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About Alex Johnston
I am the author of several fiction books about Marcus Mettius, a minor character in Julius Caesar's Commentaries on the Gallic War. Marcus brings a salesman's amused and worldly perspective to the major characters, locales, and events of the late Roman Republic period. I think he's a hoot, and I hope that you will as well! The Marcus Mettius titles are Caesar's Ambassador,Caesar's Emissary, Caesar's Daughter, a compilation of those three stories, and Caesar's Lictor.
Marcus likes a good joke and prefers wits to weapons in dealing with tricky situations. He parties with Gauls and Alexandrians, hangs out with slaves and freedmen, and counts Julius Caesar among his friends.
Along with my Marcus Mettius series, I also wrote a short book on investing - the Millionaire Wage Slave. I like to think that Marcus would have enjoyed reading it, but, alas, I shall never know.
Titles By Alex Johnston
Alas, it is – the gods have other plans for Rome’s greatest salesman. The electoral antics of Milo and Clodius threaten to tear the city of Rome apart. Pompey is still licking his wounds in his villa outside of Rome, mourning the loss of his beautiful wife, Julia. And the sad tale of Crassus’ ill-fated Parthian campaign finally reaches its denouement. The curse against the wealthy triumvir, leveled by the erstwhile Tribune of the Plebs, Gaius Ateius Capito, creates angst and turmoil in the city, not to mention in Capito himself.
Meanwhile, Julius Caesar is having a bad year. The Gauls are giving him heat, and he is engaged in a grim campaign of subjugation. Pompey’s loss of a wife was a loss of a daughter to Caesar. And, he has to watch from afar as his finely wrought alliance with Crassus and Pompey evaporates into thin air. He needs Marcus’ help more than ever!
Join our intrepid peddler as he braves dinner parties, vicious strongmen, and political intrigue to help his friend and patron Caesar manage Rome’s impending descent into madness. Armed with only his own wit and that of his friends, Vinus and Dionysius, he accepts every challenge thrown at him by both the natural and the supernatural worlds, never losing his humor in the process. Witches, politicians, and gourmands alike are no match for our hero’s silver tongue and salesman’s savvy.
Caesar is on his way back to Gaul from Britannia, so it falls on Marcus to give him the terrible news.
All Caesar wants to do is mourn. Marcus, too, for that matter. But Gaius Valerius Troucillus, Caesar's advisor and Marcus' good friend, pleads with Marcus - help me cheer Caesar up! Times are dangerous, and Caesar needs to be on top of his game!
Marcus gets the message. He needs to overcome his own grief, and help Caesar get with the program. Luckily he has help - a couple of brave soldiers named Lucius Vorenus and Titus Pullo!
The first venue of its kind, Pompey’s Theater was like nothing ever seen before in Rome. For one thing, there were no plans being made to tear it down right after the performances were over, as had previously been the case with Rome’s theaters. Plus, it had a temple to Venus attached, as well as a shopping and dining area. A real entertainment complex!
Pompey had spared no expense in the construction of his magnificent theater. And same goes for the inauguration celebrations. Plays, wild beast hunts, games, he was going to make sure that Rome remembered and glorified his name for all time to come. But don’t worry about him spreading himself too thin – he’s got plenty.
Marcus and his friends did indeed partake of the good life during the celebration. Great food, celebrated actors, and pomp and glory in spades. Not to mention hanging with the purple-stripe crowd. But Marcus wouldn’t be Marcus if he didn’t find himself embroiled in some unexpected and unscheduled amusements. Otherwise, what would the fates do for grins and giggles?
So sit back, relax, and join Marcus in the thrilling fifth dramatization of his life, Caesar’s Not Here! And break a leg! It’s showtime!
Nah, he plans on being around for some time – he is definitely not the check-out-early type! As for being stupid – stupid people don’t become close confidants to the leaders of the richest and most powerful political and military force of the day. Maybe he’s a little naïve, but hell, that’s part of his charm!
Julius Caesar certainly isn’t stupid, and he was faced with an almost impossible task: get Pompey and Crassus together in the same tent and fix their damn political alliance, which had more holes in it than a field slave’s tunic. But those two are like olive oil and water, and Caesar needs all of the help he can get to pull it off. No ordinary event planner will do – he needs Marcus Mettius!
So our intrepid hero finds himself in Cisalpine Gaul, helping his old buddy Gaius Valerius Troucillus manage one of the most important conferences in history – the meeting of the Triumvirate at Luca. In addition to all of the usual mundane tasks (lining up supplies, generating blurbs for the media, etc.) he also has to find time for the important things in life – like sampling the local cuisine and trying to talk his recalcitrant slave Vinus into doing what he asks. Oh, and avoiding being beaten to death by snarling muscleheads.
