I have allowed Greek passages to stand as the scanner read them, in unintelligible strings of characters. You have asked me, Lucilius, why, if a Providence rules the world, it still happens that many evils befall good men. This would be more fittingly answered in a coherent work designed to prove that a Providence does preside over the universe, and that God concerns himself with us. But since it is your wish that a part be severed from the whole, and that I refute a single objection while the main question is left untouched, I shall do so; the task is not difficult, - I shall be pleading the cause of the gods.
Even the phenomena which seem irregular and undetermined - I mean showers and clouds, the stroke of crashing thunderbolts and the fires that belch from the riven peaks of mountains, tremors of the quaking ground, and the other disturbances which the turbulent element in nature sets in motion about the earth, these, no matter how suddenly they occur, do not happen without a reason; nay, they also are the result of special eauses, and so, in like manner, are those things which seem miraculous by reason of the incongruous situations in which they are beheld, such as warm waters in the midst of the sea- waves,and the expanses of new islands that spring up in the wide ocean.
But let such matters be kept for their fitting time, - all the more so, indeed, because you do not lack faith in Providence, but complain of it. I shall reconcile you with the gods, who are ever best to those who are best. For Nature never permits good to be injured by good; between good men and the gods there exists a friendship brought about by virtue.
Friendship, do I say? Nay, rather there is a tie of relationship and a likeness, since, in truth, a good man differs from God in the element of time only; he is God's pupil, his imitator, and true offspring, whom his all-glorious parent, being no mild taskmaster of virtues, rears, as strict fathers do, with much severity. And so, when you see that men who are good and acceptable to the gods labour and sweat and have a difficult road to climb, that the wicked, on the other hand, make merry and abound in pleasures, reflect that our children please us by their modesty, but slave-boys by their forwardness; that we hold in check the former by sterner discipline, while we encourage the latter to be bold.
Be assured that the same is true of God. He does not make a spoiled pet of a good man; he tests him, hardens him, and fits him for his own service. You ask, "Why do many adversities come to good men? Just as the countless rivers, the vast fall of rain from the sky, and the huge volume of mineral springs do not change the taste of the sea, do not even modify it, so the assaults of adversity do not weaken the spirit of a brave man.
And yet I do not mean to say that the brave man is insensible to these, but that he overcomes them, and being in all else unmoved and calm rises to meet whatever assails him. All his adversities he counts mere training. Who, moreover, if he is a man and intent upon the right, is not eager for reasonable toil and ready for duties accompanied by danger? To what energetic man is not idleness a punishment?
Wrestlers, who make strength of body their chief concern, we see pitting themselves against none but the strongest, and they require of those who are preparing them for the arena that they use against them all their strength; they submit to blows and hurts, and if they do not find their match in single opponents, they engage with several at a time.
Without an adversary, prowess shrivels. We see how great and how efficient it really is, only when it shows by endurance what it is capable of. Be assured that good men ought to act likewise; they should not shrink from hardships and difficulties, nor complain against fate; they should take in good part whatever happens, and should turn it to good. Not what you endure, but how you endure, is important.
Do you not see how fathers show their love in one way, and mothers in another? The father orders his children to be aroused from sleep in order that they may start early upon their pursuits, - even on holidays he does not permit them to be idle, and he draws from them sweat and sometimes tears. But the mother fondles them in her lap, wishes to keep them out of the sun, wishes them never to be unhappy, never to cry, never to toil. Unimpaired prosperity cannot withstand a single blow; but he who has struggled constantly with his ills becomes hardened through suffering; and yields to no misfortune; nay, even if he falls, he still fights upon his knees.
Do you wonder if that God, who most dearly loves the good, who wishes them to become supremely good and virtuous, allots to them a fortune that will make them struggle? For my part, I do not wonder if sometimes the gods are moved by the desire to behold great men wrestle with some calamity. We men at times are stirred with pleasure if a youth of steady courage meets with his spear an onrushing wild beast, if unterrified he sustains the charge of a lion.
And the more honourable the youth who does this, the more pleasing this spectacle becomes.
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But these are not the things to draw down the gaze of the gods upon us - they are childish, the pas-times of man's frivolity. But lo! I do not know, I say, what nobler sight the Lord of Heaven could find on earth, should he wish to turn his attention there, than the spectacle of Cato, after his cause had already been shattered more than once, nevertheless standing erect amid the ruins of the commonwealth.
This sword, unstained and blameless even in civil war, shall at last do good and noble service: the freedom which it could not give to his country it shall give to Cato! Essay, my soul, the task long planned; deliver yourself from human affairs. Already Petreius and Juba have met and lie fallen, each slain by the other's hand.
For Cato it were as ignoble to beg death from any man as to beg life. His virtue was held in check and called back that it might display itself in a harder role; for to seek death needs not so great a soul as to reseek it. Surely the gods looked with pleasure upon their pupil as he made his escape by so glorious and memorable an end! Death consecrates those whose end even those who fear must praise. This much I now say that those things which you call hardships, which you call adversities and accursed, are, in the first place, for the good of the persons themselves to whom they come; in the second place, that they are for the good of the whole human family, for which the gods have a greater concern than for single persons; again, I say that good men are willing that these things should happen and, if they are unwilling, that they deserve misfortune.
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I shall add, further, that these things happen thus by destiny, and that they rightly befall good men by the same law which makes them good. I shall induce you, in fine, never to commiserate a good man. For he can be called miserable, but he cannot be so. Of all the propositions which I have advanced, the most difficult seems to be the one stated first, - that those things which we all shudder and tremble at are for the good of the persons themselves to whom they come.
Among the many fine sayings of one friend Demetrius there is this one, which I have just heard; it still rings in my ears. Though all things have flowed to him according to his prayer, though even before his prayer, nevertheless the gods have passed an adverse judgement upon him. He was deemed unworthy ever to gain the victory over Fortune, who draws back from all cowards, as if she said, "Why should I choose that fellow as my adversary? He will straightway drop his weapons; against him I have no need of all my power - he will be routed by a paltry threat; he cannot bear even the sight of my face.
Let me look around for another with whom to join in combat. I am ashamed to meet a man who is ready to be beaten. The same is true of Fortune. She seeks out the bravest men to match with her; some she passes by in disdain. Those that are most stubborn and unbending she assails, men against whom she may exert all her strength. Mucius she tries by fire, Fabricius by poverty, Rutilius by exile, Regulus by torture, Socrates by poison, Cato by death.
It is only evil fortune that discovers a great exemplar. Tell me, then, would he be happier if he were warming his hand in his mistress's bosom? Is Fabricius unfortunate because, whenever he has leisure from affairs of state, he tills his fields? Tell me, then, would he be happier if he loaded his belly with fish from a distant shore and with birds from foreign parts? Is Rutilius unfortunate because those who condemned him will have to plead their cause through all the ages?
And these all are the deeds of that man - that man who proposed the Cornelian Law! Nails pierce his skin, and wherever he rests his wearied body he lies upon a wound; his eyes are stark in eternal sleeplessness. But the greater his torture is, the greater shall be his glory. Would you like to know how little he regrets that he rated virtue at such a price?
Make him whole again and send him back to the senate; he will express the same opinion. Do you, then, think Maecenas a happier man, who, distressed by love and grieving over the daily repulses of his wayward wife, courted slumber by means of harmonious music, echoing faintly from a distance?
Although he drugs himself with wine, and diverts his worried mind with the sound of rippling waters, and beguiles it with a thousand pleasures, yet he, upon his bed of down, will no more close his eyes than that other upon his cross. Was he ill-treated because his blood grew cold, and, as the chill spread, gradually the beating of his pulses stopped? How much more should we envy him than those who are served in cups of precious stone, whose wine a catamite - a tool for anything, an unsexed or sexless creature - dilutes with snow held above in a golden vessel!
They will measure out afresh all their drink in vomit, with wry faces tasting in its stead their own bile; but he will quaff the poison gladly and with good cheer. Touching Cato, enough has been said, and it will be granted by the consensus of mankind that that great man reached the pinnacle of happiness, he whom Nature chose to be the one with whom her dread power should clash. It is a hardship to be outstripped by an inferior in the candidacy for office; then let him be defeated by Vatinius.
It is a hardship to lay hand upon oneself then let him do it. And what shall I gain thereby that all may know that these things of which I have deemed Cato worthy are not real ills. Truly, to be always happy and to pass through life without a mental pang is to be ignorant of one half of nature.
