The Roman Empire never fell. Riven by political ambition and internal dissent, thrown into turmoil by rebellion and civil war, it changed and adapted, and somehow it survived. The balance of power between Constantinopolis in the east and Roma in the west ebbed and flowed, but the Empire endured. And it continued to expand, encountering the New World while still dominating the old.
Robert Silverberg's superbly accomplished and ambitious novel explores over fifteen hundred years of Roman history through the very human stories of some 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 a religious fanatic may have changed the course of history; the military hero seizing his destiny; the innocent British aristocrat witnessing at first hand the bloody destruction of the royal family, and the children who find the last emperor in a decaying house in an old wood are all vividly and memorably portrayed.