Casca is a series of paperback novels, and since January 2014, ebooks as well, created and written by author Barry Sadler in 1979. The stories revolve around the life of Casca Rufio Longinus, the soldier in the Roman legions who drove the Holy Lance into the side of Jesus Christ on Golgotha, and (in the novels) who is doomed by Jesus to wander the Earth aimlessly, always as a soldier, until the Second Coming. The character is loosely based on the Longinus legend of Christianity.
Sadler wrote some of the early novels in the series while the others were assigned to ghostwriters. Two subsequent novels (Casca 23: The Liberator and Casca 24: The Defiant) were written by Paul Dengelegi. The current author, Tony Roberts, has written all the novels since 2006, excluding Casca 29: Immortal Dragon and Casca 33: The Outlaw, which were written by Michael B. Goodwin. In April 2013, "Casca 29: Immortal Dragon" was removed from the list of books on casca.net due to alleged plagiarism, and shortly afterwards his other novel in the series, Casca 33: The Outlaw, was removed for the same reason. There is another story, in the form of an unauthorized audiobook, Casca: The Outcast, which was written by Paul Dengelegi in 2004.
Casca was first introduced in Casca 1: The Eternal Mercenary. Little is known about his early life, although vague clues are given in various books in the series. He spent most of his adult life serving the Roman empire in the Legions, and there are some scraps of information about his family. He grew up in the hill country of Etruria, now known as Tuscany, to the north of Rome. The village name was Falerno. When he was a child, he saw the 10th Legion march through his village en route to Gaul. His uncle, Tontine, enlisted into the army under Julius Caesar. His family died of plague and the young Casca burned the family home afterward. He enlisted into the 7th Legion at either Messilia or Livorno. His first battle under the eagle of the 7th was on the German border against the Suevii when 15,000 tribesmen attacked them at dawn. Only 300 made it back into the forests of Germania. He joined the 10th Legion and was sent to Jerusalem where he was assigned to the execution detail for three prisoners, amongst whom was Jesus.
At Golgotha, Casca stabbed Jesus with his spear, in an attempt to relieve Jesus of his pain and suffering. Jesus condemned Casca by saying, "Soldier, you are content with what you are. Then that you shall remain until we meet again. As I go now to My Father, you must one day come to Me." As Jesus died, blood from his wound trickled down Casca's spear and onto his hand, and Casca unknowingly tasted it after wiping sweat from his mouth, causing his body to convulse in pain. Casca did not initially understand what was happening to him until he was condemned to work in labor mines over a 30-year period. There he slowly discovered that he does not age and cannot be killed or seriously wounded. He learned that he is immortal, although he can feel all pain inflicted on his person. While his wounds heal completely, his body accumulates countless scars over the centuries.
Casca possesses an affinity for spoken languages. He can master most languages that he encounters, including their dialects, colloquialisms, and sub-tongues. Casca is also superbly skilled in edged weapons. He was first trained as a Roman Legionnaire with the Gladius Iberius sword. He later improved those skills as a Gladiator in the Circus Maximus.
Casca is easily recognizable by the long facial scar that he possesses. It runs from the side of his eye to his mouth in a crescent shape, giving him a permanent sneer. Casca acquired the scar while trying to short-change a local prostitute in the Holy Land. Over the years many onlookers assume that Casca received the wound while in battle; Casca just chuckles and thinks, "If they only knew."
