Warlords of Utopia was the fourth novel in the Faction Paradox series.
Publisher's summary[edit | edit source]
Marcus Americanius Scriptor's memoirs of the war between every parallel universe where Rome never fell and every parallel universe where Hitler won the Second World War have long been regarded as the definitive account of that turbulent time.
Scriptor's life story, from his early life among the housesteads of an obscure province to his role in the ultimate confrontation with Nazism, was intimately connected with the major political and social developments of his time. His highly personal record of events was praised even in his own lifetime for its honesty and intimacy, as well as for capturing the scale of a war that consumed thousands of worlds.
This exciting new translation of a classic work of military history is accessible to new readers and existing students of the War alike.
Plot[edit | edit source]
Part One: The Face of History[edit | edit source]
Marcus Americanius Scriptor was the first born son to the governor of the American continent on a world where Rome has conquered the entire planet. At twelve he completed a history of the American continent, before being sent to military academy in Britannia at thirteen. At eighteen, still in the military, The Emperor of Rome read Marcus' history and remarked that it was a detailed work, though not good enough to rank among the top class of historians. Upon a short letter explaining that it was written at the age of twelve, Marcus was commissioned to write more historical work for the Emperor and the Emperor's court, including a comprehensive history of the Roman forum.
In the course of his work into this history, after it was completed and published, two things happened. The first, his meeting and marriage to Angela Scriptor, and the second, him hearing about an old man who had materialized years earlier on the lowest levels of the forum, wearing foreign clothes and speaking an unknown language, before being grabbed by guards and forcibly removed. A strange item of jewelry was taken from him and he was sent to a hospice in the Alps.
Marcus visited the old man and, intrigued, tracked down the piece of jewelry, a bracelet. Upon returning to the hospice, he now found he was able to communicate clearly with the old man, where before it was touch and go. He and the old man fought over the bracelet before being transported to a different version of Rome, meeting guards there who had "shiners", and finding the man in a pool of his own blood, and then finding himself back on his own world.
Marcus discussed the issue of the other Rome with his brother, father, wife and her father, and decided to travel there once more. This time, he went with money, and attempted to blend in, purchasing books on world history, which diverged from theirs in part due to plague, and some of the shiners, and noticing that this world had other technology not available in his, such as helicopters. Using the purchased shiner, Marcus and his family were able to replicate the internal workings, but not make it function, and were unable to easily acquire helicopters. As such, they realized that it was time to approach this diplomatically and involve the Emperor.
The Emperor was enthused at the idea of trading with other Romes, though under the utmost secrecy, and so Marcus set out to contact the Emperor of this other Rome. Upon meeting the the Emperor of this second Rome, Marcus learned that the old man had died, and his body had been incinerated. Trade deals were struck, gold, medicinal herbs and writings in exchange for the first few helicopters and shiner transmitters, and an agreement was signed between Emperors that no Emperor was to ever have authority over another. Soon Marcus' world was transformed by the new technology introduced.
Marcus continued to travel and experiment with the bracelet, finding four "directions" in which it could travel. He also began to number the worlds he found, and noted the distinctions between them, Roma II having the shiners and the plague, Roma III being influenced by the Serics, Roma IV having certain religious disputes, and so on. Eventually, they discovered Roma CLII, a world utterly ravaged by natural disasters.
While exploring this world, a creature attacks Marcus, demanding the bracelet, and explaining that the original owner was one of thirteen who attempted to "remove themselves from the board". The goal of the creature is to track every last one of them down and kill them, the old man being the eighth. Boasting about how it's immune to rituals, sigils, temporal attacks, being bound inside a black hole, it's promptly killed with a sword, and Marcus recovers seven other bracelets.
With this newfound wealth of interdimensional technology, more of Marcus' close friends and allies are able to be involved in the exploration of other Romes as well, though this is still a closely kept secret. However, the Emperor of Roma I had become frustrated by the Americanius family's continual rise in wealth, even as he prospered, allies close to him complaining about their influence and attempting to slow down their growth and limit their wealth as much as they could.
