Time's Tapestry Book One: Emperor is a deliciously imaginative time travel through 400 years of a fictional yet believable Roman family with a frightening unscrupulous matriarch, Severa, who finally recoups the justice she deserves for her malevolent machinations.
The characters are skillfully fleshed out as contemporaries of the actual historical characters - Hadrian and Constantine, to mention just a few. The attention to research is obviously meticulous, and the settings are so well-crafted that the reader feels they are standing in ancient Rome. With delicate inferences, the author unobtrusively addresses some of the less than pleasant (as well as the downright revolting) aspects of the violence and decadence of the Roman city-state.
The ancient prophecy that meanders through the novel is handed down from generation to generation, sometimes in gruesome fashion. When it is actually fully revealed, it astonishes readers with the brilliant plot twist that only Stephen Baxter could conceive.
Often novels about ancient Rome focus on the romance of the palatial and timeworn retelling of stories well-known protagonists. Emperor is in a class by itself, an original if often gritty extrapolation of the accurate and the possible, mixed with a pinch of the inspired speculation.