Authors: Lori Dillon
David and Sera’s story came to me when I saw a
photograph of a plaster cast of a couple from Pompeii. The man and woman died in each other’s arms as they tried to flee the city, forever frozen in time, his hand shielding her face in a vain attempt to protect her.
The cast is beautiful, touching, and heartbreaking. I began to wonder what their story might have been, and the tragic couple eventually evolved into a young Pompeian girl and the slave gladiator she loved. Then I wondered what might have happened if they were given a second chance.
The process of making plaster casts of the victims was invented by Giuseppe
in 1863 after it was discovered that hollow spaces in the hardened ashes were the impressions left by the dead after their bodies decayed. Over eleven hundred plaster casts have been made of the victims of Pompeii, all captured at the exact moment they died.
In September of 1943, Allied planes dropped 163 bombs on the German encampment set up outside the walls of Pompeii, believing that they were hiding artillery within the ruins. As incredible as it sounds, on that fateful evening, the archeologists rushed to the ruins to try to save what artifacts they could. On their way there, the Director of Excavations,
, and his assistant were blown off their bicycles by a stray bomb.
leg was broken and, tragically, his assistant’s body was never found. The bombing severely damaged some parts of the ruins, including the Great
, and the gladiator barracks.
Mount Vesuvius last erupted in March 1944, spewing lava down the mountainside and destroying three small villages in its path. That time Pompeii was spared from destruction, and the mountain sleeps silently now, waiting.
By all estimates, nearly two thousand
died in the A.D. 79 eruption. However, only about sixty percent of the ruins have been excavated so far.
Who knows what lies beneath the remaining ashes, and what their story may be?
In a previous life, Lori worked as a graphic designer for fourteen years for the power company, occasionally venturing into nuclear power plants for her job (yes, nuclear plants need graphic designers, too). In her current existence, she weaves tales of the past, the present, and some places only magic can take you.
Lori lives in Virginia with her engineering geek/hero husband, two kids who test her sanity on a daily basis, a dog named Hokie (named after the Virginia Tech Hokies, of course), and various other critters of the furred and finned variety.
Out of the Ashes is her first published novel. If you enjoyed Sera and David’s story, please consider posting a review on Amazon, Barnes and Noble,
, or any other book review site. Good word of mouth from readers is the life blood for an independent author.
Lori loves to hear from her readers. Please stop by and visit her at