This is the title of what promises to become a saga, to continue well beyond the life of its initial main characters.
Why this title? “Empire” means the Roman Empire, “steel” is evocative of its weapons.
Steel is a symbol of strength but also ductility and resilience. Furthermore, it symbolizes progress: without solid steel you cannot build complex machines.
As of now (February 2018) the Trilogy has been completed with the publishing of the third book, closing the first cycle.
Currently, the fourth and fifth are being revised and the sixth book is being drafted.
For now I’m referring to the Italian edition only, but I hope it will soon be published in English.
The story takes place, as accurately as possible, in Roman times under emperor Tiberius.
Therefore, from this point of view, it could be conceived as a historical novel, in which I take very little liberties.
However, the heart of the story, the introduction to the subsequent events and its core are made by the four main characters interactions with Imperial Rome, who by virtue experience a sudden accidental event, a small cataclysm triggered by a non-sentient cosmic entity.
As a matter of fact, the only but basic part of the novel preventing it from being a historical one is a topic that is very dear to many science fiction writers and others: time travelling.
Apart from this aspect, all settings and characters are – as much as possible – strictly respondent to historical reality, at least as long as the four time-travellers start interacting with the world around them and bring about, as one would expect, events and reactions that will lead to situations and occurrences that never actually took place.
There is plenty of careful and detailed descriptions of places and historical figures that the four characters meet, some of which will, in turn, become main characters of the story.
Of course, there are new encounters and friendship opportunities and some of the most peculiar.
The four characters integrate very well in Imperial Rome, which was known for its rather loose morals, euphemistically speaking.
The tale also unfolds through the birth of new and intriguing love stories.
Full of unexpected turning points, challenging the exhilarating foreshadowing plot twists.
I have conceived four people but mostly described them as a single entity, each of them having their own small obsessions, but they make up such a close-knit group that I decided not to choose any one in particular.
Four normal people, with individual skills and stories many readers might identify with. They have shared common reactions but nevertheless show great determination and courage and the awareness that there is no other way to survive but face the situation and the hurdles that they must overcome.
The story is mostly told through tight, intensive dialogues whose style may sound more fitting to a screenplay than a novel, therefore, I find it more appropriate to maintain its writing pace.
The characters’ feelings emerge clearly from what they say, more effectively – I trust – than through any accurate subjective description.