The Path of Chaos



by Tom Haward

GENRE:   Dystopian Alternate History

It is the year 2030, and the Roman Empire never fell. Emperor Nero II rules half the world, but half the world is not enough for the unpredictable Emperor.

Britannia is a Roman outpost. London Bridge is lined with crucified bodies. The streets are patrolled by soldiers in high-speed, horseless chariots. Nero views Britannia as a vital but fractious asset for his planned invasion of the Republic of Indigenous America.

Boatman King was born out of rage. A rage that propels him to try and destroy the Empire. He’s not alone: he leads clandestine rebels fighting to drive the Empire from Britannia. These rebels are his weapon, which he hopes will obliterate Nero and the entire Empire.

Rebellion, though, comes at a steep price. Olivia, Boatman’s wife, is caught and crucified on London Bridge by Nero’s son, Maximus, who is intent on flushing Boatman from hiding.

Instead, Maximus draws Maverick ‘The Beast’ Kirabo, Boatman’s fearsome second-in-command, a champion gladiator who now fights for Rome’s dismay, not their entertainment.

Read an Excerpt:

“Soldier Gallus and Soldier Marius, I need you to accompany me to my home.” Both soldiers saluted and followed Faust to his chariot. Faust climbed on and sat down at the rear. Gallus remained standing whilst Marius fired the engine. The bulletproof glass roof closed over the soldiers’ heads and sealed the chariot. They sped off away from London Bridge going south to Augustus Park where Faust’s house was situated. 

Within fifteen minutes Faust was striding through his front door, gun drawn and Gallus and Marius flanking. The town house had three floors, six bedrooms in total and an airy, open-plan ground floor. Each soldier took a floor and searched. They quickly cleared the rooms, finding no-one present and nothing out of the ordinary to report. 

They convened in the kitchen, and Faust holstered his gun. 

“Maybe we beat them to it?” said Marius.

Faust grunted and didn’t bother to respond. He knew something wasn’t right in the house but could quite place it. He needed to walk through and check it off. He’d only searched the ground floor but something didn’t make sense. 

“I need you both to stand guard outside. Anyone so much as approaches the house suspiciously I want you to shoot them. If anyone is allowed access to the house without my permission, I will crucify you both upside down. Understand?”

Both men nodded and saluted and left the house to take sentry out the front. 

About the Author:

Tom was born in Essex and at 4 months old he and his identical twin were adopted into an oyster farming family. Tom now runs the business as generation eight of Haward oyster farmers.  He has a fiancĂ©e, baby daughter and a cockapoo.

Tom has an MA in Creative Writing and has loved telling stories since he was a child, whether verbally or through prose.

The Path of Chaos is his debut novel. He is also working on a six episode comedy screenplay and tweets passionately about his family’s industry and the challenges it faces.

Q&A With the Author: 

What did you enjoy most about writing this book? I loved the excitement of creating a new world and exploring the nuances of writing a world which feels familiar and yet alien because of its dystopian vibe. Mixing the ancient of Roman times of crucifixions and chariots and then combining those elements with the modern made it a real joy to write. I was most excited about describing a chariot that had a combustion engine and bullet proof glass. I’m intrigued as to how readers would visualise it.

Do you have any other books you are working on that you can tell us about? My current project is a sequel to The Path of Chaos, which directly follows on. I’m really enjoying writing it as it’s an opportunity to not only expand the world I have created, but also give much greater depth to my characters. Like it is for us all in real life, there are so many subtle elements which make us who we are and being able to explore that with my characters is part of what makes being a writer to fulfilling. 

Can you tell us about what you have planned for the future? I have a few things I’m working on and excited about. I’m writing a sitcom screenplay, which is a six episode series. I also put together a pitch for The Path of Chaos to be adapted into a mini series. That’s currently being looked at by some production companies in Hollywood, which is mind blowing. Even if no-one picks it up to adapt it, it’s amazing Hollywood is even considering it enough to have it on their desks.

How long have you been writing?  I remember when I was twelve and was writing lots of short stories and my English teacher commenting that my imagination was rather vivid. I have always been a writer, but my desire to see writing as a vocation started twenty years ago when I graduated from university. Ever since then I have been writing constantly. In 2016 I studied a Masters in Creative Writing and that was where I found my idea for The Path of Chaos and it also honed my skill even more which, I believe, enabled me to write something that would catch the eye of my publisher. 

Anything more you would like to say to your readers and fans? Books are something very intimate when you read them, as you’re sharing in something that’s very personal to the author, so it’s humbling that anyone would read it. And love it, hate it or be indifferent to it, it’s a real honour to know people have taken the time to read what I’ve written.


Tom Haward will be awarding a $10 Amazon/BN GC to a randomly drawn winner.


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