You are a great man; but how do I know it if Fortune gives you no opportunity of showing your worth? You have entered as a contestant at the Olympic games, but none other besides you; you gain the crown, the victory you do not gain. You have my congratulations - not as a brave man, but as if you had obtained the consulship or praetorship; you have enhanced your prestige.
In like manner, also, I may say to a good man, if no harder circumstance has given him the opportunity whereby alone he might show the strength of his mind, "I judge you unfortunate because you have never been unfortunate; you have passed through life without an antagonist; no one will know what you can do, - not even yourself. I once heard Triumphus, a gladiator in the time of Tiberius Caesar, complaining of the scarcity of shows. Those who return from the battle unhurt may have fought as well, but the man who returns with a wound wins the greater regard.
God, I say, is showing favour to those whom he wills shall achieve the highest possible virtue whenever he gives them the means of doing a courageous and brave deed, and to this end they must encounter some difficulty in life. You learn to know a pilot in a storm, a soldier in the battle-line. How can I know with what spirit you will face poverty, if you wallow in wealth? How can I know with what firmness you will face disgrace, ill fame, and public hatred, if you attain to old age amidst rounds of applause, - if a popularity attends you that is irresistible, and flows to you from a certain leaning of men's minds?
How do I know with what equanimity you would bear the loss of children, if you see around you all that you have fathered? I have heard you offering consolation to others. If you had been offering it to yourself, if you had been telling yourself not to grieve, then I might have seen your true character. Do not, I beg of you, shrink in fear from those things which the immortal gods apply like spurs, as it were, to, our souls. Disaster is Virtue's opportunity.
Cruel fortune bears hardest upon the inexperienced; to the tender neck the yoke is heavy. The raw recruit turns pale at the thought of a wound, but the veteran looks undaunted upon his own gore, knowing that blood has often been the price of his victory. In like manner God hardens, reviews, and disciplines those whom he approves, whom he loves. For you are wrong if you suppose that any one is exempt from ill. Even the man who has prospered long will have his share some day; whoever seems to have been released has only been reprieved.
Why is it that God afflicts the best men with ill health, or sorrow, or some other misfortune? For the same reason that in the army the bravest men are assigned to the hazardous tasks; it is the picked soldier that a general sends to surprise the enemy by a night attack, or to reconnoitre the road, or to dislodge a garrison. Not a man of these will say as he goes, "My commander has done me an ill turn," but instead, "He has paid me a compliment. While all excesses are hurtful, the most dangerous is unlimited good fortune. It excites the brain, it evokes vain fancies in the mind, and clouds in deep fog the boundary between falsehood and truth.
Would it not be better, summoning virtue's help, to endure everlasting ill fortune than to be bursting with unlimitedand immoderate blessings? Death from starvation comes very gently, but from gorging men explode. And so, in the case of good men the gods follow the same rule that teachers follow with their pupils; they require most effort from those of whom they have the surest hopes. Do you imagine that the Lacedaemonians hate their children when they test their mettle by lashing them in public?
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Their own fathers call upon them to endure bravely the blows of the whip, and ask them, though mangled and half-dead, to keep offering their wounded bodies to further wounds. Why, then, is it strange if God tries noble spirits with severity? No proof of virtue is ever mild. If we are lashed and torn by Fortune, let us bear it; it is not cruelty but a struggle, and the oftener we engage in it, the stronger we shall be.
The staunchest member of the body is the one that is kept in constant use. We should offer ourselves to Fortune in order that, struggling with her, we may be hardened by her. Gradually she will make us a match for herself. Familiarity with exposure to danger will give contempt for danger. In each, his staunchest member is the one that he has exercised. By enduring ills the mind attains contempt for the endurance of them; you will know what this can accomplish in our own case, if you will observe how much the peoples that are destitute and, by reason of their want, more sturdy, secure by toil.
Consider all the tribes whom Roman civilization does not reach - I mean the Germans and all the nomad tribes that assail us along the Danube. They are oppressed by eternal winter and a gloomy sky, the barren soil grudges them support, they keep off the rain with thatch or leaves, they range over ice-bound marshes, and hunt wild beasts for food. Are they unhappy, do you think? There is no unhappiness for those whom habit has brought back to nature. They have no homes and no resting-places except those which weariness allots for the day; their food is mean and must be got by the hand; terrible harshness of climate, bodies unclothed, - such for countless tribes is the life which seems to you so calamitous!
Why, then, do you wonder that good men are shaken in order that they may grow strong? No tree becomes rooted and sturdy unless many a wind assails it. For by its very tossing it tightens its grip and plants its roots more securely; the fragile trees are those that have grown in a sunny valley. It is God's purpose, and the wise man's as well, to show that those things which the ordinary man desires and those which he dreads are really neither goods nor evils.
Blindness will be a curse if no one loses his eyes but the man who deserves to have them torn out; therefore let an Appius and a Metellus be deprived of the light. Riches are not a good; therefore let even the panderer Elius possess them in order that men, though they hallow wealth in temples, may see it also in a brothel. In no better way can God discredit what we covet than by bestowing those things on the basest men while withholding them from the best. Is it not unjust that brave men should take up arms, and stay all night in camp, and stand with bandaged wounds before the rampart, while perverts and professional profligates rest secure within the city?
What then? Toil summons the best men.
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The same is true in this great commonwealth of the world. Good men labour, spend, and are spent, and withal willingly. Fortune does not drag them - they follow her, and match her pace. If they had known how, they would have outstripped her. Here is another spirited utterance which, I remember, I heard that most valiant man, Demetrius, make: "Immortal gods," he said, "I have this one complaint to make against you, that you did not earlier make known your will to me; for I should have reached the sooner that condition in which, after being summoned, I now am.
Do you wish to take my children? Do you wish to take some member of my body? Do you wish to take my life? I shall make no protest against your taking back what once you gave. With my free consent you shall have whatever you may ask of me. What, then, is my trouble? I should have preferred to offer than to relinquish.
What was the need to take by force? You might have had it as a gift. Yet even now you will not take it by force, because nothing can be wrenched away from a man unless he withholds it. Fate guides us, and it was settled at the first hour of birth what length of time remains for each. Therefore everything should be endured with fortitude, since things do not, as we suppose, simply happen - they all come. Long ago it was determined what would make you rejoice, what would make you weep, and although the lives of individuals seem to be marked by great dissimilarity, yet is the end one - we receive what is perishable and shall ourselves perish.
Why, therefore, do we chafe? For this were we born. Let Nature deal with matter, which is her own, as she pleases; let us be cheerful and brave in the face of everything, reflecting that it is nothing of our own that perishes. What then, is the part of a good man? To offer himself to Fate. One unchangeable course bears along the affairs of men and gods alike.
Although the great creator and ruler of the universe himself wrote the decrees of Fate, yet he follows them. Certain qualities cannot be separated from certain others; they cling together, are indivisible. Natures that are listless, that are prone to sleep, or to a kind of wakefulness that closely resembles sleep, are composed of sluggish elements. It takes sterner stuff to make a man who deserves to be mentioned with consideration. Much that is hard, much that is rough will befall him, but he himself will soften the one, and make the other smooth. Fire tests gold, misfortune brave men.
See to what a height virtue must climb! I long to stand aloft where even the Sun-god quakes with fear. Assuredly he does not. The good man himself he protects and delivers: does any one require of God that he should also guard the good man's luggage? Nay, the good man himself relieves God of this concern; he despises externals.
Democritus, considering riches to be a burden to the virtuous mind, renounced them. Why, then, do you wonder if God suffers that to be the good man's lot which the good man himself sometimes chooses should be his lot? Good men lose their sons; why not, since sometimes they even slay them? They are slain; why not, since sometimes they voluntarily lay hand upon themselves? It is that they may teach others to endure them they were born to be a pattern. Think, then, of God as saying: "What possible reason have you to complain of me, you who have chosen righteousness?
Others I have surrounded with unreal goods, and have mocked their empty minds, as it were, with a long, deceptive dream. I have bedecked them with gold, and silver, and ivory, but within there is nothing good. The creatures whom you regard as fortunate, if you could see them, not as they appear to the eye, but as they are in their hearts, are wretched, filthy, base - like their own house-walls, adorned only on the outside. Sound and genuine such good fortune is not; it is a veneer, and that a thin one. But to you I have given the true and enduring goods, which are greater and better the more any one turns them over and views them from every side.