This lead to the first usage of the bracelets offensively, acquiring private documents of the Americanius family's enemies to give to the press, blackmailing key figures, or even assassinations. Eventually the Emperor decided to reveal the secret of their wealth to the public, the existence of other earths and the bracelets. However, the general populace did not care, though this announcement did cause social change, as people began to question their society and consider the societies of other Romes.
Around this time, Marcus was in the Londinium of Roma DCX, "the edge of creation", a place where no further Romes existed from. He contemplated this fact, and how there might be more worlds out there, instead of jumping from point to point though, jumping across a "great divide". The ground shook beneath him and he found himself in a new world, with screaming filling the air. He finds a shiner, turns it on, and plays it.
"We shall defend our Island, whatever the cost may be, we shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight in the fields and in the streets, we shall fight in the hills; we shall never surrender."
Part Two: Brennt London![edit | edit source]
Marcus makes the inference at first that the invaders are Rome, come to bring civilization to this war-torn landscape. Marcus attempts to travel, leaving this "benighted world", and finds himself in yet another war torn world. And another. And another. And another. In this last world, one less impacted by the war, with people walking around, he walks into the street and is promptly hit by a vehicle. Upon waking up, he finds himself in a hospital, being tended to by a woman who looks exactly the same as his wife.
He quickly discovers that Rome is not the invading force, but instead the Germans, and began to get to know this second Angela. Marcus confesses to Angela and her father that he comes from a different world as the Germans attack London. The group are surrounded by German soldiers, and Marcus is wounded, forcing him to transport himself and Angela across the great divide.
Marcus awakes to find Quintus Saxus standing over him, who informs him that his family has been told of his being discovered, as Angela begins to acclimate to the discovery of other worlds, and the fact that he's married to another version of her. The two travel back to Roma I, where Angela heads to the Americanius family estate, and Marcus to brief the Emperor.
The Emperor feels that knowledge of worlds in which Rome fell would prove destabilizing to the status quo, and so forbids discussion of the discovery, with all evidence destroyed. Marcus pretends to do so, but has no interest in actually complying with his wishes on this front. The two Angelas get along quite well, and the second Angela slots in somewhat naturally to life the first Angela already had, with a father and children who accept her readily.
Marcus talked to his group of allies who also used bracelets and came up with a plan on how to properly act against Germania, involving universe hopping sabotage, searching for Germania I, and more general attempts to understand the society of the worlds across the great divide. After deploying the same sabotage technique multiple times across different worlds, the group was ambushed by German soldiers. They quickly infer the possibility that world traveling is a capability possessed by the Germans.
Marcus travels from world to world, moving towards Berlin, intercepting shiner transmissions, and eventually comes to Germania LXVIII, where he meets the Hitler of that world, deposed and beaten by children on the street as a beggar. He tells his tale of how another Hitler came in one night and ousted him from power, with policies antithetical in some ways to ones he had held prior. This Hitler also mentioned Herr Abschrift, and gave a description that matched one of the soldiers that Marcus had encountered at the earlier ambush, having pointed teeth.
Marcus arrives in Berlin I and is immediately surrounded by troops. Herr Abschrift appeared and destroyed the bracelet, preventing him from escaping to another world. He then takes Marcus into the hall of the Nazi Senate to show him the futility of his quest. Inside are nearly a thousand Hitlers, all reporting on the state of the war, all united in advancing the Greater German Reich.
Part Three: Rome Wasn't Built in a Day[edit | edit source]
A history of the next ten years of the Greater German Reich is recited. How they used different battle tactics depending on the earth, how August Hitler was born on only Germania I, how the Germans turned their ambition towards the moon, and so on. Eventually they drew up plans to invade Roma DCX, using more generalized interdimensional transport than the bracelets. Within ten days they conquered this first Rome.