Sigh. It’s not easy being the right-hand man for one of the most famous leaders of all time. But where would Caesar be without him?
Join Marcus in the next thrilling episode of his eventful life in Caesar’s Lictor!
So grab a cup of wine and a plate of fried dormouse and settle down for a fun and informative read! Let Marcus Mettius bring the ancient world of the late Roman Republic era alive for you!
You’ve got to admit, Caesar certainly had balls, asking Marcus for his help yet again. On his last two assignments, Marcus was arrested by a mad Egyptian Pharaoh, almost burnt at the stake, and nearly lynched by an angry mob.
But this time is different (you can almost hear the Fates chuckling with glee at THAT line!) All Caesar wants Marcus to do this time is to take a gift to his daughter, Julia, and have a little chat with her while he is there. Certainly no harm can come from that, right?
Well, the next thing you know, Marcus is all tangled up with the leading figures of late Republican Rome – Pompey, Cicero, the deposed King of Egypt, and, of course, the infamous Publius Clodius Pulcher, aedile and former Tribune of the Plebs.
Once again, Marcus’ life hangs in the balance, in ways he could scarcely have imagined. But he shouldn't be surprised. After all, he’s Caesar’s Agent Man. And odds are he won’t live to see tomorrow. Join Marcus and his friends in the thrilling sequel to Caesar's Emissary!
But first, there is the little matter of rescuing Nephthys, the gorgeous slave-girl, before he leaves for Egypt. Once that matter is handled, he travels to Alexandria, taking Nephthys and his buddy Apollonios along with him. When they get there, they do the tourist thing, and take advantage of all that the city’s glittering night-life has to offer! All in the name of research, of course, and all on Caesar’s denarius.
Life was not all fun-and-games for a salesman in the ancient world, though, and Marcus will need all of his wits if he (and his coin-purse) are to survive. He has to deal with con men, an angry mob, and Pharaohs before completing his mission. A lesser peddler might not make it, but our boy Marcus has purse-strings of steel. Join him in the exciting sequel to Caesar’s Ambassador!
Apologies to you Gladiator fans. Marcus Mettius may or may not have been a trader in real life. In Julius Caesar’s masterpiece, Caesar's Commentaries: On The Gallic War and On The Civil War, he only mentions Marcus twice, once to point out that he sent him as ambassador to the German king Ariovistus because Marcus “…had shared the hospitality of Ariovistus.” Sounds like a salesman to me.
Marcus should be honored. He played an important role in one of the greatest historical dramas of all time, Caesar’s conquest of Gaul.
Caesar sent his Gallic interpreter, Gaius Valerius Troucillus, and Marcus to act as ambassadors to Ariovistus. They were both taken captive, and Gaius at least was threatened with being burned at the stake (it’s not clear from reading the Commentaries whether Marcus was also so threatened). Caesar goes on and on about Gaius, writing that he is a “young man of the highest courage and accomplishments.” And when Caesar personally rescues him on the battlefield he writes that this act “afforded Caesar no less pleasure than the victory itself; because he saw a man of the first rank in the province of Gaul, his intimate acquaintance and friend, rescued from the hand of the enemy, and restored to him, and …” Marcus? Oh yeah, “M. Mettius, also, was found and brought back to him [Caesar].
In my opinion, Julius Caesar does not give Marcus his due, so I filled in the gaps. Join him as he outwits a German witch, tells Julius Caesar (and others) stupid salesman jokes, parties with Gauls and slaves, watches Caesar’s troops freak out at a bar, and much, much more. He is a soldier of a different kind – a man who lives by his wits. Honor him.
He would, except that Eddie is kind of busy worrying about other things at the moment. In fact, he would have trouble looking at you in any way at all, because he needs new glasses, but he can’t afford them right now. He has not been able to give himself a paycheck in months, and doesn’t know how he is going to pay his mortgage. That used Mercedes that he recently bought on a whim threw a rod, and he just found out that an employee has been stealing from him.
In fact, when he sees you sitting there with no employees, paid vacation, a great health insurance plan, and never missing a paycheck, he might be tempted to think that you are the lucky one. But he takes solace in one, unalterable fact – he is building a business empire, and you are not.
Except that you are. By passively investing in hundreds of great, professionally managed companies; without even breaking a sweat.
If being an entrepreneur is not your cup of tea, then this book is for you. Being an employee of a business rather than its owner does not preclude you from becoming wealthy. You can build your own personal conglomerate on the side. It is simply a matter of funding that enterprise with the same urgent intensity of a cash-strapped entrepreneur. How to do that is what this book is all about.
And if this were not enough, the book also answers mankind’s most burning question – “How should I handle my portfolio in the event of an invasion by space aliens?”