I have permitted you to scorn all that dismays and to disdain desires. Outwardly you do not shine; your goods are directed inward. Even so the cosmos, rejoicing in the spectacle of itself, scorns everything outside. In this you may outstrip God; he is exempt from enduring evil, while you are superior to it.
Scorn poverty; no one lives as poor as he was born. Scorn pain; it will either be relieved or relieve you. Scorn death, which either ends you or transfers you. Scorn Fortune; I have given her no weapon with which she may strike your soul. Above all, I have taken pains that nothing should keep you here against your will; the way out lies open. If you do not choose to fight, you may run away. Therefore of all things that I have deemed necessary for you, I have made nothing easier than dying. I have set life on a downward slope: if it is prolonged, only observe and you will see what a short and easy path leads to liberty.
I have not imposed upon you at your exit the wearisome delay you had at entrance. Let every season, every place, teach you how easy it is to renounce Nature and fling her gift back in her face. In the very presence of the altars and the solemn rites of sacrifice, while you pray for life, learn well concerning death. The fatted bodies of bulls fall from a paltry wound, and creatures of mighty strength are felled by one stroke of a man's hand; a tiny blade will sever the sutures of the neck, and when that joint, which binds together head and neck, is cut, the body's mighty mass crumples in a heap.
No deep retreat conceals the soul, you need no knife at all to root it out, no deeply driven wound to find the vital parts; death lies near at hand. For these mortal strokes I have set no definite spot; anywhere vou wish, the way is open. Even that which we call dying, the moment when the breath forsakes the body, is so brief that its fleetness cannot come within the ken.
Whether the throat is strangled by a knot, or water stops the breathing, or the hard ground crushes in the skull of one falling headlong to its surface, or flame inhaled cuts off the course of respiration, be it what it may, the end is swift. Do you not blush for shame? You dread so long what comes so quickly! I might say with good reason, Serenus, that there is as great a difference between the Stoics and the other schools of philosophy as there is between males and females, since while each set contributes equally to human society, the one class is born to obey, the other to command. Other philosophers, using gentle and persuasive measures, are like the intimate family physician, who, commonly, tries to cure his patients, not by the best and the quickest method, but as he is allowed.
The Stoics, having adopted the heroic course, are not so much concerned in making it attractive to us who enter upon it, as in having it rescue us as soon as possible and guide us to that lofty summit which rises so far beyond the reach of any missile as to tower high above all fortune. Can the heights be reached by a level path? But the way is not so sheer as some suppose. Recently, when there happened to be some mention of Marcus Cato, you, with your impatience of injustice, grew indignant because Cato's own age had failed to understand him, because it had rated him lower than any Vatinius though he towered above any Pompey and Caesar; and it seemed to you shameful that when he was about to speak against some law in the forum, his toga was torn from his shoulders, and that, after he had been hustled by a lawless mob all the way from the rostrum to the Arch of Fabius, he had to endure vile language, and spittle, and all the other insults of a maddened crowd.
And then I made answer that on behalf of the state you had good reason to be stirred - the state which Publius Clodius on the one hand, Vatinius and all the greatest rascals on the other, were putting up for sale, and, carried away by blind cupidity, did not realize that, while they were selling, they too were being sold. For Cato himself I bade you have no concern, for no wise man can receive either injury or insult. I said, too, that in Cato the immortal gods had given to us a truer exemplar of the wise man than earlier ages had in Ulysses and Hercules.
For we Stoics have declared that these were wise men, because they were unconquered by struggles, were despisers of pleasure, and victors over all terrors. He stood alone against the vices of a degenerate state that was sinking to destruction beneath its very weight, and he stayed the fall of the republic to the utmost that one man's hand could do to draw it back, until at last he was himself withdrawn and shared the downfall which he had so long averted, and the two whom heaven willed should never part were blotted out together. For Cato did not survive freedom, nor freedom Cato.
Think you that what the people did to such a man could have been an injury, even if they tore from him either his praetorship or his toga? The wise man is safe, and no injury or insult can touch him. I imagine that I see you flaring up in a temper and about to boil over; you are getting ready to exclaim: "This is the sort of thing that detracts from the weight of the teachings of you Stoics. So, for all your lofty assumption, you reach the same level as the other schools -only the names of things are changed. And so I suspect that something of this sort lurks behind this maxim also, "A wise man will receive neither injury nor insult" - a maxim which at first sight, appears noble and splendid.
But it makes a great difference whether you place the wise man beyond feeling injured or beyond being injured. For if you say that he will bear injury calmly, he has no peculiar advantage; he is fortunate in possessing a common quality, one which is acquired from the very repetition of injuries - namely, endurance. If you say that he will not receive injury, that is, that no one will attempt to injure him, then, abandoning all other business, I am for becoming a Stoic.
The invulnerable thing is not that which is not struck, but that which is not hurt; by this mark I will show you the wise man. So you must know that the wise man, if no injury hurts him, will be of a higher type than if none is offered to him, and the brave man, I should say, is he whom war cannot subdue, whom the onset of a hostile force cannot terrify, not he who battens at ease among the idle populace. Consequently I will assert this - that the wise man is not subject to any injury.
It does not matter, therefore, how many darts are hurled against him, since none can pierce him. As the hardness of certain stones is impervious to steel, and adamant cannot be cut or hewed or ground, but in turn blunts whatever comes into contact with it; certain substances cannot be consumed by fire, but, though encompassed by flame, retain their hardness and their shape; as certain cliffs, projecting into the deep, break the force of the sea, and, though lashed for countless ages, show no traces of its wrath, just so the spirit of the wise man is impregnable and has gathered such a measure of strength as to be no less safe from injury than those things which I have mentioned.
For the distance which separates him from contact with his inferiors is so great that no baneful force can extend its power all the way to him. As heavenly things escape the hands of man and divinity suffers no harm from those who demolish temples and melt down images, so every wanton, insolent, or haughty act directed against the wise man is essayed in vain. And that such acts be not done is profitable to thosc who are prone to do them, not to him who cannot be affected by them even if they are done.
No, I am inclined to think that the power of wisdom is better shown by a display of calmness in the midst of provocation, just as the greatest proof that a general is mighty in his arms and men is his quiet unconcern in the country of the enemy. Let us make a distinction, Serenus, if you like, between injury and insult.
The former is by its nature more serious; the latter, a slighter matter -serious only to the thin- skinned - for men are not harmed, but angered by it. Yet such is the weakness and vanity of some men's minds, there are those who think that nothing is more bitter. And so you will find the slave who would rather be struck with the lash than the fist, who considers stripes and death more endurable than insulting words.
Injury has as its aim to visit evil upon a person. But wisdom leaves no room for evil, for the only evil it knows is baseness, which cannot enter where virtue and uprightness already abide. Consequently, if there can be no injury without evil, no evil without baseness, and if, moreover, baseness cannot reach a man already possessed by uprightness, then injury does not reach the wise man.
For if injury is the experiencing of some evil, if, moreover, the wise man can experience no evil, no injury affects a wise man. All injury is damaging to him who encounters it, and no man can receive injury without some loss either in respect to his position or his person or things external to us. But the wise man can lose nothing. He has everything invested in himself, he trusts nothing to fortune, his own goods are secure, since he is content with virtue, which needs no gift from chance, and which, therefore, can neither be increased nor diminished.
For that which has come to the full has no room for further growth, and Fortune can snatch away only what she herself has given. But virtue she does not give; therefore she cannot take it away. Virtue is free, inviolable, unmoved, unshaken, so steeled against the blows of chance that she cannot be bent, much less broken. Facing the instruments of torture she holds her gaze unflinching, her expression changes not at all, whether a hard or a happy lot is shown her.
Who, however, is moved by the loss of that which is not his own? But if injury can do no harm to anything that a wise man owns, since if his virtue is safe his possessions are safe, then no injury can happen to the wise man. When Demetrius, the one who had the appellation of Poliorcetes, had captured Megara, he questioned Stilbo, a philosopher, to find out whether he had lost anything, and his answer was, "Nothing; I have all that is mine with me.
