Published by Time Corp in the year 2163, this guidebook contains all the vital information needed for the intrepid traveler wishing to go back 2,100 years and partake of gladiatorial matches, Roman legions battling barbarian hordes, and a fight to the death between two captive armies at the Circus Maximus.
Depending on which Time Corp package is chosen, one can watch Cicero’s head get chopped off and displayed in the Forum or enjoy a weekend retreat in Pompeii before seeing it incinerated by a volcano. Accommodations are rated on availability of such amenities as horse parking and bales of hay for donkeys. Crassus, Hannibal, and Spartacus are recommended as interesting lunch companions. The best vantage points for witnessing Julius Caesar’s assassination are cited. There is practical advice on how to avoid being poisoned, beheaded, or torn apart by an angry mob. Factual information embedded in the jokey fictional narrative, often in sidebars, offers some interesting insights into the culture, economics, fashion, history, law, and politics of ancient Rome, but most of the information imparted tends toward the sensational. Among the historical figures introduced are Julius Caesar, Cleopatra, Mark Antony, and Pompey. Amplifying the conceit are ratings pages for the various attractions and accommodations; the Vesuvius Inn does not accept food for barter but does accept plunder, while reviewers of the Coliseum complain of insufficient violence.
An entertaining introduction to ancient Rome with kid-friendly humor that may make those convinced that history is boring reconsider. (bibliography) (Fiction. 8-12)