'Cry Repbulic' concludes the trilogy started by 'Procurator,' in which ancient Rome never fell. Written by Kirk Mitchell, history as we know it was changed when Pontius Pilate spared Jesus Christ from the cross. Without its Martyr, Christianity never rose to take root in the Empire, eventually erroding its strength and causing its crumble.
Germanicus Agricola began the series as a Procurator. Through a failed coup, most of the Imperial family was killed, and the title of Emporer fell to Germanicus. Over the course of adventures in the East and in the New World, Germanicus attempted to solidify his power....only so he could give it all away. His goal, from the beginning of his reign, has been to restore Rome to a Republic.
However, the very individuals that seek to gain the most from this arrangement, the Senators, stand the most firmly in his way. They have grown use to living a privileged lifestyle; the rise of a Republic would make them have to work. They help plot Germanicus' overthrow with Nepos, a high ranking Emporer's aide. Nepos conspires with Claudia, the mother of Germanicus' adopted son, to assassinate Germanicus and assume 'the Purple'--the rank of Emporer.
Germanicus manages to escape with the aide of his most loyal bodyguard, the German Rolf, and another advisor from the Far East, Tora.
The most intriguing part of these novels is to watch the Rome that never fell attempt to weave modern technology into the Empire. For the most part, the Empire has been resistant. Electric power is in its infancy. Gunpowder and firearms are generations behind modern day warfare. The automobile is practically nonexistant. The first airplane of the series is seen in the last novel. The Romans may have been stubborn enough to conquer the known world, but that same stubborness appears to have prevented the world from evolving much.
'Cry Republic,' like its predecessors, is steeped in theological mystery. The mystery of Christ, who appears to have moved onwards towards China after his pardon, is touched on throughout the series. The Jews still make their home in Isreal. Germanicus is somewhat torn between the Roman Gods of his homeland and the intriguing faith he discovers as he flees.
My greatest complaint with this novel, and the series for that matter, is that it is often difficult to determine where things are happening. Mitchell uses a lot of latin names for locations that are not obvious, unless of course you have studied latin. The same problem holds true for some technological innovations. After enough reading, even the casual reader can figure out what is meant. However, this leads to frustration and often a plodding story line.
That being said, this is still an excellent alternative history novel. It gets away from the Civil War and World War II, both favorites of most alternative history authors, and is compelling. I highly recommend this series to alternative history fans, Roman history buff, and those interested in theological fiction.