But he wrested the victory from the conqueror, and bore witness that, though his city had been captured, he himself was not only unconquered but unharmed. For he had with him his true possessions, upon which no hand can be laid, while the property that was being scattered and pillaged and plundered he counted not his own, but the adventitious things that follow the beck of Fortune.
Therefore he had esteemed them as not really his own; for all that flows to us from without is a slippery and insecure possession. Consider now, can any thief or traducer or violent neighbour, or any rich man who wields the power conferred by a childless old age, do injury to this man, from whom war and the enemy and that exponent of the illustrious art of wrecking cities could snatch away nothing?
For you can hardly believe that so much steadfastness, that such greatness of soul falls to the lot of any man. See, here am I to prove to you this - that, though beneath the hand of that destroyer of so many cities fortifications shaken by the battering-ram may totter, and high towers undermined by tunnels and secret saps may sink in sudden downfall, and earthworks rise to match the loftiest citadel, yet no war-engines can be devised that will shake the firm-fixed soul.
I crept just now from the ruins of my house, and while the conflagration blazed on every side, I fled from the flames through blood; what fate befalls my daughters, whether a worse one than their country's own, I know not. I still possess them; whatever I have had as my own, I have. There is no reason for you to suppose me vanquished and yourself the victor; your fortune has vanquished my fortune. Where those things are that pass and change their owners, I know not; so far as my possessions are concerned they are with me, and ever will be with me.
But I have still my all, untouched and undiminished. Do you, accordingly, put your question to those who weep and wail, who, in defence of their money, present their naked bodies to the point of the sword, who, when their pockets are loaded, flee from the enemy. His goods are girt about by strong and insurmountable defences. The walls which guard the wise man are safe from both flame and assault, they provide no means of entrance, -are lofty, impregnable, godlike. There is no reason for you to say, Serenus, as your habit is, that this wise man of ours is nowhere to be found.
For greatness which transcends the limit of the ordinary and common type is produced but rarely. Again, that which injures must be more powerful than that which is injured; but wickedness is not stronger than righteousness; therefore it is impossible for the wise man to be injured. Only the bad attempt to injure the good; the good are at peace with each other, the bad are no less harmful to the good than they are to each other.
But if only the weaker man can be injured, and if the bad man is weaker than the good man, and the good have to fear no injury except from one who is no match for them, then injury cannot befall the wise man. For by this time you do not need to be reminded of the fact that there is no good man except the wise man. For example, if a man should steal something from my country-house and leave it in my town-house, he would have committed a theft, but I should have lost nothing.
It is possible for one to become a wrong-doer, although he may not have done a wrong. A man is no less a murderer because his blow was foiled, intercepted by the victim's dress. All crimes, so far as guilt is concerned, are completed even before the accomplishment of the deed.
Certain acts are of such a character, and are linked together in such a relation, that while the first can take place without the second, the second cannot take place without the first. I shall endeavour to make clear what I mean. I can move my feet without running, but I cannot run without moving my feet. It is possible for me, though being in the water, not to swim; but if I swim, it is impossible for me not to be in the water.
To the same category belongs the matter under discussion. If I have received an injury, it must necessarily have been done. If an injury was done, I have not necessarily received it; for many things can happen to avert the injury. Just as, for example, some chance may strike down the hand while it takes aim and turn the speeding missile aside, so it is possible that some circumstance may ward off injuries of any sort and intercept them in mid-course, with the result that they may have been done, yet not received.
Moreover, justice can suffer no injustice, because opposites do not meet.
What’s the best thing you learned from your parents?
But no injury can be done without injustice; therefore no injury can be done to the wise man. And you need not be surprised; if no one can do him an injury, no one can do him a service either. For a man must have before he can give; the evil man, however, has nothing that the wise man would be glad to have transferred to himself. It is impossible, therefore, for any one either to injure or to benefit the wise man, since that which is divine does not need to be helped, and cannot be hurt; and the wise man is next-door neighbour to the gods and like a god in all save his mortality.
As he struggles and presses on towards those things that are lofty, well-ordered, undaunted, that flow on with even and harmonious current, that are untroubled, kindly, adapted to the public good, beneficial both to himself and to others, the wise man will covet nothing low, will never repine. The man who, relying on reason, marches through mortal vicissitudes with the spirit of a god, has no vulnerable spot where he can receive an injury.
From man only do you think I mean? No, not even from Fortune, who, whenever she has encountered virtue, has always left the field outmatched. These things cannot overwhelm the wise man, even though they all encompass him at once; still less does he grieve when they assault him singly. All such things, therefore, he endures in the same way that he submits to the rigours of winter and to inclement weather, to fevers and disease, and the other accidents of chance; nor does he form so high an estimate of any man as to think that he has done anything with the good judgement that is found only in the wise man.
Consider, further, that the most extensive opportunity for injury is found in those things through which some danger is contrived for us, as, for example, the suborning of an accuser, or the bringing of a false accusation, or the stirring up of the hatred of the powerful against us, and all the other forms of robbery that exist among civilians.
Another common type of injury arises when a man has his profits or a long-chased prize torn from his grasp, as when a legacy which he has made great effort to secure is turned aside, or the goodwill of a lucrative house is withdrawn. All this the wise man escapes, for he knows nothing of directing his life either towards hope or towards fear.
Add, further, that no man receives an injury without some mental disturbance, yea more, he is perturbed even by the thought of it; but the man who has been saved from error, who is self- controlled and has deep and calm repose, is free from such perturbation. For this reason he is so resolute and cheerful, for this reason he is elate with constant joy. So far, moreover, is he from shrinking from the buffetings of circumstances or of men, that he counts even injury profitable, for through it he finds a means of putting himself to the proof and makes trial of his virtue.
Nor because of it is aught diminished from your wantonness, or from your greediest lusts, or from your blind presumption and pride! You may keep your vices - it is the wise man for whom this liberty is being sought. Our aim is not that you may be prevented from doing injury, but that the wise man may cast all injuries far from him, and by his endurance and his greatness of soul protect himself from them. Just so in the sacred games many have won the victory by wearing out the hands of their assailants through stubborn endurance.
Do you, then, reckon the wise man in this class of men - the men who by long and faithful training have attained the strength to endure and tire out any assault of the enemy. Having touched upon the first part of the discussion, let us now pass to the second, in which by arguments - some of them our own, most of them, however, common to our school - we shall disprove the possibility of insult.
This feeling is stirred by a sense of humiliation as the spirit shrinks before an uncomplimentary word or act. And it is generally the pampered and prosperous who indulge in them; for if a man is pressed by worse ills, he has not time to notice such things. By reason of too much leisure natures which are naturally weak and effeminate and, from the dearth of real injury, have grown spoiled, are disturbed by these slights, the greater number of which are due to some fault in the one who so interprets them.
Therefore any man who is troubled by an insult shows himself lacking in both insight and belief in himself; for he decides without hesitation that he has been slighted, and the accompanying sting is the inevitable result of a certain abjectness of spirit, a spirit which depreciates itself and bows down to another. But no one can slight the wise man, for he knows his own greatness and assures himself that no one is accorded so much power over him, and all these feelings, which I prefer to call rather annoyances than distresses of the mind, he does not have to overcome - nay, he does not even have them.
I do not deny that the wise man feels these things; for we do not claim for him the hardness of stone or of steel. There is no virtue that fails to realize that it does endure. What, then, is the case? The wise man does receive some wounds, but those that he recieves he binds up, arrests, and heals; these lesser things he does not even feel, nor does he employ against them his accustomed virtue of bearing hardship, but he either fails to notice them, or counts them worthy of a smile.
Moreover, since, in large measure, insults come from the proud and arrogant and from those who bear prosperity ill, the wise man possesses that which enables him to scorn their puffed- up attitude - the noblest of all the virtues, magnanimity. This passes over everything of that sort as of no more consequence than the delusive shapes of dreams and the apparitions of the night, which have nothing in them that is substantial and real.
At the same time he remembers this, - that all others are so much his own inferiors that they would not presume to despise what is so far above them. The word "contumely" is derived from the word "contempt," for no one outrages another by so grave a wrong unless he has contempt for him; but no man can be contemptuous of one who is greater and better than himself, even if his action is of a kind to which the contemptuous are prone.
For children will strike their parents in the face, and the infant tumbles and tears his mother's hair and slobbers upon her, or exposes to the gaze of the family parts that were better covered over, and a child does not shrink from foul language. For the same reason the waggery of slaves, insulting to their masters, amuses us, and their boldness at the expense of guests has license only because they begin with their master himself; and the more contemptible and even ridiculous any slave is, the more freedom of tongue he has.