At this point, sixteen years had passed for Marcus, who began his confinement by being tortured for information by the Germans, and then sought out as a source of company by Abschrift, learning from this some small minutiae of the outside world. Abschrift mentions to Marcus that he comes from the true earth, not one of these pale imitations, and works for House Mirraflex.
Meanwhile, the Emperor of Roma I was dying, leading to a minor succession crisis. Devices that allowed you to communicate between worlds were captured from the Germans and replicated, and the very beginnings of a counter insurgency strategy were discussed. Ultimately the Emperor's son comes out on top, and allows for discussion of the divide. Some of those with bracelets traveled to Roma XIII, after seeing that a traveler had appeared there.
In Roma XIII they met a man who called himself Consobrinus Patruelis, a traveler between worlds who came from the same place as where the bracelets were forged. Upon conversing with him, they understood at a very base level his form of interdimensional travel, praying to the gods. The group returned to Roma I and Consobrinus Patruelis advised on building a temple to the goddess of time which, with the right sacrifices, could carry craft between worlds. A plan was decided on, to attack the Germania bordering Roma DCX and cut the Germans off from reinforcements while establishing a beachhead.
Around this time, Marcus was transported from his holding cell to this Germania, being taken by vehicle to Windsor Castle, before his transportation was attacked by a group of Roman soldiers on a routine scouting mission who rescued him. Upon his liberation, they informed him of the situation, and suggested he go to whatever meeting he was being taken to as a spy, while giving him a portable shiner.
Marcus heads to a meeting of various German officers and multiple Hitlers, as well as August Hitler. As a speech was being given proclaiming the superiority of the Greater German Reich, the Roman Legion moved in their forces and began to attack London. However, the Germans were prepared for this, and detonated a pyrobolus atomicus, wiping out most of the Roman forces, save a few that had been dispatched to Windsor. These, however, liberated the castle and Marcus yet again, and killed a Hitler, even as August escaped.
Upon returning to Roma I, Marcus consulted with the new Emperor, and offered a new strategy for the campaign against Germania. The Nazis were a recent occurrence in those worlds, but in all of their history they venerated the Romans, and the ground people of France, Britain, America, and so on, could be spurred to stand up to the Germans if it was demonstrated that it was possible. Five Roman Emperors were summoned to Roma I, and pooled their resources together to assemble a larger fighting force still, over a hundred legions to wage war against the Greater German Reich.
At once, strikes took place all across Germania, broadcasting the killing of soldiers to the rest of the world across multiple worlds where they struck, four worlds having large scale invasions that caused insurgencies. Five Hitlers fell, through battle or assassination, and twelve feints against crucial military targets kept responses uncoordinated. The Romans worked with local generals to begin to fight back against the Germans on multiple earths, establishing their in field headquarters on Germania V. Marcus worked with the liberated worlds, bringing them under the banner of the Greater Roman Empire (to be administrated by the Emperor of Roma I), while his brother coordinated military activities.
The Council of Hitlers agreed that August Hitler would be the heir of all of them, and as the last Hitler died, he would assume the mantle of Fuhrer for all of Germania. Posters went up in every world of him, and the propaganda was such that people recalled hearing of him even prior, even though they had not. As the Council convened to vote this resolution through, the chamber filled with cyanide gas, killing them all, immediately elevating August Hitler to the rank of his father, and the sole leader of the Greater German Reich.
Marcus finally met with Consobrinus Patruelis, and due to concerns about the pyrobolus atomicus, a "wall" was built across the great divide, so that none could pass, with a single gate held at Roma DCX. But ten years after the campaigns began, Marcus' brother died, though at his deathbed insisted that Marcus take over the military campaign and kill August Hitler personally.
The Roman Legions pressed ever onward, into Germania I, and crossed the Rhine into the Fatherland. Moving on Berlin, they take the city, but find that Herr Abschrift and August Hitler have fled, leaving the world behind. Abschrift was caught at the gateway between Roma and Germania a month later, and mentioned that he had called his employers, who would destroy everything. He asked to be taken to the gate so he could close it off, saving the people on the other side of the barrier.
