Although Pontius Pilate is known for his role in the Bible, less known are the historical characters who shared the surname Pontius and are portrayed in a series of historical fiction novels called Lover of the Sea.
The first novel in the collection, Pontius Aquila: Eagle of the Republic, takes place during Julius Caesar’s bid for power, generations before the birth of Pontius Pilate.
As a young man, Lucius Pontius Aquila falls in love with Cicero’s daughter. After a brilliant military career, he is elected as Tribune of the Plebeians. Aquila, a fervent supporter of the Roman republic, joins in the plot to assassinate Caesar.
The story continues in the sequel, The Dark Passage to Heaven. Four years after Christ’s crucifixion, Pontius Pilatus is ordered to return to Rome and answer accusations that he had cruelly attacked a religious gathering of Samaritans. As his wife secretly attends Christian gatherings, Pilatus must face Caligula’s judgment.
The records of the Catholic Church include five Christians named St. Pontius, venerated as martyrs, one who was Pope in 235 AD. In the third novel, St. Pontius: Bishop of Rome, the Pope must not only endure the Roman authorities but fight in street battles against followers of Hippolytus, the anti-Pope.