For this purpose some people buy young slaves because they are pert, and they whet their impudence and keep them under an instructor in order that they may be practised in pouring forth streams of abuse; and yet we call this smartness, not insult. But what madness it is at one time to be amused, at another to be affronted, by the same things, and to call something, if spoken by a friend, a slander; if spoken by a slave, a playful taunt! The same attitude that we have toward young slaves, the wise man has toward all men whose childhood endures even beyond middle age and the period of grey hairs.
Or has age brought any profit at all to men of this sort, who have the faults of a childish mind with its defects augmented, who differ from children only in the size and shape of their bodies, but are not less wayward and unsteady, who are undiscriminating in their passion for pleasure, timorous, and peaceable, not from inclination, but from fear? Therefore no one may say that they differ in any way from children. And so the wise man not improperly considers insult from such men as a farce, and sometimes, just as if they were children, he will admonish them and inflict suffering and punishment, not because he has received an injury, but because they have committed one, and in order that they may desist from so doing.
For thus also we break in animals by using the lash, and we do not get angry at them when they will not submit to a rider, but we curb them in order that by pain we may overcome their obstinacy. Now, therefore, you will know the answer to the question with which we are confronted: "Why, if the wise man cannot receive either injury or insult, does he punish those who have offered them? But why is it that you refuse to believe that the wise man is granted such firmness of mind, when you may observe that others have the same, although for a different reason? What physician gets angry with a lunatic?
Who takes in ill part the abuse of a man stricken with fever and yet denied cold water? The wise man's feeling towards all men is that of the physician towards his patients: he does not scorn to touch their privy parts if they need treatment, or to view the body's refuse and discharges, or to endure violent words from those who rage in delirium. And so he is not even irritated if in their sick condition they venture to be somewhat impertinent to their physician, and in the same spirit in which he sets no value on the honours they have, he sets no value on the lack of honour they show.
Just as he will not be flattered if a beggar shows him respect, nor count it an insult if a man from the dregs of the people, on being greeted, fails to return his greeting, so, too, he will not even look up if many rich men look up at him. And, on the other hand, he will not be disturbed if the King of the Medes or King Attalus of Asia, ignoring his greeting, passes him by in silence and with a look of disdain. He knows that the position of such a man is no more to be envied than that of the slave in a large household whose duty it is to keep under constraint the sick and the insane.
The men who traffic in wretched human chattels, buying and selling near the temple of Castor, whose shops are packed with a throng of the meanest slaves - if some one of these does not call me by name, shall I take umbrage? No, I think not. For of what good is a man who has under him none but the bad? For men may all differ one from another, yet the wise man regards them as all alike because they are all equally foolish; since if he should once so far condescend as to be moved either by insult or injury, he could never be unconcerned.
Unconcern, however, is the peculiar blessing of the wise man, and he will never allow himself to pay to the one who offered him an insult the compliment of admitting that it was offered. For, necessarily, whoever is troubled by another's scorn, is pleased by his admiration. Some men are mad enough to suppose that even a woman can offer them an insult. What matters it how they regard her, how many lackeys she has for her litter, how heavily weighted her ears, how roomy her sedan?
She is just the same unthinking creature - wild, and unrestrained in her passions - unless she has gained knowledge and had much instruction. Some are affronted if a hairdresser jostles them, and some call the rudeness of a houseporter, an usher's arrogance, or a valet's loftiness an insult. O what laughter should such things draw! With what satisfaction should a man's mind be filled when he contrasts his own repose with the unrest into which others blunder!
And so to the fellow, be he what he may, who plies this source of revenue at receptions, he will pay his fee; he knows that money will buy whatever is for sale. The man has a small mind who is pleased with himself because he spoke his mind to a porter, because he broke his staff on him, made his way to his master and demanded the fellow's hide. Whoever enters a contest becomes the antagonist of another, and, for the sake of victory, is on the same level. He did not flare up, he did not avenge the wrong, he did not even forgive it, but he said that no wrong had been done.
He showed finer spirit in not acknowledging it than if he had pardoned it. For who is not aware that none of the things reputed to be goods or ills appear to the wise man as they do to men at large? Therefore leave off saying: "Will the wise man, then, receive no injury if he is given a lashing, if he has an eye gouged out? Will he receive no insult if he is hooted through the forum by the vile words of a foul-mouthed crowd? If at a king's banquet he is ordered to take a place beneath the table and to eat with the slaves assigned to the most disreputable service?
If he is foreed to bear whatever else can be thought of that will offend his native self-respect? If small things do not move him, neither will the greater ones; if a few do not move him, neither will more. Shibuya, Tokyo , Japan. Main article: Japanese cyberpunk. See also: Cyberpunk derivatives. Sociology portal Literature portal Speculative fiction portal. New Boundaries in Political Science Fiction. The final confrontation culminates behind the walls of the Vatican where the election of the next pope hangs in the balance. Now, though, Berry is back in the here and now, picking up more or less where Order left off, following another secret society.
This is what his fans expect, and he crushed it. Then a local woman is killed, seemingly the unfortunate victim of a home invasion turned violent. But when Ilka learns that the woman knew her father, it becomes increasingly clear that she may not have been a completely random victim after all.
Cemetery Road by Greg Iles. The 1 New York Times bestselling author of the Natchez Burning trilogy returns with an electrifying tale of friendship, betrayal, and shattering secrets that threaten to destroy a small Mississippi town. When Marshall McEwan left his hometown at age eighteen, he vowed never to return. The trauma that drove him away ultimately spurred him to become one of the most successful journalists in Washington D. His father is dying, his mother is struggling to keep the family newspaper from failing, and the town is in the midst of an economic rebirth that might be built upon crimes that reach into the state capitol—and perhaps even to Washington.
When archeologist Buck McKibben is murdered at a construction site, Bienville is thrown into chaos. The ensuing homicide investigation is soon derailed by a second crime that rocks the community to its core. Stranger still, Max demands that his daughter-in-law, Jet, defend him in court. As a journalist, Marshall knows all too well how the corrosive power of money and politics can sabotage investigations.
But these crimes pale in comparison to the secret at the heart of the Matheson family. When those who have remained silent for years dare to speak to Marshall, pressure begins to build like water against a crumbling dam. Marshall loses friends, family members, and finally even Jet, for no one in Bienville seems willing to endure the reckoning that the Poker Club has long deserved. And by the time Marshall grasps the long-buried truth, he would give almost anything not to have to face it. Why you should be excited about it : Following Mississippi Blood , the epic finale to his bestselling Natchez Burning trilogy, Iles is set to publish his first book in two years.
A gifted writer with an expert feel for developing his cast, Iles has long been a go-to author for readers seeking character-rich stories that are relatable. I like that he took a year off after finishing up his trilogy, letting it breathe before coming back with Cemetery Road , which has been one of the more anticipated titles of since it was announced. The Perfect Alibi by Phillip Margolin. A young woman accuses a prominent local college athlete of rape. Now, the convicted athlete, joined by a new lawyer, is granted a new trial and bail.
Shortly thereafter, his original lawyer disappears and his law partner is murdered. Robin Lockwood is a young lawyer with a prestigious small law firm and a former MMA fighter who helped pay for Yale Law School with her bouts. She is representing the victim of the first rape for her civil lawsuit against her rapist, who is now convinced the rapist is stalking her and trying to intimidate her. Now she has to mastermind two impossible cases, trying to find the hidden truth that links the two of them.
Phillip Margolin, the master of the legal thriller, returns in one of his twistiest, most compelling crime novels yet. Catching a killer is dangerous—especially if he lives next door. From the hugely talented author of The Kind Worth Killing comes an exquisitely chilling tale of a young suburban wife with a history of psychological instability whose fears about her new neighbor could lead them both to murder. Hen and her husband Lloyd have settled into a quiet life in a new house outside of Boston, Massachusetts.
Hen short for Henrietta is an illustrator and works out of a studio nearby, and has found the right meds to control her bipolar disorder. The sports trophy looks exactly like one that went missing from the home of a young man who was killed two years ago. Could her neighbor, Matthew, be a killer? Or is this the beginning of another psychotic episode like the one she suffered back in college, when she became so consumed with proving a fellow student guilty that she ended up hurting a classmate?