Casca knew some of the most famous people throughout history, including:
- Jesus Christ - book 1
- Niccolò Machiavelli - book 3
- Heinrich Himmler - book 4
- Adolf Hitler - book 4
- Shapur II - book 6
- Attila the Hun - book 7
- Hernán Cortés - book 10
- Moctezuma II - book 10
- Tomas Torquemada - book 10
- Omar Khayyám - book 13
- Hassan-i Sabbah - book 13
- Blackbeard - book 15
- Max Immelmann - book 21
- Genghis Khan - book 22
- Marco Polo - book 24
- Robert E. Lee - books 25, 26 and 27
- William the Conqueror - book 31
- George Washington - book 36
- Mohammed - various books
Dr. Julius Goldman
He was a surgeon in United States Army with the rank of Major, stationed at the 8th Field Hospital in Nha Trang during the Vietnam War. He first met Casca when the latter was brought into the hospital with multiple gunshot wounds and a large mortar shell fragment lodged in his skull and into his brain, which should have been fatal. Dr. Goldman discovered Casca's unusual healing properties and became his biographer and chronicler after hearing his story. He is often visited by Casca for updates on his life and experiences throughout the ages. Dr. Goldman later leaves the Army and establishes his own practice.
As Dr Goldman ages and reaches his mid-70s, he introduces Casca to Danny Landries, the son of his former army comrade, Colonel Bob Landries. Danny first meets Casca in book 34 (Devil's Horseman) and gradually takes over from Goldman as his biographer.
The Brotherhood of the Lamb
The Brotherhood of the Lamb is a fanatical religious sect and sworn enemy of Casca. It is run by an elder, who oversees the sect's hierarchy, the Inner Circle. The circle is composed of an elder and twelve other specially chosen brothers who run the militant religious organization. They preach force and power over traditional virtues of piety and compassion.
The Brotherhood was founded by Izram, a man who called himself the Thirteenth Disciple, in the wake of Jesus's death at the hands of Casca's spear thrust. He purchased the spear from some of Casca's comrades to be used as a relic and symbol for the events on Golgotha. Known as "The Spear of Longinus", the sect worships the spear which forms the central focus at prayer times.
On the most holy of days in the Brotherhood's calendar, the sect recreates the crucifixion, right down to killing one of their blessed brethren who has been selected to act the part of Jesus. Another, usually the Elder, plays the part of Casca, dressed in Roman uniform, who executes "Jesus" with their holiest relic, the Spear of Longinus.
Izram went into the wilderness for forty days before a revelation came to him: Jesus said to Casca, "Soldier, you are content with what you are, so shall you be until we meet again". Therefore, he reasoned that when Jesus returned at the Second Coming he would meet Casca. The Brotherhood keeps Casca in their sights until that day; though they may hate Casca for his actions on Golgotha, they must not prevent him from meeting their Lord. Casca Longinus is their path back to Christ and they will stop at nothing in keeping their most hated enemy in their sights for all time. On occasions they inflict severe pain on Casca as punishment for his actions. Once, the Elder Dacort severed Casca's hand for daring to touch the Spear at their monastery in Asia. In Casca 6: The Persian, Rasheed, a minor acolyte, arranges to have Casca burned at the stake, thinking it just punishment for spearing Jesus. In Casca 9: The Sentinel, Elder Gregory murders Casca's adopted son, Demos, and his woman, Ireina, for which Casca crucifies Gregory to death. Casca was also a prisoner of the Brotherhood, in Casca 18: The Cursed and Casca 4: Panzer Soldier. In Casca 28: The Avenger he kills Elder Thassus as part of his mission of vengeance.
Known Elders of The Brotherhood of the Lamb:
- Dacort - book 3
- Heinrich Himmler - book 4
- Imhept - book 6
- Gregory -book 9
- Hassan al-Sabah - book 13
- Father Mulcahy - book 18
- Thassus - book 28
- Janus - book 28
In Casca 28 we are introduced to the Longini, a family that is created to protect Casca through his long life. Unbeknown to the Eternal Mercenary, this family slowly grows and seeks to thrwart the efforts of the Brotherhood. We encounter them next in Casca 40 where Isabella Longini helps Casca during WWII, and again in Casca 42. Unlike the common habit where when a woman marries a man and loses her maiden name, in all cases of marriage the union results in the family name of Longini being retained, thus preserving their identity to one another.
Books in the series
- Casca 1: The Eternal Mercenary (1979): During the Vietnam War, Dr. Julius Goldman discovers that Casey Romain is actually Casca Longinus, a 2000-year-old Roman soldier cursed with immortality by Jesus Christ.
