In Roma Eterna, Robert Silverburg transports readers on a fascinating trip into both the past and the future by mixing an obviously thorough historical research with a highly inventive yet believable grasp of storytelling.
The imaginary emperors range from the sublime Trajan Draco to the ridiculous Demetrious II. Draco global circumnavigation was an inspiration to the entire realm -- except for Tiberius Ulpius Draco, a descendant, who ceases hero-worshipping Trajan after reading the emperorís own account of his trip. Dememtrius
had his food sprinkled with powdered pearls, onyx and amber and his chariot pulled alternately first by four elephants, and then four camels.
The saga begins in A.U.C. (from the founding of the city) 1203 and takes the reader on a spectacular time travel ahead more than 1,500 years. The pacing of the book may seem a bit disjointed at first, but take heart: once you immerse yourself in the rhythm it flows quite easily.
The fact that the readers will find themselves wondering what happened to the characters in the previous chapter is a sure sign that Silverberg is a master at his craft. The first few lines of the new passage are gloomily overshadowed by the gnawing questions of the fate of the previous players but are soon overtaken by the readerís complete involvement with the new characters. With a minute attention to detail of Roman history and a startling ability to project the great Roman Empire into the twenty-first century, Silverburg creates a glimpse of the world that might have been.
Roma Eterna makes readers stop and ponder just how different life would have been if the Roman Empire had not fallen or had at least risen from its own ashes to soar as a great phoenix through the mists of time into the modern era. It is a must read for those who love history or fiction. For those who love historical fiction, it is a gem of high quality.