Guardian of the Flame: A Seven Wonders Novel

Guardian of the Flame: A Seven Wonders Novel

by T. L. Higley

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780805447323
Publisher: B&H Publishing Group
Publication date: 10/01/2009
Edition description: Original
Pages: 400
Product dimensions: 5.50(w) x 8.30(h) x 1.10(d)

About the Author

T.L. Higley holds a degree in English Literature and has written three previous novels and more than fifty drama productions for church ministry.  She is especially passionate about "breaking down emotional and philosophical barriers that people have put up between themselves and Christ."

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Guardian of the Flame: A Seven Wonders Novel 3.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 29 reviews.
fencingcellist on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
T. L . Higley's Guardian of the Flame brings to life the world of ancient Alexandria. Her protagonist, Sophia, is the lighthouse keeper who has chosen self-imposed exile to her own world separate from but overlooking this great city. In the course of the novel, she gets drawn down from her tower into the real world through her association with her former pupil, Cleopatra, and Julius Caesar's invasion of Alexandria.Higley draws us into Sophia's world, and the strength of the book lies in her portrayal of a spirit of place of ancient Alexandria. The ancient landmarks of the city come to life as the backdrop to Higley's unfolding story of Sophia's past, her love of scholarship and learning, the reason she has cut her hair short like a man, what led her to hide herself from the world, and her attraction to the Roman soldier Lucius Aurelius Bellus.Although Higley does a good job in bringing to life her characters, introducing us to her ideas of what the personalities of the famous historical figures such as Cleopatra and Julius Caesar might have been, and creating her own Sophia, the real strength of the book for me was her reanimation of the life of ancient Alexandria. When I finished the book, I missed her portrayal of the city more than her characters. This novel is well worth reading if you have an interest in ancient Alexandria and enjoy historical fiction. There is a love story as well, but this was not the over-riding feature of the novel. I look forward to reading Higley's other novels.
varxint on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Story centred in Egypt, in the time of Cleopatra and Caesar. The initial idea of the story intrigued me and I was not aware that it was labeled a religious book. A tad worried that it might be weighted heavily in the religion and not story. I found the story engaging and with a good flow. The author told a simple and concise story with an over arching message of love and loss. I appreciated the message of the one God and was happy to see it was a message in the story and not the whole story.The characters were well written and easy to relate to. The chapters were very well written and edited. By far, the best thing of this book is the flow. Each chapter was short and to the point. No detail was missing but it did not contain paragraphs of useless filler. I appreciated the ability of the author and the editor to keep the events moving.Overall, a book about an interesting time in history, although my knowledge of Eygptian and Roman history is not there to be able to say how accurate it was.Enjoyable and easy read.
KHill41818 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I have really had a difficult time getting into this book. The premise of the Lighthouse of Alexandra and using some historical figures as real characters in the story seemed like it would draw my interest since I love anything with historical background... but it just didn't grab me like I hoped it would. I've struggled to read it, and am only about half through it...
WCollett on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This book is an easy read book for me. I am not reading for knowledge - I am reading for relaxation. The story line holds my attention but it is not a page turner. I can read a chapter and put the book down. The book is well written and the definitions ar the front of the book do help with the story line. I like the style the author uses to keep the reader interested, the storylines intertwine keeping you wondering what will be the next twist in the plot.
MartinaKunz on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I love a nice juicy historical fiction book - it's nice to learn something while you are being entertained. In T.L. Higley's third book in the Seven Wonders series, this book holds its own as a standalone. I like that I didn't feel I'd missed anything by not reading the first two novels (Which I will now, btw). Because it is classed as a religious book, there are no gratuitous sex scenes or bad language. Higley tells an interesting story and makes it easy for the reader to want to keep reading.This book might not be for everyone, but I do recommend it.
hjjugovic on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I received an advanced edition through Early Reviewers and am reviewing the unedited copy. I though this book was good but not great. The historical research that forms its backbone is genuinely fascinating, but the characters are flat, the main character unappealing, the plot stiff, and at times it reads more like a cheap romance novel than good historical fiction. Good ideas, poor storytelling.
saskreader on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
My review for this novel I received as an Early Reviewer is very late because I lost interest soon after starting it and have only recently decided to give it another go. Overall, I find this book enjoyable, but because I didn't feel compelled to finish it and because there are so many other excellent books to read first, I can't give it very high marks. For me, this was average.
