Robert Silverberg's superbly accomplished and ambitious work explores over fifteen hundred years of alternative Roman history through the very human stories of those who lived it: the young soldier encountering the exoticism of the New World for the first time; the minor official exiled to Arabia for some misdemeanour, whose meeting with religious fanatic may have changed the course of history; and the innocent British aristocrat witnessing at firsthand the bloody destruction of the royal family are all memorably brought to life. For the Roman Empire never fell.
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Robert Silverberg was born in 1935 and began to write while studying for his BA at Columbia University. He is one of the most prolific of all sf writers. Among his many fine novels are Dying Inside, Downward To Earth, The World Inside and Shadrach in the Furnace.From Publishers Weekly:
In Hugo and Nebula winner Silverberg's epic alternative history, as grandly sweeping and imaginative as his celebrated Majipoor Cycle (Lord Valentine's Castle, etc.), the imperial Eternal City (aka Roma) takes 2,000 years to decline but not quite fall. Starting with a scholar's recollection of a failed Hebrew exodus from Egypt centuries earlier, this unusually moving novel depicts 10 crucial historical moments, each centering on the personality of a fictional emperor seen through the eyes of an engaging lesser figure, like an imperial bureaucrat, a luscious and wealthy widow, a brave legionary commander, a conscientious architect, a hunky son of a Celtic chieftain, or even barbarian children who unwittingly bring down the last emperor. Silverberg seamlessly interpolates glimpses of Rome's real history in this handsomely crafted fiction, whether looking back to the ideals of the ancient Republic-duty, honor, country-or inventing a captivating cast of might-have-beens. He unifies his narrative with unusual but convincing historical theory: that Roma's vaunted religious tolerance, in turning the sacred into a mere instrument of governance, had sown the seeds of revolution-a spiritual and intellectual upheaval that here leads the children of Israel to a second and glorious trek to the stars. Guided by the sure hand of an old master, these many roads lead to a fascinating city of multitudinous souls.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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