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HANNIBAL'S CHILDREN - John Maddox Roberts

Ace Books, 2002, $22.95/C$33.99, 359pp, hb, ISBN 0-441-00933-6

by Pat Maynard
-originally published in The Historical Novels Review Magazine of the Historical Novel Society (HNS)

"What if the past had been different? What if one war had changed the world?" Such is the focus of this novel wherein the author speculates how history might have been altered if Hannibal and his Carthaginians had defeated Rome rather than the other way around. And, considering the fact that Hannibal stands out as "one of history's handful of truly great generals", it certainly wasn't beyond the realm of possibility. Had young King Philip V of Macedon been willing to form the alliance that Hannibal was seeking with him in his efforts to defeat Rome, their combined strength might well have changed the course of history …and, thus, the world as we know it today. As the story opens, Philip V of Macedon has indeed formed an alliance with Hannibal and their combined armies so grossly outnumber Rome's that there's no question as to who will prevail, particularly under Hannibal's brilliant generalship. At this point, Hannibal gives the Romans three choices, either fight to the death, surrender unconditionally or pack up their belongings and move their people north out of Italy. The Romans end up choosing the last option although, in doing so, vow to return one day and take back their homeland. The question is, will they succeed in doing so?

This novel has a well developed plot, is loaded with plenty of well researched historical data and, for me, was an excellent read all the way around. Highly recommended.

~ Pat Maynard

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