- Casca 2: God of Death (1979): In Mexico during the 3rd century AD, Casca is declared a god by the Teotec Indians, and defends them from an attack by the Olmecs.
- Casca 3: The War Lord (1980): Casca travels to 3rd century Byzantium and China, where he is buried alive by a jealous empress.
- Casca 4: Panzer Soldier (1980): Casca fights for the Germans at the Battle of Kursk, and later meets Hitler.
- Casca 5: The Barbarian(1981): Casca deserts the Roman Legion in the 2nd century AD, and becomes a member of a Germanic tribe.
- Casca 6: The Persian (1982): Casca becomes a commander in the army of Persian king Shapur II, but is burned at the stake when he is branded a heretic.
- Casca 7: The Damned (1982): Casca returns to the Roman Empire in time to see Rome fall to the Visigoths, then joins the fight against Atilla the Hun at the Battle of the Catalunian Plains in 451.
- Casca 8: Soldier of Fortune (1983): Casca serves as a mercenary based in 1976 Cambodia.
- Casca 9: The Sentinel (1983): After sleeping in an ice cave for more than 100 years, Casca travels to the Eastern Roman Empire to fight against the Vandals in AD 534.
- Casca 10: The Conquistador (1984): Casca escapes from a 16th-century Spanish prison and travels to the New World with Hernán Cortés.
- Casca 11: The Legionnaire (1984): At the end of World War II, Casca is captured by the French and drafted into the French Foreign Legion. He is eventually sent to French Indochina, where he fights in the Battle of Dien Bien Phu.
- Casca 12: African Mercenary (1984): In 1977, Casca is sent on a mission to kill an African dictator, but is betrayed by his allies.
- Casca 13: The Assassin (1985): In the 11th century, Casca is captured by Arab slave traders, and is inducted into the secret sect of the Hashshashin.
- Casca 14: The Phoenix (1985): Casca, on a mission to stop a Viet Cong assassination squad, is captured by the North Vietnamese. He escapes, but is badly wounded and taken to a US Army field hospital. This is a prequel to the first Casca novel.
- Casca 15: The Pirate (1985): In 1718, Casca sails to the Caribbean to escape arrest. There he becomes involved with pirates, including the infamous Blackbeard.
- Casca 16: Desert Mercenary (1986): Casca and his friend Gus work as mercenaries during the Algerian War.
- Casca 17: The Warrior (1987): In the late 1860s, Casca sails the South Pacific, where he saves a small island village from a local warlord.
- Casca 18: The Cursed (1987): Casca joins the British Army in 1899, but deserts to the Chinese side and joins the Boxer Rebellion.
- Casca 19: The Samurai (1988): Casca is rescued off the coast of Japan in 1184, and later fights in the Battle of Dan-no-ura.
- Casca 20: Soldier of Gideon (1988): Casca joins the Israeli Army and fights in the Golan Heights during the Yom Kippur War.
- Casca 21: The Trench Soldier (1989): Casca fights with the British Army during the early days of World War I.
- Casca 22: The Mongol (1990): Casca is rescued by a young Mongol warrior named Temujin. Casca teaches the young man the art of war, which allows him to conquer and unite the local tribes into a mighty army. Now calling himself Genghis Khan, Temujin sets his sights on the West.
NOTE: Books #29, "Casca: Immortal Dragon" and #33 "Casca: the Outlaw" have both been proven to be plagiarized from other books and are a) no longer considered "canon", b) These books have been pulled out of the order and will no longer be published, and c) These book numbers will not be re-issued, they will simply be skipped over and ignored.
(http://www.casca.net/?p=1931 quoted from the current author and publisher)
- Casca 23: The Liberator (1999): When the ship carrying Casca is sunk, he spends six years at the bottom of the ocean until he is rescued by African fishermen. They worship him as a god, and ask him to free their people from the rule of a tyrant.