Before he can do this, however, a god appears. He orders Abschrift to delete the timelines on the other side of the barrier, using a metal disc, and he will delete the cluster on this side. Marcus attacks, kills Abschrift, and takes the disc. After conversation on the merits of these actions, the god causes two dozen new Abschrifts to rise, but Marcus successfully holds them off until the gateway is sealed by the Romans on the other side.
The god is somewhat disappointed in this outcome, and is willing to continue his plan to erase Germania, but when it is pointed out to him the similarities between his plan and the actions of the Nazis, he relented, and instead allowed them to survive, on the condition that Marcus would be the only traveler between worlds, and he would actively hunt down other travelers as an agent of the gods.
Epilogus[edit | edit source]
August Hitler was moved to the True Earth, and so Marcus decided to track him down as revenge. Eventually, he was found in the Amazon, working online with Neo-Nazi groups. Marcus quickly dispatches him before forwarding all the information he finds to the authorities. And at long last, Marcus writes down his life's tale in some notebooks he finds, taking solace in the action, before leaving, knowing that he cannot go home.
Characters[edit | edit source]
- Marcus Americanius Scriptor
- Consobrinus Patreulis
- Herr Abschrift
- Angela Scriptor
- Quintus Saxus
- Adolf Hitler
- August Hitler
- A creature
- An old man
References[edit | edit source]
- Consobrinus Patruelis is a representative of Partes Paradoxum.
- Alternate "Germania" timelines included: Germania I, Germania V, Germania XII, Germania LI, Germania LXVIII, Germania LD, and Germania (beta alpha one five).
- Alternate "Roma" timelines included: Roma I, Roma II, Roma III, Roma IV, Roma V, Roma VI, Roma VII, Roma VIII, Roma XI, Roma XIII, Roma XX, Roma XXXI, Roma LXIX, Roma CLI, Roma CLII, Roma DI, Roma DC, and Roma DCXXI.
- A library in Germania V has Greatness and Decline of Rome, The Monuments of Ancient Rome, The Pagan Background of Early Christianity, Gothic Art, The Dark Ages, The Black Death and the Peasant's Revolt, Heresies of the Later Middle Ages, Religious Poverty and the Profit Economy, an encyclopaedia, and some of the work of Edward Gibbon.
Notes[edit | edit source]
- Mad Norwegian Press published a prologue to Warlords of Utopia on their website.
- Author Lance Parkin had the idea for the book around 1998, and when BBC Books was looking for alternate universe stories, he pitched it as an Eighth Doctor novel. In that original pitch, Sabbath had organised a war between his two perfect views of what society should look like - classical Rome or fascism - to reassemble an optimised history of Earth. The Doctor would then have to assemble a fighting force to resist both of them and take the fight to Sabbath. Parkin intended the dimensional bridges in that pitch to be based off of Dalek time corridors.
- The novel's references and use of dimensional corridors strongly implies it is a precursor to Doctor Who and the Iron Legion. It contains references to alternate Romes from other stories, as well, including Philip K. Dick's The Man in the High Castle and Robert Harris's Fatherland.
- When Marcus and Angela watch a boxing match between Cassius Marcellus Argilla and his counterpart from Germania V, Marcus remarks, "Volitat par papilio et icet par apis." This is a reference to Muhammed Ali's iconic quote, "Float like a butterfly, sting like a bee."
Continuity[edit | edit source]
- Abschrift is a Cwej. (PROSE: The Book of the War) He tells Scriptor that he originates from the "True Earth". (PROSE: Original Sin)
- Roma D is home to fearsome clockwork men who have formed the "Ferrum Legion". (COMIC: Doctor Who and the Iron Legion)
[edit | edit source]
- Official Warlords of Utopia page at Mad Norwegian Press
- Warlords of Utopia at the Faction Paradox wiki
- The Discontinuity Guide to: Warlords of Utopia at The Whoniverse
Footnotes[edit | edit source]
- Lance Parkin, Time, Unincorporated: 1, Mad Norwegian Press