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Fireball (novel)

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Wikipedia article

'Fireball' is the first book in the Fireball Trilogy by John Christopher, published in 1981, exploring the adventures of two cousins when they are suddenly transported into an alternative history Earth through a mysterious fireball.

Plot synopsis

Simon, a Briton, met his cousin Brad, an American, but they did not get along. Simon found out that unfortunately Brad was not only conceited, but knowledgeable enough to justify his conceit.

The two boys were drawn into a mysterious glowing ball which instantly transported them - or so it seemed - more than a thousand years back in history.

Eventually, they realised that they had travelled not to the past but to an alternative Earth, one in which the Romans had won an important battle and as a result kept the status quo - the Roman Empire. The stability led to stagnation of technological development as there was no motivation for change.

The boys were separated to be sold as slaves. Brad, though, was able to make use of his knowledge of Latin to get a closet Christian to purchase his freedom. It turned out that Christianity never became the State Religion. The religion was allowed, but it was still a small minority religion. By evidence of his modern wrist-watch, Brad convinced the Pope they came from a different and more technologically advanced world.

The opportunistic Brad offered to help the Pope raise an army to overthrow the Roman authorities, ostensibly to cease oppression of the Christians, but mainly, in return for power, status and wealth for the cousins to rise in the new realms.

Simon went along because he wanted to free the slaves and promote equal status for non-Romans, and because he fell in love with a high born girl.

Brad introduced to the Christian armed forces the stirrup and the longbow, which were never invented in that realm. The Christian forces was victorious and the Pope entered Rome riding on a donkey.

However, Simon was quickly disillusioned when the new Church authorities began forcing all people to convert or face death by the pendulum.

Together with Bos, a gladiator, and the staunch pagan, Curtius, both formerly on the side of the rebellion, they sailed off on a ship towards the New World.

Later volumes

The novel was followed by two volumes in the trilogy, 'New Found Land' (1983) and 'Dragon Dance' (1986)

Category:1981 novels

Category:British young adult novels

Category:British alternative history novels

Category:Works published under a pseudonym

Category:Novels by Samuel Youd

Category:Alternative history novels set in Ancient Rome

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