- Casca 24: The Defiant (2001): Casca saves the life of young Marco Polo and joins him on his journey to the court of Kublai Khan.
- Casca 25: Halls of Montezuma (2006): Casca arrives in America in the 1840s. When war with Mexico breaks out he joins the US Army and helps take the fortress of Chapultepec outside Mexico City.
- Casca 26: Johnny Reb (2007): Casca fights for the South during the American Civil War.
- Casca 27: The Confederate (2008): During the American Civil War, Casca must face threats both from the North and the Brotherhood.
- Casca 28: The Avenger (2008): Casca returns to the Eastern Roman Empire in the 6th century, to get revenge against the Brotherhood, and takes part in the Battle of Taginae.
- Casca 29: Immortal Dragon (2008): Removed from the series
- Casca 30: Napoleon's Soldier (2009): Casca joins Napoleon's Grande Armée and participates in the 1812 French invasion of Russia.
- Casca 31: The Conqueror (2009): Casca enlists in the army of William of Normandy and takes part in the Battle of Hastings.
- Casca 32: The Anzac (2010): The Eternal Mercenary joins the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps to fight the Ottoman Turks at Gallipoli
- Casca 33: The Outlaw (2010): Removed from the series
- Casca 34: Devil's Horseman (October 2010): The Mongol invasion of Europe is the background to this story of Mongol politics as Casca is dragged into factional struggles, and takes part in the climactic Battle of Mohi.
- Casca 35: Sword of the Brotherhood (May 2011): Casca is blackmailed into helping the Brotherhood retrieve the Spear of Longinus from the Sassanid Persians, with the backdrop being the Byzantine-Sassanid War of 602–628.
- Casca 36: The Minuteman (October 2011): The American War of Independence is the setting for this story, set in the first part of the war, between 1775 and 1777. Casca finds a tough adversary in the British officer Major Sir Richard Eley while fighting at the Battle of Bunker Hill, the Battle of White Plains and the Battle of Trenton and Battle of Princeton.
- Casca 37: Roman Mercenary (April 2012): Set during the period of Casca 7: The Damned, the protagonist and six hired mercenaries set out to rescue a rich man's daughter from a barbarian occupied former Roman city.
- Casca 38: The Continental (October 2012): Conclusion of story started in book 36.
- Casca 39: The Crusader (April 2013): Casca works for the Byzantine Emperor Alexius Comnenus during The First Crusade and helps a Frankish noblewoman on her journey towards Jerusalem.
- Casca 40: Blitzkrieg (October 2013): The early part of the Second World War sees Casca campaigning in Poland and then Belgium and France for the panzer korps, while trying to avoid a police hunt investigating a murder in a Berlin hotel that Casca was involved in.
- Casca 41: The Longbowman (June 2014) Casca joins the English army of King Henry V and takes part in the Battle of Agincourt.
- Casca 42: Barbarossa. (April 2015) Continues Casca's World War Two adventures, the Eternal Mercenary fights for the panzer korps as they invade the Soviet Union, covering the campaigns of 1941 and 1942.
- Casca 43: Scourge of Asia. (September 2015) Casca is recruited by the Byzantine emperor to save the fading empire by finding a warlord to destroy the Ottoman Turks. Casca's travels takes him to the lands of Transoxiana where he meets the rising Tamerlane and together they set Asia afire.
In 2004, former Casca author Paul Dengelegi wrote an unauthorized story titled Casca: The Outcast. Without the permission of the Casca publishers, he contracted with Americana Audio to have it published as a three-disc audiobook CD. This was subsequently withdrawn in 2006 following the collapse of Americana Audio.
From January 2014, the series was put into ebook format, and all existing books in the series with the exception of the two Paul Dengelegi novels (23 & 24) and the two removed novels of Michael Goodwin (29 & 33) were available in kindle format from all amazon sites with effect from 3 June 2014.
- Casca 15: The Pirate
- Casca 2: God of Death
- Casca 1: The Eternal Mercenary