“Athene’s Prophecy” by Ian J. Miller

cover_Athene's ProphecyBook 1 of trilogy: Gaius Claudius Scaevola

Ian J Miller has a creditable base on which his works sit comfortably –  BSc (Hons 1), PhD; a hundred scientific papers, a “life-long fascination with theories in physical sciences”.

Much of the early reading covers the main character’s preparatory learning, a challenge worth taking on for both Gaius and readers alike.

The titular prophecy is delivered to young Gaius and sets the plot for all three books of the trilogy. Gaius is sent for training and education to prepare him for a military position. The first chapters of this period of his life will appeal greatly to those with a scholarly interest in the discussion of philosophies of the ancient Greeks, and/or the military strategies of the ancient Roman armies.

In chapter twenty (by now the tale is more interesting, better driven) he sees the mechanical toy Athene had foreseen. He is challenged to think and analyse, and military gaming develops his preparedness for the expected position–which he finally gains in chapter twenty-six.

The pace really picks up, and Gaius proves himself more than capable of a leading military role, while coming up against more of Athene’s predictions. The more realistic ones, anyway. I found I was fully engaged in the tale, and felt the ending fell flat almost. Perhaps if I’d been able to instantly pick up at book 2, I may have been able to get over it.

Apparently books two and three veer off into science fiction and the futuristic worlds–with aliens taking Gaius with them. Given the irritating over use of ‘that’ where unnecessary, the errors of punctuation, I’ll not bother tagging along for future rides.