The Evening of the World: A Romance of the Dark Ages (Dark Ages Trilogy) by Allan Massie
*this novel borders on the late Roman, early medieval period
Paperback – 304 pages
Publisher – Orion Publishing (June 1, 2002)
The Evening of the World is set in the period of the barbarian invasions. Its hero is a young Roman nobleman named Marcus, who undergoes extraordinary experiences as he searches for meaning and stability in a twilight world where the old gods are dead or dying, and the new religion is threatened by new barbarisms. Marcus’s journeys take him over the empire, from Italy to Greece and Byzantium, to the camp of Alaric the Goth and the wastes of the northern forests, from a Christian monastery to the horde of Attila the Hun. His is a world where everything is possible and nothing solid, a world that is full of danger and mystery, of love and terror, of simple faith and abstruse philosophy, of cruelty, strange perversions, treachery, and undaunted courage.
Chapter One Excerpt:
Know, most noble Prince, that the Holy Apostle John, he who was loved by Christ, and who is the Guide and Inspiration of all who seek after the knowledge that is born of the Spirit, knowledge which yields itself only to those who, by courage and insight, have broken the veils of Time and Flesh, wrote of the Last Days thus: And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death; neither sorrow nor crying; neither shall there be any more pain; for former things shall have passed away.
And so I write, for this is the story that I have to impart to you, my Prince, now in the apple-blossom of your beauty, youth and strength. For it is necessary and meet that you learn of these things which are the nature of your inheritance and so the burden you bear for all mankind.