Author copies arrived!

The author copies of Merikonsuli (Nysalor 2021) arrived. A fresh copy pictured here on top of the atlas of Ptolemy.

Opening words to The Marine Consul

There can surely be nobody so petty or so apathetic in his outlook that he has no desire to discover by what means and under what system of government the Romans succeeded in less than fifty-three years in bringing under their rule almost the whole of the inhabited world, an achievement which is without parallel in human history.

Polybius, Greek historian, second century BC

Time line of events

The Battle of Egadi takes place, March 10th 241 BC

Trireme Olympias, a full size replica of a trireme, launched, increasing our understanding of ancient oared warships 1987

Jukka M Heikkilä visits Medelhavsmuseet in Stockholm and buys “The Athenian Trireme” from the museum bookshop, starting a lifelong interest in oared warships, 1990

Jukka M Heikkilä selects the Battle of Egadi and the Roman Republic as the main subject of his debut novel, 1991

Jukka M Heikkilä plans and writes Merikonsuli, 1991-1994

Merikonsuli is published as a paper book in Finnish, 1995

The site of the Battle of Egadi becomes a maritime archaeological treasure with lots of rams recovered from bottom of the sea, 2005 to present day

Merikonsuli is published as an e-book in Finnish, 2012

Merikonsuli is to be published as re-print in Finnish, 2021

The Marine Consul (the English edition of Merikonsuli) is to be published as a e-book, 2021

Cover pictures

The cover pictures of different editions of Merikonsuli, Finnish and English, are all based on the oil painting my father made on Christmas Eve back in 1994. I drew a pencil sketch on canvas and my father coloured it with oil paints. So, this is very much the author’s view on how the main character and what a standard quinquereme looked like in the First Punic War.

#coverart #coverpicture #themarineconsul #merikonsuli #quinquereme #romannavy #firstpunicwar #battleofegadi

The main character

The Main character of The Marine Consul is Gaius Lutatius Catulus who is a historical character, the winner of the First Punic War. There is a Wikipedia article on the historical person.

The Marine Consul is a traditional historical novel with first person narration. This makes it clear who the main character is … or does it?

In the novel Gaius Lutatius shows all the characteristics of a Roman knight. All of his values and actions are typical for a man of his status in his era. So, he is a stereotypic Roman nobleman. That, however, makes him interesting to a modern reader as many of the values of the main character are so different from ours. He questions things we take for granted and takes for granted things we would question. For example, Lutatius doesn’t have any moral issues about slavery and he re-arranges marriage deals without consulting the people involved. The concept of gender equality would not even cross to the narrator’s mind. Lutatius considers Greek-style democracy as a mess and believes in voting in classes according to a wealth rating. Lutatius even mentions as the most disgusting destiny a situation where a man would need to work under employment. Quite many of modern people have a paid job and are quite ok with that.

At the end of the novel the reader could still come to a conclusion that after all the narrator Gaius Lutatius was not the real main character of the novel. The ultimate main character of the story is the Roman Republic in its Golden Age.

The Marine Consul

The cover of ‘The Marine Consul’ (2021), the English edition of ‘Merikonsuli’ (1995) will look like this.

Egadi rams

RPM Nautical is doing a great work in surfacing stuff that went to the bottom at the Battle of Egadi in 241 BC.

#battleofegadi #egadiislands #punicwars #firstpuniwar #navalwarfare

The Marine Consul was first published in Finnish in 1995, but the novel matches with the archaeological evidence gained after that perfectly. The Marine Consul is a historical novel telling how the stuff got there.

The Marine Consul

Clashes in the Senate and on the battlefield

– historical novel from the rise of Ancient Rome

The conflict between Rome and Carthage has stalled in numbing siege warfare in Sicily. Captain Gaius Lutatius Catulus knows Rome cannot win without a new navy, but the Senate refuses to fund its construction, forcing Lutatius to retire to run his country estate.

However, the Goddess of Fortune offers Lutatius an opportunity, and the warrior in him wins out over the farmer. Before long, Lutatius finds himself caught up in a game that can only end in glorious victory or utter ignominy. He comes to discover Roman politics teems with enemies many times more cunning and dangerous than the armies of Carthage.

Lutatius must confront many dangers and surprises before Rome finally recognizes him as marine consul. Along the way, he learns Fortune has her whims – and glory its price.

The Marine Consul accurately describes the events leading up to the Battle of the Aegates on March 10th, 241 BCE.

Author Jukka M Heikkilä standing by Tiber island ship monument + author’s view on the oar arrangement of a quinquereme


Unto Paananen in Kaleva 2. June 1995:

Welcome a fine historical novel! Is Mika Waltari getting a worthy successor at last? Too much praise? Time will show, but Jukka Heikkilä’s debut novel which takes his reader to Ancient Rome, is a splendid opening.

Tero Liukkonen in Helsingin Sanomat 14. April 1995:

Who would not long for a great story, a good read in the true meaning of the word. The Marine Consul comes up to these expectations. It is a luxuriant historical novel, where an epoch is restored to life.

Heikki Saure in Etelä-Suomen Sanomat 13. June 1995:

There are a lot of other things in The Marine Consul, which should be found in a historical novel; political intrigue, descriptions related to the period, heroic feats, faithful women, seductresses and thrilling warfare. Finally and most importantly, the hero of the novel is a man of honour. The writer masters the genre perfectly.

Osmo Lahdenperä in Aamulehti 9. June 1995:

One can deduce from the numerous details that Heikkilä has elaborately researched the time of the Roman Republic.

Matti Peltonen in Turun Sanomat 4. June 1995:

The Marine Consul can be recommended to numerous quarters: to politicians, military people, naval people, friends of history…

Ten historical novels

#historicalnovel #historicalnovels #historicalfiction #booksfromfinland

The Marine Consul – coming 2021

#themarineconsul #historicalnovel #punicwars #firstpunicwar #sicily #battleofegadi #romanrepublic #oaredwarships