get the paperback
The Battle of Cannae in 216 BC was of one of the bloodiest and tactically most brilliant battles in ancient history, one of Rome’s most traumatic defeats by the hands and mind of Hannibal Barca.
Darkness over Cannae tells the story of this battle from seven perspectives – four Carthaginian, three Roman.
Spanning a single day on August 2nd, 216 BC, from just before daybreak to a few hours after sundown, the novel takes the reader through the anticipation of battle and the courage-bolstering on both sides, the careful planning, the agonising hours of ten thousands of men being deployed for battle, the different stages of the battle as the tides turn and triumph changes to disaster in the blink of an eye, to the bloody conclusion, in which the horrors of triumph and the shock of defeat begin to merge.
144 pages, softcover. With 77 illustrations by the author (at least one on every double page). Recommended for mature readers – there is some strong language, and a lot of violence in the texts and in the images, quite obviously.
The idea of writing an “eyewitness” account about the Battle of Cannae crossed my mind when I read Gregory Daly’s “Cannae – the experience of battle in the Second Punic War”. I have been fascinated by the Carthaginian for most of my life – since I was thirteen, to be precise, and this was a major factor in my life choices of studying Latin, with a strong focus on ancient and military history.
Around the same time, I was re-reading Livy, and his description of Hannibal spending the nights sleeping at a watchfire brought the first character of the story full-blown to my mind – the loyal, slightly exasperated bodyguard Bomilkar, scouring the camp for the general and cursing his bad luck. The idea to make it an illustrated novel was a complete no-brainer, given my previous illustration work. It also, however, proved to be the kill switch for this project where traditional publishing was concerned. I wrote to agents and publishers, and they simply didn’t know what to do with it. There were quite a few who said they liked the story, and the art, but please, not together. Just make it a children’s book. About the Battle of Cannae. Yeah, right. Around the same time, through this page and on Facebook, there was quite a large group of people who really wanted to see this happen – history fans, art appreciators, reenactors, quite a diverse bunch really. So I decided to tackle this all by myself. A small print run of copies for my friends and a couple of people who liked the project, with its idiosyncratic mix of novel and picture book. I put the project up for crowdfunding on Indiegogo, and within seventeen hours, I was funded. Six weeks later, when the campaign was over, I found myself with over three hundred supporters and enough money for a 500 copy print run, a special hardcover edition, a making of booklet, bookmarks and print cards, and 400 Euros for Pro Wildlife to support orphaned elephants in Zambia. The first edition of softcovers sold out within a few months, but as interest in the book has continued since its publication in 2014, I’m on its third (small) print run.
If you want to see what I’m up to after the Cannae project, please follow my main blog: http://www.goldseven.de