trish. on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Right from the get go this book had my attention and good opinion. I read the first 100 pages with out moving, lost in the great writing and interesting plot line. Not only that but a wonderful woman's point of view. I love Cleopatra's character and was more than willing to follow Shophia through the story. I will definitely read more form this author (she has several books under the Seven Wonders series)and recommend her. Her books are well researched (as you will find out by going to her neat website) and she weaves stories beautifully.
jcmontgomery on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I love historical fiction, and this novel doesn't fail to live up to my expectations. I hesitated as I thought it was part of a series, and it is, but not in a way that required reading any of the other stories.I am still forming my opinion in a more coherent way and hope to have a full review soon. Until then, I will say that this is getting a recommendation to read. I will also say that even though the story is set within a period that many of us know well, it is the the theme, the characters themselves that make this book what it is - not the events going on around them. Setting is important, but here, it is not the focus. And I like that.
iwriteinbooks on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
It¿s 48 BC and two great fronts are about to collide. Rome has arrived in Egypt intertwining all of the combined glory of Caesar¿s West and Cleopatra¿s East. High atop the lighthouse of Alexandria, Sophia, a graying scholar keeps watch over a city she knows is doomed to change. Her life¿s work, not to mention the work of her family and friends over generations, is at the doorstep of extinction, due to the growing rumble of international politics and national debts unpaid.Three of Higley¿s characters (Sophia, Cleopatra and a fictional Roman soldier) are shown in detail by alternating chapters. There is much of the expected political intrigue given the setting and players but there is also great detail in the personal relationships. Themes of love, abandonment, loss, and faith are well explored.I adored the concept. I love history and when it¿s done well, also love historical fiction. In terms of pure fact, Higley, I¿m sure, is on point but I don¿t think her writing style is quite in my court. It had all of the right makings of something I would devour but it seemed just too dry and slow for a real adventure. I can¿t exactly pinpoint the issue in detail; I just found the reading slow going and I think I only noticed it because I wanted to eat it up but just couldn¿t. That is not to say that the writing is thick or unmanageable, just that I think there was a bit too much emphasis on repeating the already mentioned inner thoughts of each character and basic other cheesy devices that slowed things down. It had the effect of making it seem a lighter read as ideas were repeated rather than explored more deeply.I did enjoy the overall concepts, both light and deep, though. The themes of power and romance played well within in the intimate connections as well as on a larger stage. This is one of a seven book series and while I don¿t think I¿ll be rushing out to grab the others in a hurry, I would not be opposed to seeking out the rest in time when I need something lighter.
paeonia on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I'm sorry but I just cannot finish this book. I tried really, really hard to finish in spite of having deep-seated dislike of the romantic genre, but I just can't do it. The story, set in Alexandria at the time of Caesar's takeover, is totally predictable, and not just because of the historical setting. The two main characters, a Greek Egyptian woman and a Roman soldier, are flat and uninteresting. Cleopatra seems to owe an awful lot to Elizabeth Taylor. The writing is pedestrian and at times tortured. I cannot recommend this book.
TedWitham on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Higley's drama of the Roman occupation of the Egyptian city of Alexandria in 48 BC, could have been an exciting historical adventure. It is, however, overshadowed by its Other Agenda: it is Christian Fiction.I found my irritation growing as I read. Sophia, the guardian of the Flame of the title, becomes progressively disenchanted with the Egyptian gods and realises their illogicality. It is revealed early in the book that her friend, the old scholar Sosigenes is a Jew. At the climax of the book, Sophia opens her heart to Sosigenes' God. In the space of a few sentences, we realise that this conversion of is not to classical Judaism, but to a particular form of messianic belief. Sophia proclaims, "I know that my Redeemer lives!"A series of intellectual dishonesty brings Ms Higley to this point. Firstly, on any reading of religious history, the kind of individual consciousness attributed to Sophia arose only after the Enlightenment. Before that individuals were so embedded in their culture that they could not have intellectually analysed religious belief in the way that we now take for granted.Secondly, the Judaism practised in Alexandria seems to have been a "Wisdom" Judaism that was not interested in converts or individuals' relationship with God, but in sharing in the world's wisdom with the scholars at Alexandria. The Sosigenes drawn in this book would have been a rare bird and unlikely to be a leader among the scholars.Thirdly, even highly messianic forms of Judaism did not envisage a personal relationship with the Messiah. Ms Higley shows that she has researched the geography of Alexandria, and moves her characters through it with confidence. It is unfortunate that she appears not to have researched the psychology of the period in her eagerness to present her Christian viewpoint.As a Christian, I found that this anachronistic approach to ways people believe devalues both Christianity and Judaism and completely spoiled my enjoyment of the story. It reveals a belief in a particular kind of conversion narrative that excludes others from faith. It reduces the richness of faith to a psychological interpretation of religion. This is my first exposure to Christian fiction, which I understand is popular in the USA. If this is representative of the genre, I will be avoiding at in future.
