic are the events leading up to and following the 2nd of August that it would be an injustice to give them anything but their own chapter. They could even warrant their own novel. Indeed, whole non-fiction books have already been dedicated to the events that will unfold in this climactic chapter. I have been consulting three of them, along with my usual sources, in the planning phase.

As I prepare to begin work on the manuscript tonight, I must confess that there is a part of me that wishes people were not reading the chapters as the novel progresses. That way, I could post about the upcoming events without spoiling the story for anyone.

That said, Chapter XII contains one of the single most famous moments in world history, and certainly in the history of Ancient Rome. It is a battle (those reading along should be able to guess this given Chapter XI’s lead-up) on a magnitude rivalled by perhaps a dozen or so others. Gettysburg, Waterloo, Guagamela, Hastings, Poitiers, Thermopylae, Manzikurt, Midway. It is a battle that is still required reading at West Point to this day. A battle that inspired the Schlieffen Plan, Guderain’s Panzer tactics, and even Schwarzkopff’s strategy in Desert Storm.

Its implications to the story are staggering. It, in fact, changes the entire nature of the Second Punic War.

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