Envoy Extraordinary (novella)

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Envoy Extraordinary
Author William Golding
Country United Kingdom
Language English
Genre Novella
Publisher Faber & Faber
Publication date
1956
Media type Print (Hardback & Paperback)


Envoy Extraordinary is a 1956 novella by William Golding, published along with Clonk Clonk and The Scorpion God in the collection The Scorpion God.

Envoy Extraordinary is set in Ancient Rome, in and around the Emperor's court. The aged Emperor lives with his favourite grandson, the seventeen-year-old Mamillius. The true heir, Posthumus, is governor of a distant province, but is jealous of Mamillius.

The normal Roman world is shattered by the arrival of the inventor, Phanocles. He brings many inventions that are far ahead of his time, including the pressure cooker, steam engines and explosives.

However', the emperor realises that these inventions will destabilize the empire. At the end of the book, the emperor sends Phanocles away to be the ambassador to China. It can be concluded that this is why China, and not Rome, invented these wonderful things some time later.