palmtreegirl24 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I was very excited to read a book by author, T.L. Higley. When I got this in the mail I started reading it right away. Maybe it was the author or maybe it was just not what I expected, but I found it to be very boring. I did like the history that was mixed about Cleopatra, but the romance between the main character and the Roman was very slow. I read about halfway and could not finish, maybe her other books are better.
catherinestead on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This engaging work of historical fiction interweaves the political and personal intrigues of Caesar and Cleopatra with story of the widowed keeper of the Pharos lighthouse and the scholarly work of which she is patron. The various strands, including a romance between the lightkeeper and one of Caesar¿s centurions, are well balanced, and no one theme or plot dominates. There is a strong sense of period, and the political intrigue is fascinating ¿ although the history is a backdrop rather than the focus of the events. The book itself is strongly focuses on the characters: Caesar is a real politician (sorry, politicians ¿ but you know what I mean), Cleopatra is an ambitious and manipulative little madam, and the lightkeeper Sophia broods and rages from the top of her tower. The characters are not badly written, but are not particularly nuanced. There are a few subplots which seemed a little tacked on to the rest of the story, most notable the identity of the lightkeeper Sophia¿s servant Ares, and Sophia¿s spiritual exploration of Judaism. I¿d been very interested to see how the latter was handled, given that this book was billed as Christian fiction and yet set in Alexandria in 48BC; in the end, it was a negligible part of the book, given little space and making little impact on the story. I wasn¿t gripped by this book, but I did enjoy it. The tension held up well, and the ending was suitably dramatic, if overly tidy and somewhat predictable. The writing wasn¿t dire, although neither was it particularly good; I did feel that it was somewhat rough and unpolished in places. As light (rather than serious, detailed and scholarly) historical fiction the book worked reasonably well. I wouldn¿t go out of my way to read more of the author¿s books, but I¿d be willing to give them a read if I came across them while browsing; I wouldn¿t specifically recommend the book, but neither would I advise anyone not to read it.
TheLibraryhag on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I just hate it when I get a free book and then don't like it. It just seems so ungracious of me. Anyway, this book read really fast but it just was not engaging to me. I think her history is pretty good, but the story went on too long and the conversations were not well written. The characters did not come across as real. I really love the story of Cleopatra so I was really disappointed.
bluenettle on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I hate not finishing a book, but I've been reading this since August and at half-way through am finally admitting defeat. Absolutley nothing about the tale of bullish lighthouse keeper Sophia, her cunning friend Cleopatra and their loves and adventures in Alexandria managed to spark an interest in me. I can't explain exactly why; the prose bumbled along adequately enough, the characters were well-formed and the story should have been exciting. But it wasn't. It was dull, dull, dull, and I couldn't wait to put it down everytime I picked it up.Maybe the charity shop will find it a more grateful owner.
gregandlarry on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
A romance set in the Alexandria where Cleopatra meets Caesar. Sophia, the heroine, is the lighthouse keeper (though servants do all the work). She falls in love with a Roman centurion, one of the enemy, despite trying to isolating herself from human warmth.The book is promoted as if it is historical fiction. It is a romance set against a historical background. Though it does give a idea of the happenings, the history seems as if it has been bent to fit the story, rather than the other way around. It also is promoted as paganism versus the one true God. It totally fails in this area. It does not match with my understanding of Judaism.Apart from this, it is an OK romance with lots of angst.
aussieavidreader on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Guardian of the Flame was a great introduction to this author. I enjoy historical fiction, whether it has a romance element through it or not, and this one hit the right balance for me. The detail was enough to create the atmosphere without bogging the reader down in too much 'waffle'. When the book arrived and was marked as a religious book, I admit I was a little concerned. But the religious message was present without taking over the story completely. Well done.
