fact or fiction?

Daniel Levin’s Raw Research Footage

See the locations that inspire the thrilling conspiracies of The Last Ember. All footage was filmed by Daniel Levin while he researched on location.
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Archaeologists excavate in Roman soil

Archaeologists excavate in Roman soil

Historical Note

Ancient spies, modern conspiracies. . . Whats true?

The Last Ember explores the ancient and modern consequences of historical revisionism.  The Waqf Authority is an actual Islamic land trust that has controlled the Temple Mount since 1187 A.D., when Salah ah-Din expelled Richard the Lionheart from Jerusalem. The illicit excavations being carried out beneath the Temple Mount are based on fact. The Supreme Court of Israel has declared that the Waqf Authority has violated antiquities laws on 35 occasions by removing twenty thousands of tons of archaeologically rich soil, and dumping them in the adjacent Kidron Valley.

An inscription bears an unusual numeral, 'XXIIII'

An inscription bears an unusual numeral, 'XXIIII'

In 2007, a U.S. Congressional bill was introduced, “condemning the Waqf’s digging activities at the Temple Mount site and deploring the destruction of artifacts vitally important to Jewish, Christian and Muslim faiths.” Temple Mount Preservation Act, H.R. 756 110th Cong., 1st Sess. (2007)
Sheik Ikrima Sabri, Grand Mufti of Jerusalem 1994-2006, has responded to allegations of illegal excavation, saying, “The Temple was never there. There is not one bit of proof to establish that.”

A Roman fresco depicts gladiatorial combat with a tiger

A Roman fresco depicts gladiatorial combat with a tiger

The novel’s narrative of ancient historical revisionism is also factually rich.  All the historical persons in Emperor Titus’s aristocratic circle—Berenice, Clemens, Epaphroditus, Aliterius—were, in fact, either executed or expelled. According to Suetonius, Emperor Titus did go mad after a certain, unidentified prisoner escaped from the Colosseum, and the next day, on his deathbed, said “I have made only one mistake.”

PapyrusBut what happened to Titus’ court historian, Flavius Josephus, remains unknown. He was the link between all the people Titus condemned. During his lifetime, his various incarnations— diplomat, general, traitor, historian, accused spy—made him one of the most polarizing figures of his day. And yet, he vanished from the historical record without a trace. More than five hundred years of Josephus scholarship has failed to determine his fate.