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The Centurion's Empire

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3.61  ·  Rating Details ·  160 Ratings  ·  12 Reviews
In the year that Mount Vesuvius destroyed Pompeii, the Roman Centurion Vitellan set off for the twenty-first century as Imperial Rome's last human-powered time machine. He killed an unfaithful lover by just letting her grow old, but her hate pursued him across seven centuries. In 1358 he stood with a few dozen knights against an army of nine thousand to defend the life of ...more
Paperback, 416 pages
Published May 15th 1999 by Tor Science Fiction (first published 1998)
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The Time Traveler's Wife by Audrey NiffeneggerOutlander by Diana GabaldonThe Time Machine by H.G. Wells11/22/63 by Stephen KingA Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L'Engle
Best Time Travel Fiction
470th out of 1,248 books — 4,042 voters
Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets by J.K. RowlingA Clash of Kings by George R.R. MartinThe Poisonwood Bible by Barbara KingsolverHoles by Louis SacharAbout a Boy by Nick Hornby
Best Books of 1998
179th out of 250 books — 123 voters


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Community Reviews

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Abulafia
Aug 09, 2015 Abulafia rated it liked it
Shelves: default
A fun idea (What if ancient Rome's best and brightest, and most cold-resistant, maintained their Empire via cryonics?) marred by its execution. First half (Roman and medieval times) is largely prelude and wordy back story. Second half, in the (now-not-too-distant) future, is strongly reminiscent of "Snow Crash," although Stephenson does it better. The Centurion himself is stoic, honorable, wooden, adaptable, dull. His Roman/medieval supporting cast are forgettable, with the exception of an Ice ...more
Jacquie
Feb 03, 2013 Jacquie rated it liked it
I had never read any of McMullen's books before, but picked this up at my library's book sale and knew I had to have it as soon as I read the description. It's a pretty unique storyline about a group of ancient Romans called the Temporians who were basically human time machines. They discovered how to freeze themselves in ice chambers with a combination of natural resilience and a special mixture of cryoproteins isolated from glacial-dwelling insects.The Centurion is the last of the Temporians ...more
Lisa
Feb 20, 2012 Lisa rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I started this book in high school and remembered it being much more exciting than it was. I must not have finished it then, because I didn't remember anything about the ending when I read it this time around. As a concept, the book is absolutely fantastic - I love the idea of seeing a citizen of the Roman empire suddenly thrust into the 21st century - but the execution for this novel was difficult for me to read. The pacing made the exciting portions unexpected and confusing, and I had trouble ...more
steven
May 22, 2008 steven rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I'm not entirely sure the first half of the book is necessary; it's more like an extremely long prologue, setting up the background so that the action can continue without breaking stride with exposition.

That said, it is well thought out and entertaining, but on a second reading I'd skip the first hundred pages or so -- I doubt my experience will be negatively hindered, except in fully understanding the psychopathic nature of the Icekeepers.
Nathan
Jan 18, 2012 Nathan rated it it was ok
This won an Aurealis Award back in 1999. But I don't know why. Roman centurion finds a means to move through time a la Buck Rogers. Finds himself in 21st C and gets involved in cyberpunk activities. No real resolution. Side characters and plots that go nowhere and a fair few unexplained events. Started ok but downhill slide all the way. Rated M for violence and infrequent coarse language. 2.5/5
Allison
Nov 03, 2015 Allison rated it liked it
Very tedious to begin within, but it gets better and with a better pace toward the end. I'm still left with the feeling I've read the outline of a novel, rather than a completed work. There are so many gaps with no background to help you get any depth from the story. Which is a shame really, because it had some pretty good bits.
Globalt38
Apr 16, 2013 Globalt38 rated it really liked it
Shelves: scifi
Read this book awhile ago - but remember being impressed! An interesting story that takes you through history from the Roman Empire to the future - a kind of combination historical fiction/time travel/sci-fi with a little Da Vinci code style world order conspiracy theory mixed in.
Beth
Jan 09, 2009 Beth rated it it was amazing
Loved this book about a journey through time and a not-so-impossible, in the the near future, way of becoming immortal.
Bethanne
Oct 26, 2015 Bethanne rated it did not like it
Terribly written. Plot didn't hang together, characters were poorly developed. Not enjoyable at all.
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Dr. Sean McMullen, author of the acclaimed cyberpunk/steampunk Greatwinter Trilogy, is one of Australia's top Science Fiction and Fantasy authors.

Winning over a dozen awards (including multiple Analog Readers Awarda and a Hugo Award finalist), his work is a mixture of romance, invention and adventure, populated by strange and dynamic characters. The settings for Sean's work range from the Roman E
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