elliezann on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I'm not really interested in romance but the historical aspects of this novel were very interesting. Set in 48BC, the Lighthouse in Alexandria was the central focus of this book. Julius Caesar has come to collect a debt from the Ptolemy family or conquer the city. He meets his match in two women, one,Cleopatra, whom we all know and, the other, Sophia, fictional keeper of the flame. Caesar and Cleo get together and Sophia meets a Roman soldier,Bellus. The more interesting part of the book was the history of the Julian Calendar, the discovery of a first computer long lost at sea, how the lighthouse is able to have light day and night, and the actual fight between Romans and Alexandrians. There is even early stirrings of a new religion which believes in only one god.I took the liberty of looking at T.L.Higley's web site and learned alot more of the backstory, including her primary resource, Julias Caesar's own words from his writings, "The Alexandrian Wars".All in all, an entertaining story and very informative. Once you get lost in the city and its lighthouse, it's hard to put down. I think most everyone would enjoy this book!
Cecilturtle on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
The (melo)dramatic style aside, this book does a great job of pulling the reader into Egyptian Antiquity, under the yet young rule of Cleopatra. With the famed Alexandria lighthouse as a backdrop, Higley recounts the civil war between Cleopatra, her brother and his advisers and the famous love affair between Caesar and Cleopatra. She also weaves in a tale of love between the guardian of the lighthouse and a Roman centurion and of mystery with a magical proginosko device. Some of the romance could have been downplayed - the twists and turns are entertaining but sometimes difficult to believe. It is also too bad, Higley couldn't help proselyting with a the Jewish One God whom the main character seems to convert to in the end: the power of love seemed to stem much more from the New Age than Antiquity. However, in the end, the book is compelling, well-researched and well-written. It certainly had me searching photos of the lighthouse, reading wikipedia and generally learning more about this epoch.
mellybean36 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I just finally got around to reading this book. I've always liked historical fiction, but I wasn't sure how I would like this one, as I never read anything about ancient Alexandria, and the extent of my experience with ancient Rome was with Julius Caesar and The Aeneid. But anyway, I am happy to report that I enjoyed it. It moves fairly quickly and has a lot of action, and the characters are fairly well developed. I definitely wouldn't mind reading more by T.L. Higley - I never liked history class, but reading this book was like a fun version of that dreaded high school course. I was very impressed by the author's research into this time period, and I'm now interested in learning more about it. I certainly wouldn't mind reading more of this author's work.
Bonpetitepoodle on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This book has a 3d heroine, but the hero and other characters are shallow. The author's historical accuracy is wonderful, as well as her descriptive ability. There are elements that should have been woven in the story line that were left until the end. For a christian novel there were very few references to faith other than the term "one god". The ending was contrived, and quite a let down.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
ssbookreviews More than 1 year ago
Sophia and her pain co-exist in the seclusion of her lighthouse, til the political forces at play threaten the one thing she loves more than her solitude. To protect it she must venture forth and, in the process, face the lies that overshadow her life and soul. Can she find love and acceptance through an enemy? Guardian of the Flame is set in historical Alexandria, Egypt with Cleopatra and Julius Caesar floating amidst the 379 pages. The unique historical setting, combined with the lovably flawed main character make for an enjoyable read that is engaging more often than not.
ChristysBookBlog More than 1 year ago
Guardian of the Flame by T.L. Higley is the third book in the historical fiction Seven Wonders series. Sophia has spent her life keeping the fire at the top of the Lighthouse of Alexandria lit and encouraging the acquisition of knowledge and wisdom at the city's famed Library. Both are threatened by the arrival of Julius Caesar and his troops. Even worse, the wall she has built around her heart is in danger from the glances from Pilus Prior Bellus, a leader of the centurions. Higley's series about the Seven Wonders of the Ancient world just keeps getting better and better! This novel is the perfect blend of history and fiction. She takes the true story of the burning of Alexandria and the joining of Cleopatra and Julius Caesar and brings it to life through a few fictional characters. Sophia is taken on a journey that will shatter the defenses of the lighthouse and her heart. Higley uses lots of metaphors to powerful effect throughout the book in describing Sophia's refusal to love others. This book really has everything, action, suspense, romance, mystery, and history that together make a potent mix. I cannot wait to read the next book in the series!