The Aquiliad by Somtow Sucharitkul

The AquiliadThis whacky science fiction/fantasy/alternate history saga reminds me of the works of Abram Tertz/Andrei Siniavsky. This tale of Titus, a bumbling Roman general attempting to fulfill the expectations of Emperors Nero, Domitian and Trajan as governor of Lacotia (=Missouri)in an alternate universe where the Romans discovered steam and colonized America, is rich in absurdities and ironic twists. Follow Titus as he treks across the continent accompanied by Aquila, a Lakota elder, an Egyptian pedant armed with a Chinook-Egyptian dictionary, a Greek philosopher and assorted other characters, in search of China which Trajan is convinced lies on the other side of the Rocky Mountains. Little green men in flying saucers and a Sasquatch Talmudic scholar make up the cast of characters. Very readable, but also a work of considerable depth. The author is Thai and also enjoys a reputation as a composer of classical music.

Reviewed by Martha S.


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