Jonathan Malone Novels Masthead

Rising Star

Rising Star is the first novel in The Sebastian Cycle trilogy of the Blood of Martyrs series; which deals with the persecution of Christians during the reign of Emperor Diocletian. The main character is the historical figure known in hagiographic literature as Saint Sebastian.

Sebastian joined the Roman army with the hopes of spreading his Christian faith, but that turns out to be more difficult than he had expected. The real difficulty is the moral dilemma presented by his fear of persecution.

No one would ever have suspected Sebastian of being a coward, however. He quickly distinguishes himself in battle against the Persians and is promoted to the Praetorian Guard.

When Emperor Carus dies under suspicious circumstances in Babylonia, his son Numerianus accedes and leads the victorious army home. En route the new emperor also dies under suspicious circumstances, and Sebastian suspects Diocletian, a chief of the Praetorians, of assassinating both former emperors.

When the legions acclaim Diocletian emperor in the East, Sebastian, despite doubts, fights at his side against Carinus for sole imperium. Victorious, Diocletian appoints Sebastian Chief of Palace Security in Rome. Then he departs to reinforce the frontier.

This powerful position affords an opportunity for ministry, but at what cost? The cost of a troubled conscience.