Oh, haven’t I mentioned I’m writing a book?
I’m writing a book.
Historical Suspense. Set in ancient Rome. Didn’t see that coming, did you?
… Anyway, I’m working on my manuscript and I wrote myself into an ethical dilemma. Or at least a what-would-this-character-do-to-be-true-to-himself dilemma. I could just scrap the whole scene and move on, but where’s the challenge in that? (I’m writing a mystery/suspense novel set in ancient Rome, I obviously don’t like making life easy for myself.)
So … I thought you might be able to help me out of the little corner I’ve written myself into. Here’s the scenario:
The character spent his career as a legionary doctor. He is now retired. He is also a Christian. He spends his time providing health care to any who need it, even if they cannot pay. He is on good terms with the many retired legionaries who live in the city, but he is also an active member of the underground Christian community. (This is shortly after Nero, the legality of practicing Christianity is questionable at best.) See how complicated this is?
The army doctor helps the main character hide from the local authorities. (Said character hasn’t broken any laws, but you’ll have to take his word for it) A chapter or two later, the two men are on a trip and are attacked by thieves (who have obviously been lying in wait for them after traveling with them the previous day.)
Here’s my dilemma: How does the army doctor treat these thieves? Is he more concerned with Christian mercy or Roman justice? Is there a middle ground?
What are your thoughts?
Please (please, please) leave your thoughts and suggestions in the comments box below.