Hey all, so I’ve been considering a new story based on several of my favorite genres. Alternative History + Steampunk + Historical Fiction. Read the prologue to my story idea below. I won’t give away the actual story, but maybe the prologue will tweak your interest. PLEASE offer feedback. Let me know what you think! But keep it constructive peoples 🙂
In the year 1856 A.D., the most powerful and glorious empire ever to grace the world of Earth sat like a giant amoeba over the mountains, rivers, and plains of Europe. The Imperial Roman Empire had continued it’s slow spread over the various barbarian tribes of Europe for more than the past two millennia, from the founding of the Republic to it’s transformation into the Imperial Roman Empire with the crowning of Julius Caesar as Emperor. Despite initial attempts to prevent the transformation into an empire, solid Roman citizens with their eye on the future ensured the success of the first Emperor. The most important, Marcus Brutus, close friend and savoir of the Emperor during an assassination attempt in 44 B.C. is now venerated as a deified member of the Roman Pantheon.
With the Laurel Crown now firmly entrenched, Emperor Caesar began his expansionist policies. Roman Legions marched on Britannia, Iberia, North Africa, and Egypt, securing areas of unrest and expanding Rome’s powerful reach. Caesar’s wife Cornelia gave birth to two sons, in addition to Octavian, his adopted son. The dynasty was now firmly secured with heirs. Caesar, ever mindful of eventually running into a military equal to Roman power, especially from the remnants of the Seleucid Empire in the east, commissioned hundreds of inventors and scientific projects, both military and civilian. This forced yet more change upon a society still in upheaval. Imperial Rome began setting the foundation for an industrial revolution.
Caesar’s great-grandson, the Emperor Titus Octavian, sent 15 legions across the Danube in 78 A.D., crushing the United Germanic tribes in a spectacular Black Forest ambush and securing valuable mineral and timber resources for the growing industrial might of Rome. Imperial Rome has continued to dominate Europe, from the Gates of Herkules to the Vistula River for the last 500 years. It has sent explorers across the oceans, founding colonies in the new world “Caesaria.” Its technological and industrial might continue to grow. Having discovered combustion over 700 years ago, Rome is no longer a city of marble; rather it is a clockwork city of gold, silver, steel, iron, and brass.
Although relatively secure and peaceful, Imperial Rome continues to have problems with neighboring nations. The Republic of Nortland occasionally sends raiding parties down from their Scandinavian territories. Long gone are the days of berserker warriors leaping from narrow sailing galleys. These raiders utilize chain axes and have perfected the art of dropping from low flying dirigibles with the minimum of safety equipment.
The Mongolian Crimearate holds a long swath of the northern and eastern borders of the Imperial Empire. Mongolian horse archers had terrified and decimated every army they came against until a pitched battle on the banks of the Jordan River. There, General Augustus Belisarius used dirigibles armed with Greek fire to scatter the Mongolians and deny them their river crossing. Using their new launcher pilum, Roman Legionaries were able to hit back against the fast moving archers. Both sides fought to a standstill, with over 40,000 casualties in the two-day battle. The Mongolians would love another chance at the fertile farm valleys of Egypt and Mesopotamia.
Finally, to the south lies the Empire of Axum. Originally contained to the horn of East African, her forces pushed west and south, coming to control the great trade routes from Timbuktu and Gao. Although they do not control much of the interior of Africa, their navy is perhaps the strongest in the world, and the vast wealth of both the land and sea trading nation can buy both mercenaries and even roman senators and generals. Their sub-ocean ships carry more cargo without relying upon the wind, and can appear anywhere, at any time. Although they have yet to directly conflict with Imperial forces, Axum forces continue to grab more and more territory, and are especially envious of Roman control of the Nile River.
Although surrounded by enemies, Rome is strong, powerful, the most impressive empire on Earth. It is the year 1856 A.D. The northern provinces are experiencing unrest, and farther to the north, there is no news from Nortland. It appears things may be too quiet on the northern front. Whispered words in the alleys mention rebellion and a missing legion.