Athene’s Prophecy by Ian Miller
Only alien help can save humanity from being exterminated, but thanks to relativity, the request for help must start through a young Roman soldier, Gaius Claudius Scaevola, who must be abducted by a passing alien ship. To be taken to the right place the abduction must violate the major law against interfering in the development of emerging societies. Accordingly, he has to do three things: prove the Earth goes around the Sun, design a workable steam engine, and become a significant military strategist. Gaius is ordered by Tiberius to earn an agnomen based on what he will learn from Timothy on Rhodes, and it is on Rhodes that Gaius receives his prophecy and instructions from Pallas Athene. While Gaius does not believe in Gods, parts of the prophecy gradually come to pass.
All does not go well. Timothy proves to him the Earth cannot go around the Sun, Tiberius dies and Caligulae abolishes his military appointment, then in Alexandria, when Gaius sees the toy steam engine, he knows he cannot build it bigger. Then, in the anti-Jewish riots, a further part of the prophecy comes to pass, and when he does what he should, Caligulae appoints him as Tribunis Laticlavius in the Fulminata, where he becomes involved in the emerging Christianity, a battle against Parthians, and finally, the crisis at the Temple in Jerusalem. Besides having three near-impossible tasks, he must also survive the erratic Imperium of Caligulae. Besides being as historically accurate as I can make it, where relevant, the story also involves how to do science. You, the reader, know the answer, but could you prove the Earth goes around the Sun with what was known then?
Ian Miller is a semi-retired scientist who is married and lives in Lower Hutt, New Zealand. He took first class honours in chemistry, followed by a PhD from the University of Canterbury, and despite most of his working life being in the private sector his subsequent scientific work has led to about 100 peer-reviewed scientific papers, mainly on the structures of seaweed polysaccharides, energy from wastes and biomass, photochemistry, and theoretical science. He has also written about 35 other general scientific articles, and was on the Editorial Board of Botanica Marina between about 1998-2008. He has owned Carina Chemical Laboratories Ltd, a New Zealand private research company since 1986, and during this period he has embarked on setting up or helping new businesses based on chemistry, including the manufacture and uses of pyromellitates (a cursed venture) seaweed processing, the development of Nemidon gels (www.nemidon.co.nz) and fuels through hydrothermal processing.
As result of a student bet, he completed one work of fiction, which quite rightly at first did not succeed, and when subsequently revised was unlucky, but now in later life he has returned to writing fiction. In semi-retirement he is now self-publishing ebooks, including scientific ones to present theoretical work that is otherwise not published, or futuristic science fiction.