The new version is on #11: http://agentquerycon...tique/?p=334875
Here's my first draft. Is it too long? What do you think about it?
BERNICE is the black sheep of the Royal Herodian family, for defying the powerful senators controlling Rome. When the senators force Bernice's father AGRIPPA into debt, the Herodians repudiate him, and he tries to kill himself. After Bernice talks him out of it, she vows to overthrow the senators' abusive oligarchy.
Bernice and Agrippa help the rebellious Caligula become emperor and revive the republic's elections. In return, Caligula appoints Agrippa as King of Israel. On the way to their kingdom Princess Bernice meets her childhood friend ALEXANDER, an officer in the Roman army, and they fall in love.
The oligarchs poison Caligula to insanity, and funnel the money of the empire's people to their own pockets, leaving the masses starved and enslaved. Their greediness also demands huge deforestation that turns Europe's area into swamps and the Middle-East and North-Africa into deserts. Their money is used for wine-baths, hand-weaved silk from china, and paying the professional army oppressing the empire. When they murder Caligula, Bernice and Agrippa secretly start spearheading a rebellion of the entire eastern empire.
Alexander comes to Bernice and proposes, but as a rebel she can neither accept, nor explain her refusal to him. Alexander, deeply pained by her unexpected rejection, is resolute to move on and keep her out of his life.
King Agrippa's forces are ready, and he invites the alliance's dignitaries to the Caesarea amphitheater, to announce the independence. The wine he drinks for a toast is poisoned, and he dies. The grieving Queen Bernice has to choose whether to keep her fight for her people, or to abandon her struggle and attempt to live with her beloved Alexander. She tries to talk with Alexander, but he refuses to speak with her.
With the support of the revolutionary Mary Magdalene, who is motivated by the crucifixion of Jesus for rising up against the bankers, Bernice decides to continue the struggle of her life. Her rebelling people burn the debts' archive, liberate slaves, and kill thousands of Roman soldiers. Rome, afraid of the insurrection, dispatches VESPASIAN FLAVIUS with a mighty army to crush it.
Bernice invites the enemy commander to negotiations, and Vespasian arrives with his son and deputy, Titus. Bernice is surprised to find the young officer attentive to her dream of equality. While wrangling over Rome's oppression, they recognize the revolutionaries within one another, and unwittingly fall in love. Berenice helps Vespasian become the emperor, believing his promise to oppose the oligarchs. Titus proposes to her, and she accepts.
As the relationship becomes known, the fanatics among the rebels target the queen as a traitor, and try to kill her. Alexander hears about the danger Bernice was in, realizes he can't live without her, and decides to do whatever it takes to gain her love again.
The oligarchs demand Vespasian to slaughter the rebels and plunder the casualties' money. Vespasian, acting in accordance with his culture and not with his low-class origin, appoints Titus to suppress the rebellion. Alexander is assigned as his deputy. On Passover festival, as millions of Israeli men, women and children gather in Jerusalem, Titus sieges the holy capital. He famishes the metropolis, causing myriads of corpses to pile in the valleys beneath the city's walls. Eventually he breaks into the capital, burns the city, and massacres all the survivors, flowing rivers of blood over the streets. Then he invites Bernice to join him.
Bernice travels to Jerusalem through smoky country, sees the blood-drenched city, grasps her fiancé's cruelty, and her love turns into hatred. When she meets Titus she tries to assassinate him then and there, but Alexander blocks her, claiming that murdering the emperor's heir would only bring to an additional bloodbath. They join Titus on his way to Rome, where Alexander is appointed as the commander of the Emperor's Guard.
Bernice figures her only way to change the Roman abusive system is to use the Romans' selfish conduct against them. With Alexander's help she enables the assassinations of Vespasian and Titus, and crowns the assassin, Domitian. The lowborn Emperor Domitian butchers the oligarchs.
As the government stops supporting the oligarchs at the expense of the people, their banks are the first to fall. Later on, their businesses, administration and army will fall as well, leaving the empire's people wealthier and freer.
Bernice realizes that the Romans' cruelty stems from their belief in 'man is wolf to man', and that Jesus created his contradicting path of 'love your fellow as yourself' against this belief. She saves the lives of Mary Magdalene, Paul and John the Apostle, so their congregations will spread throughout the empire to become, someday, the dominant belief.
With her life-mission accomplished, Bernice returns with Alexander to her palace near the Sea of Galilee, and they live happily ever after.