The Pillar

My new novella is The Pillar. In part, the title refers to a literal pillar of stone. In my story, criminals and disobedient slaves are tied to the pillar and whipped as punishment. Some of them are left there to die–unless a kind stranger saves them.

The novella is set in a fictional town in 15th century Bosnia. Although I’ve exercised creative license with medieval Bosnian law, punishment pillars did in fact exist in that general region.

I took this photo a few years ago in the town of Zadar, which is located on the coast of Croatia:


(Yes, Spike the vampire travels with me. He’s been to over a dozen countries. He’s a good travel companion.)

Zadar was once a part of the Roman empire, and the city had a large Roman forum, or square. This photo shows a part of the forum (although the buildings are newer). See that stone column to the right of Spike? That was the Pillar of Shame. Wrongdoers would be chained to it and humiliated or beaten.

Other cities in Europe also had punishment pillars, and some still remain. When I googled, I found one in Senec, Slovakia. And here’s one in Germany and one in Portugal. In England and the early U.S., we had a slightly different version of this form of punishment; we called it the pillory.

In my novella, an orphaned thief named Faris barely survives the pillar as a youth. years later, he rescues another man from the pillar–a slave named Boro. As for what happens next, you’ll have to read the book! It’s available now for preorder and releases August 13.