Yet no one will believe her. And that this is the beginning of a horrifying nightmare she may not live to escape. I could not put it down. Wolf Pack by C. Release Date : March 12th. He begins to fear that a pack of four vicious killers working on behalf of the Sinaloa cartel known as the Wolf Pack has arrived. Their target seems to be the mystery man and everyone—including Joe, Nate, and others—who is associated with him. Following Joe, Marybeth, Nate Romanowski, and others is similar to catching up with old friends and always a blast.
The Persian Gamble by Joel C. Shot out of the air in enemy territory in the middle of the greatest international crisis since the end of the Cold War, former U. Secret Service agent Marcus Ryker finds himself facing an impossible task. While frantically negotiating with his contacts in the White House, Marcus learns that the unstable North Korean regime plans to use the international chaos as a smokescreen to sell nuclear weapons to Iran. With the fate of the entire free world on the line, Marcus makes a deal with the U.
Marcus and Oleg worked together once before to avert a world war. Can they now find a way to stop world destruction? Why you should be excited about it : Following the most jaw-dropping ending of his career in Without Warning , Rosenberg kicked off a new series in with The Kremlin Conspiracy. I read this book back in October and was absolutely blown away.
Trust me, you will be too. Rosenberg still sits among the very best writers the thriller genre has to offer. Mercy River by Glen Erik Hamilton. Helping a fellow veteran accused of murder, Van Shaw is drawn into a dangerous labyrinth involving smuggled opioids, ruthless mercenaries, and deadly family secrets that will challenge his notions of brotherhood and justice in this riveting thriller from Anthony, Macavity and Strand Critics Award-winning author Glen Erik Hamilton.
When his friend Leo Pak is arrested on suspicion of murder and armed robbery, Van Shaw journeys to a remote Oregon county to help his fellow Ranger. Arriving in the isolated town of Mercy River, Van learns that his troubled friend had planned to join a raucous three-day party that dominates the place for one weekend each year. The murder victim—the owner of a local gun shop where Leo worked part time—was dealing in stolen heroin-grade opiates. Worse, the town has a dark history with a community of white supremacists, growing in strength and threatening to turn Mercy River into their private enclave.
The cops have damning evidence linking Leo to the murder, and Van knows that backwaters like Mercy River are notorious for protecting their own. Action-packed, riveting, and powerful, Mercy River is a novel that goes to the heart and soul of what it means to be a hero in a corrupt and punishing world.
Why you should be excited about it : Hamilton has come on as one of the more solid crime thriller novelists occupying the genre in recent years, and Van Shaw is a great character. Think Jack Reacher, but with a more questionable past and plenty to actually be running from. The Last Act by Brad Parks. Tommy Jump is an out-of-work stage actor approached by the FBI with the role of a lifetime: Go undercover at a federal prison, impersonate a convicted felon, and befriend a fellow inmate, a disgraced banker named Mitchell Dupree who knows the location of documents that can be used to bring down a ruthless drug cartel.
The cartel has quickly risen to become the largest supplier of crystal meth in America. Using a false name and backstory, Tommy enters the low-security prison and begins the process of befriending Dupree. Why you should be excited about it : Brad Parks reached new levels of success a couple of years ago with his hit, ironically-titled thriller, Say Nothing , the book everyone was talking about in Run Away by Harlan Coben. Release Date : March 19th. Then, by chance, you see her playing guitar in Central Park. This woman is living on the edge, frightened, and clearly in trouble.
You approach her, beg her to come home. She runs. And you do the only thing a parent can do: you follow her into a dark and dangerous world you never knew existed. Before you know it, both your family and your life are on the line. And in order to protect your daughter from the evils of that world, you must face them head on. Treason by Rick Campbell. In Russia, the military is anxious to assert its military strength and regain its role as a superpower.
The Russian President refuses to greenlight a bold plan to disable American strategic nuclear capability and retake Ukraine and the Baltic States, fearing the potential consequences of involving nuclear weapons. With the U. Without their primary weapons, the U. Rick Campbell, one of the finest young military thriller writers, returns with his biggest and boldest novel to date. Why you should be excited about it : Campbell took off, forcing readers to wait nearly two years between books. The Fifth Doctrine by Karen Robards. It took one hell of an effort for the authorities to finally get the jump on master manipulator Bianca St.
And all she has to do is run one last mission—the kind she might never return from. Enter Bianca. It could mean torture or endless imprisonment—assuming she survives. But it might also ignite the kind of chaos that forces a revolution. It might just change the world. Ives back for her toughest mission yet.
Release Date: March 19th. Another fabulous read from the most beloved series from the 1 New York Times -bestselling author. The murders of a team of United Nations scientists in El Salvador. A deadly collision in the waterways off the city of Detroit. An attack by tomb raiders on an archaeological site along the banks of the Nile. Is there a link between these violent events? The answer may lie in the tale of an Egyptian princess forced to flee the armies of her father three thousand years ago. During what was supposed to be a routine investigation in South America, NUMA Director Dirk Pitt finds himself embroiled in an international mystery, one that will lead him across the world and which will threaten everyone and everything he knows—most importantly, his own family.
Pitt travels to Scotland in search of answers about the spread of an unknown disease and the shadowy bioremediation company that may be behind it. Meanwhile, his son and daughter face a threat of their own when the discoveries they have made in an Egyptian tomb put killers on their trail. These seemingly unrelated riddles come together in a stunning showdown on the rocky isles of Ireland, where only the Pitts can unravel the secrets of an ancient enigma that could change the very future of mankind. A handful of Pitt books over the last decade have been so-so at best, though their last offering, Odessa Sea , was one of their better-received books so far, giving readers plenty of reasons to be optimistic about this one.
Crown Jewel by Christopher Reich. Release Date: March 26th. Who better to connect the crimes, and foil the brilliant plot, than Simon Riske, freelance industrial spy? From the baccarat tables of the finest casinos to the yachts in the marina, to the private jet company that somehow ties these criminal enterprises together, Simon Riske will do what he does best: get in over his head, throw himself into danger, and find some way to out-think and out-maneuver villains of every stripe. One of the most enjoyable, clever, and entertaining new series to come along in years, this sequel to The Take gives readers what they desire most: a hero we can root for, locales we wish were in, and a plot that never lets up.
Simon Riske is a really unique character and giving him a second book to flesh him out a bit more was a great move by Reich, who seems to really understand what his fans are looking for. Release Date : March 26th. From the creators of Smallville comes an action-packed debut thriller about a war veteran and CIA officer in the s swept up into a global conspiracy that may prove Hitler is still alive. David Toland, a decorated Korean War veteran, has done all he can to leave a life of combat behind. David reluctantly agrees to serve his country one last time and help recover the film for Lana and the CIA.
But it seems not everyone is as eager as they are to dig up the past. In search of the truth, David and Lana find themselves pursued across the globe in a cat and mouse game with enormous, world-altering consequences. Think Robert Harris meets Brad Meltzer. Ellison comes a riveting thriller pitting special agents Nicholas Drummond and Michaela Caine against a private French space agency that has the power to end the world as we know it. Nevaeh Patel, will have the power to lay waste to the world with an EMP. A former astronaut, Patel believes she is following the directions of the Numen, aliens who saved her life when she space-walked outside the International Space Station.
The countdown has begun when Special Agents Nicholas Drummond and Michaela Caine are thrown into the pending disaster. They must stop the EMP that would wreak havoc on communication and electronic systems on Earth, resulting in chaos and anarchy. Why you should be excited about it : Coulter and Ellison are one heck of a duo. Blood Oath by Linda Fairstein. With more women feeling empowered to name their abusers, Alex is eager to return to the courtroom to do what she does best. But not even the greatest minds in the city can help her when unearthed secrets begin to collide in dangerous ways.
Why you should be excited about it : Coop is back after a year off, which fits the story well since the last we saw her she was heading into a leave of absence. This time around, Coop is ready to get back into her office, and her first case deals with a blast from the past. Apparently, a young woman who testified in huge federal case years back has now come forward as a victim of sexual assault, prompting rumors to swirl about a high-profile official, and Coop has to get to the bottom of it all.
