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In a new alternate history saga, more than one hundred years after Rome falls to the great Carthaginian general Hannibal and its inhabitants are sent into exile, the Romans have re-grouped, stronger and more powerful than ever, and are primed for the ultimate battle for supremacy of the ancient world.
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John Maddox Roberts's alternative history Hannibal's Children is an interesting expedition to answer the question "What if Hannibal of Carthage had succeeded in his bid to conquer Rome during the second Punic War?"
Roberts, author of The Catiline Conspiracy and several other titles revolving around ancient Rome, opens his novel with a few words of history to acquaint the reader with the particulars of the Punic War. He then launches into his experiment, taking the reader onto the floor of the Roman Senate, which is voting to accept Hannibal's terms of surrender, namely that the Romans leave their beloved seven hills and never return. The novel then moves forward 200 years, when the descendants of the exiled Romans have carved a new empire from the barbarous north called "Roma Noricum." An expedition is sent south to assess the strength of Hannibal's descendants--a journey that takes the scouts through Rome and across the Mediterranean to the hearts of Carthage and Egypt, which have risen to great power and wealth in the absence of Rome.
Roberts is a bear for details, especially those of a military nature. His fascination with Roman military prowess is evident as he skillfully and vividly re-creates the might of the legions. Likewise, his speculative re-creation of Roman, Carthaginian, and Egyptian societies is colorful and rich. Unfortunately, Roberts runs out of gas in his third act, leaving plot lines dangling, character development unfinished, and the reader stuck hoping for 300 more pages or wishing for a sequel. Despite this flaw, the book is a fascinating experiment that brings the ancient world to life. --Jeremy PughAbout the Author:
In addition to his works of science fiction and fantasy, John Maddox Roberts is also the author of the SPQR books, a series of mystery novels set in ancient Rome.
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