Title: Guardian of the Flame
Author: T.L.Higley
Paperback: 400 pages
Publisher: B&H Books (October 1, 2009)
Genre: Historical Fiction
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

About the book:
Guardian of the Flame is book three in the Seven Wonders series of novels transporting readers back to the Ancient World. Characters struggle to find meaning in a pagan society and are confronted by the one true God and His message of redemption.
The year is 48 BC. Sophia, a woman hurt by past loss, guards the famous lighthouse of Alexandria, Egypt, in order to hide herself away from a world she deems cruel and unloving. But there is no escape. Political turmoil swells as Roman general Julius Caesar and his legion storm the city, and Cleopatra, Greek queen of Egypt , fights to retain her country against both Caesar and bloodthirsty rivals within her own household. Sophia is caught in the middle between a loyalty to Cleopatra and her maddening interest in Bellus, the Roman soldier whom Caesar has instructed to overtake the lighthouse.

My thoughts:
Guardian of the Flame takes us to 48 B.C Alexandria, Egypt. It’s the time when Julius Caesar and his troops have taken control of Alexandria and Cleopatra and her younger brother Ptolemy are in exile.

But…this is not the story of Cleopatra, it’s the story of Sophia who is Cleopatra’s tutor and is the keeper of the strategic lighthouse.

Sophia is a woman who has made the lighthouse her refuge and has refused to mix and mingle with the town people. She has closed her heart to every possibility of love in every form for the fear of causing her more pain. This fear has a history of course which is revealed in due course of time. In this fortress of hers enters Bellus, a Roman General, who is given the task of guarding the lighthouse considering it is the most strategic location in Alexandra.

Bellus, who although is a great warrior, is very interested in knowledge and books as well. He is attracted to the mystery that is Sophia and in the end tries his best to guard his heart against what he sees as an obviously wrong and fatal attraction.

Guardian of the Flame is essentially a historical romance, both aspects of which the author T.L.Higley can write very well. The romance between Sophia and Bellus was so well done. She definitely knows how to build a convincing romance while also describing the turbulent conditions in Alexandra during that period. She has a rare skill of not letting one aspect of the story overshadow the other.

That brings me to the history. Honestly I didn’t know much about Cleopatra and Caesar and I got to know so much about it through this book. Of course I did Google a little afterwards just to find out how much was fact and fiction. She describes the hub of knowledge and discovery that Alexandra once was and builds a story around it too. Also the incident where Cleopatra hides inside a carpet and then rolls out of it in front of Caesar was priceless. The author describes what Cleopatra must have gone through during that time. I had a hard time believing it actually happened and that it was not the author’s creation.

T.L.Higley knows how to convincingly mix history and fiction and make it appealing to an average reader too. If you haven’t tried one of her books, you really ought to. Start with Shadow of Colossus, a book, I absolutely adored but then do read Guardian of the Flame too. Both these books are part of the 7 wonders of the ancient World Series. The beauty of the series is that each book stands independently so you can start with any book that appeals to you.

Note: This book is also categorized as Christian fiction but it’s not in the face, so non-Christians like me can enjoy it as well.