Release Date : April 2nd. Ali Reynolds straddles the line between the past and the future in the fourteenth book in the New York Times bestselling series. But will revisiting the past jeopardize her future? Why you should be excited about it : Jance brings back Ali Reynolds for her 14th go-around in with another highly-anticipated thriller that forces Ali to deal with past skeletons that have freed themselves from her closet and come back to haunt her.
Confessions of an Innocent Man by David R. Release Date : April 9th. A thrillingly suspenseful debut novel, and a fierce howl of rage that questions the true meaning of justice. Rafael Zhettah relishes the simplicity and freedom of his life. He is the owner and head chef of a promising Houston restaurant. A pilot with open access to the boundless Texas horizon. A bachelor, content with having few personal or material attachments that ground him.
Then, lightning strikes. When he finds Tieresse—billionaire, philanthropist, sophisticated, bombshell—sitting at one of his tables, he also finds his soul mate and his life starts again. And just as fast, when she is brutally murdered in their home, when he is convicted of the crime, when he is sentenced to die, it is all ripped away. But for Rafael Zhettah, death row is not the end. It is only the beginning. Now, with his recaptured freedom, he will stop at nothing to deliver justice to those who stole everything from him.
This is a heart-stoppingly suspenseful, devastating, page-turning debut novel. A thriller with a relentless grip that wants you to read it in one sitting. David R. Dow has dedicated his life to the fight against capital punishment—to righting the horrific injustices of the death penalty regime in Texas. He delivers the perfect modern parable for exploring our complex, uneasy relationships with punishment and reparation in a terribly unjust world. If you like darker plotlines set in the south, add this one to your reading list.
The Tale Teller by Anne Hillerman. Legendary Navajo policeman Lieutenant Joe Leaphorn takes center stage in this riveting atmospheric mystery from New York Times bestselling author Anne Hillerman that combines crime, superstition, and tradition and brings the desert Southwest vividly alive. Joe Leaphorn may have retired from the Tribal Police, but he finds himself knee-deep in a perplexing case involving a priceless artifact—a reminder of a dark time in Navajo history.
His investigation takes a sinister turn when the leading suspect dies under mysterious circumstances and Leaphorn himself receives anonymous warnings to beware—witchcraft is afoot. While the veteran detective is busy working to untangle his strange case, his former colleague Jim Chee and Officer Bernie Manuelito are collecting evidence they hope will lead to a cunning criminal behind a rash of burglaries. Their case takes a complicated turn when Bernie finds a body near a popular running trail.
The situation grows more complicated when the death is ruled a homicide, and the Tribal cops are thrust into a turf battle because the murder involves the FBI. As Leaphorn, Chee, and Bernie draw closer to solving these crimes, their parallel investigations begin to merge. The Eighth Sister by Robert Dugoni. A pulse-pounding thriller of espionage, spy games, and treachery by the New York Times bestselling author of the Tracy Crosswhite Series. Former CIA case officer Charles Jenkins is a man at a crossroads: in his early sixties, he has a family, a new baby on the way, and a security consulting business on the brink of bankruptcy.
Then his former bureau chief shows up at his house with a risky new assignment: travel undercover to Moscow and locate a Russian agent believed to be killing members of a clandestine US spy cell known as the seven sisters. Desperate for money, Jenkins agrees to the mission and heads to the Russian capital. But when he finds the mastermind agent behind the assassinations—the so-called eighth sister—she is not who or what he was led to believe.
Then again, neither is anyone else in this deadly game of cat and mouse. Pursued by a dogged Russian intelligence officer, Jenkins executes a daring escape across the Black Sea, only to find himself abandoned by the agency he serves. With his family and freedom at risk, Jenkins is in the fight of his life—against his own country. Someone Knows by Lisa Scottoline. Allie Garvey is heading home to the funeral of a childhood friend. Because going home means seeing the other two people with whom she shares an unbearable secret. Twenty years earlier, a horrific incident shattered the lives of five teenagers, including Allie.
Drinking and partying in the woods, they played a dangerous prank that went tragically wrong, turning deadly. The teenagers kept what happened a secret, believing that getting caught would be the worst thing that could happen. But time has taught Allie otherwise. Not getting caught was far worse. Allie has been haunted for two decades by what she and the others did, and by the fact that she never told a soul.
The dark secret has eaten away at her, distancing her from everyone she loves, including her husband. Now, Allie stands on the precipice of losing everything. She digs to unearth the truth, but reaches a shocking conclusion that she never saw coming—and neither will the reader. After Anna and Feared were both major hits in , and readers have every reason to be ecstatic for Someone Knows , one of the first must-read suspense thrillers coming out in Metropolis by Philip Kerr.
As Bernie Gunther sets out to make sense of multiple murders with different MOs in a city that knows no limits, he must face the fact that his own police HQ is not immune. Why you should be excited about it : Sadly, the legendary Philip Kerr passed away in , may he rest in peace. Without giving anything away, the last book did seem to set some things up for Metropolis , so fans of the series will want to get this one pre-ordered ASAP.
The Last by Hanna Jameson. I feel bad about how we left it. Love you. Now, two months later, there are twenty survivors holed up at the hotel, a place already tainted by its strange history of suicides and murders. Jon and the others try to maintain some semblance of civilization.
As supplies dwindle and tensions rise, Jon becomes obsessed with investigating the death of the little girl as a way to cling to his own humanity. Yet the real question remains: can he afford to lose his mind in this hotel, or should he take his chances in the outside world? With plenty of twists throughout, Hanna Jameson will leave readers genuinely surprised by the time they turn the final page here. The Better Sister by Alafair Burke. Release Date : April 16th. Though Chloe was the younger of the two Taylor sisters, she always seemed to be in charge.
She was the honor roll student with big dreams and an even bigger work ethic. Nicky was always restless. She floated from job to job and man to man, and stayed close to home in Cleveland. For a while, it seemed like both sisters had found happiness. Chloe earned a scholarship to an Ivy League school and moved to New York City, where she landed a coveted publishing job. The Taylor sisters became virtual strangers. Could it be possible that Decker made a mistake all those years ago?
As he starts digging into the old case, Decker finds a startling connection to a new crime that he may be able to prevent, if only he can put the pieces together quickly enough. Why you should be excited about it : Baldacci is returning to his Amos Decker franchise once again in However, after consecutive Robie and Puller books that fell just short of expectations and two Decker ones that, frankly, exceeded them, Amos is now the lead dog—along with Atlee Pine, who starred in her first book in Delta-V by Daniel Suarez.
Release Date : April 23rd. The bestselling author of Daemon returns with a near-future technological thriller, in which a charismatic billionaire recruits a team of adventurers to launch the first deep space mining operation—a mission that could alter the trajectory of human civilization. Isolated and pushed beyond their breaking points, Tighe and his fellow twenty-first century adventurers—ex-soldiers, former astronauts, BASE jumpers, and mountain climbers—must rely on each other to survive not only the dangers of a multi-year expedition but the harsh realities of business in space.
Why you should be excited about it : Daniel Suarez is one of the most entertaining sci-fi writers in the genre and his last book, Change Agent , received high marks from both readers and critics alike. This year, Suarez hits on a timely plotline involving deep-space exploration, which could end up altering human civilization forever. The Pandora Room by Christopher Golden. Those who believe the myth want to know which jar has been found in the Pandora Room, the one containing blessings, or the one full of curses.
Whatever the jar contains, they want it, no matter who they have to kill…or what will emerge when they open it. For Sophie, Walker, and the others, the Pandora Room may soon become their tomb. What more do you need to know? Neon Prey by John Sandford. Lucas Davenport pursues a prolific serial killer who has gone undetected for years in the newest nail-biter by 1 NewYork Times -bestselling author John Sandford. It was a relatively minor criminal matter, all things considered, but enough that the U.
Marshals obtained a warrant to enter the home. Now Davenport is on the trail of a serial murderer, one who was able to operate for years without notice or suspicion. The bestselling author answered with a brilliant shakeup in , when he moved Davenport over to the U. Collusion by Newt Gingrich. Release Date : April 30th. Valerie Mayberry comes from the kind of wealthy family that would be royalty in any other country.
A brusque, fiercely independent operative who refuses to play by the rules, the seasoned pro is now a gun for hire, working as a security contractor in Eastern Europe. When a high ranking Kremlin official with knowledge of a plan to attack the US must be smuggled out under the nose of a kleptocratic Putin-like Russian president and a ruthless general, Mayberry and Garret are thrown together to exfiltrate him and preempt a deadly poisonous strike.
As these unlikely partners work to protect their human asset, their mission is threatened by domestic politics: leftist protests, Congressional infighting, and a culture driven by hatred. Collusion raises many of the most significant issues facing America in real life today. Is Russia our ally, or our enemy? Are American leftist activists susceptible to influence from aboard? How far will our enemies go to disrupt our politics and weaken the nation? Can we trust the media to differentiate between the good guys and the bad guys?
Newt Gingrich and Pete Earley have entertained and educated readers with three previous novels of Washington scandal and foreign interference. From its explosive opening through several twists and turns to its heart-stopping end, Collusion is their most timely and powerful novel yet. Why you should be excited about it : Gingrich, the former Speaker of the House, certainly has the political background to pull off such a daring and timely thriller, if he can execute the story.
Like Lions by Brian Panowich. A powerful follow up to multiple award-winning debut Bull Mountain. Brian Panowich burst onto the crime fiction scene in , winning awards and accolades from readers and critics alike for his smoldering debut, Bull Mountain. Now with Like Lions , he cements his place as one of the outstanding new voices in crime fiction. Yet after years of carefully toeing the line between his life in law enforcement and his family, he finally has to make a choice.
When a rival organization makes a first foray into Burroughs territory, leaving a trail of bodies and a whiff of fear in its wake, Clayton is pulled back into the life he so desperately wants to leave behind. With his wife and child in danger, and the way of life in Bull Mountain under siege for everyone, Clayton will need to find a way to bury the bloody legacy of his past once and for all.
The moment Like Lions was announced, it instantly became one of the most anticipated crime thrillers of , as fans anxiously await the return of Clayton Burroughs. If you like C. Box, Craig Johnson, or J. The Kremlin Strike by Dale Brown. Release Date: May 7th. Brad and Patrick McLanahan and the formidable Iron Wolf Squadron—including the recently injured Nadia Roz, rested and back to fighting form thanks to a pair of state-of-the-art prosthetic legs—are ready and eager to join the battle.
But even with their combined forces, the Russian menace may prove too great for the Americans to overcome. Done with provocative skirmishes and playing for small stakes, the Russian president has set his sights on the ultimate prize: controlling the entire world. But is it already too late? If nothing else, the plot sounds timely with the recently announced Space Force, making Brown one of the first authors to release a book fitting that mold since President Trump made headlines for signing the new military branch into existence.
Black Mountain by Laird Barron. When a small-time criminal named Harold Lee turns up in the Ashokan reservoir—sans a heartbeat, head, or hands—the local Mafia capo hires Isaiah Coleridge to look into the matter. The Mob likes crime, but only the crime it controls…and as it turns out, Lee is the second independent contractor to meet a bad end on the business side of a serrated knife.
One such death can be overlooked. Two makes a man wonder. But as Coleridge turns over more stones, he finds himself dragged into something deeper and more insidious than he could have imagined, in a labyrinthine case spanning decades. At the center are an heiress moonlighting as a cabaret dancer, a powerful corporation with high-placed connections, and a serial killer who may have been honing his skills since the Vietnam War.
Why you should be excited about it : Laird Barron switched genres last year, and fans loved it. Robert B. Itinerant lawmen Virgil Cole and Everett Hitch pursue a vicious killer in the grittiest entry yet of the New York Times -bestselling series. No sooner are various campaigns under way when gold is discovered in the foothills just outside of town, sending Appaloosa buzzing with excitement.
With the strike, a slew of new problems develop for Cole and Hitch. Two shrewd mining factions and their hired gun hands square off over the claim. Why you should be excited about it : Originally, this book was set to come out in but was pushed back. Then came the announcement that Sunny Randall, another one of Robert B. So, Blood Feud came out instead, and Buckskin was delayed until If absence makes the heart grow fonder as they say, then plenty of readers will welcome the return of Virgil and Cole this year.
The Paris Diversion by Chris Pavone. Kate Moore is back in a pulse-pounding thriller to discover that a massive terror attack across Paris is not what it seems — and that it involves her family. Across the Seine, tech CEO Hunter Forsyth stands on his balcony, perplexed that his police escort just departed, and frustrated that his cell service has cut out; Hunter has important calls to make, not all of them technically legal.
He sets down his metal briefcase and removes his windbreaker. Everyone has big plans for the day. Dexter is going to make a small fortune, finally digging himself out of a deep financial hole, via an extremely risky investment. Why you should be excited about it : Keeping with his one book every two years pace, Pavone is finally set to follow up his thriller, The Expats , which introduced readers to American expat Kate Moore.
The Never Game by Jeffrey Deaver. Release Date: May 14th. From the bestselling and award-winning master of suspense, the first novel in a thrilling new series, introducing Colter Shaw. A young woman has gone missing in Silicon Valley and her father has hired Colter Shaw to find her. The son of a survivalist family, Shaw is an expert tracker.
When another victim is kidnapped, the clues point to one video game with a troubled past— The Whispering Man. In that game, the player has to survive after being abandoned in an inhospitable setting with five random objects. Is a madman bringing the game to life? If She Wakes by Michael Koryta. Tara Beckley is a senior at idyllic Hammel College in Maine.
As she drives to deliver a visiting professor to a conference, a horrific car accident kills the professor and leaves Tara in a vegetative state. At least, so her doctors think. Trapped in her body, she learns that someone powerful wants her dead—but why? And what can she do, lying in a hospital bed, to stop them?
A former stunt driver, Abby returned home after a disaster in Hollywood left an actor dead and her own reputation—and nerves—shattered. When she starts asking questions, things quickly spin out of control, leaving Abby on the run and a mysterious young hitman named Dax Blackwell hard on her heels. Do you really need anything else to run out and buy this one? Deception Cove by Owen Laukkanen. Release Date: May 21st. For fans of C. Box and Michael Koryta, a new thriller set in remote Washington State, where a widowed ex-Marine and a misanthropic ex-convict grudgingly team up to save the only thing they have in common—the rescue dog who changed both their lives.
Widowed while deployed overseas, former US Marine Jess Winslow reenters civilian life with little more than a falling-down house, a medical discharge for PTSD, and a dog—specifically Lucy, a black and white pitbull mix trained to help Jess cope with the crippling memories of her time in Afghanistan. A corrupt deputy sheriff comes looking for a mysterious package — and leaves with Lucy, threatening to have the dog destroyed unless Jess delivers the goods allegedly stolen by her husband before his untimely death. The next person to appear on her doorstep is a newly released ex-convict. Forced into an uneasy alliance in order to save Lucy, Jess and Mason must learn to trust each other.
Why you should be excited about it : Over the past few years , Laukkanen has expanded his resume to include several new genres. Louise Wykoff is arguably the most recognizable woman living in Minnesota, known for her presence in over one hundred paintings by the late and brilliant Randolph McInnis. Rushmore McKenzie, an occasional unlicensed private investigator, agrees to look into the theft. Hours away from St. Why you should be excited about it : Housewright is one of only a few writers to have two or more books on this list.
While Holland Taylor returns in January, P. Mac McKenzie will be back in May to take on his 16th case. Of his two series currently still going strong, this one is my personal favorite—McKenzie is a more developed character than Taylor, and Housewright captures the Minnesota setting perfectly. The next book in the explosive new thriller series by former special operations sniper and New York Times bestselling author of The Reaper. Remnants of a firefight are in the background: sniper rifle, rocket launchers, and ammunition.
Harwood arrives in Thurman to investigate the suicide and, with the help of his whip-smart and attractive neighbor, traces evidence left by Samuelson to a transnational terrorist group. Meanwhile, the president wants retribution and will stop at nothing to get it. He is soon hunting the kidnappers of American and European youth who use the ransoms to fund war on western civilization. This shadowy group has big plans—an assignation and terror campaign leading to the conquest of Europe.
Why you should be excited about it : A few years back, Coonts left his longtime publisher and signed a deal with conservative-leaning Regnery. Coonts followed that up in with The Armageddon File , which featured a plot about possible Russian collusion in the U. Note: This title was originally slated for release in but was pushed back to Release Date: May 28th. Years before, sacred scrolls had been stolen from a high priestess, who cast a curse on the kingdom unless they were returned.
The Vandal kingdom falls before the scrolls are ever found—leaving their location a mystery—and their discovery is the perfect challenge for Sam and Remi Fargo.