This is one I read at least 30 years ago.It was a UK paperback. A similar premise to John Birminghams Axis of Time series...

What I remember is a USA navy ship somehow ended up back in Roman times amongst Arabian ships - they get involved with a floating brothel in a weatherbeaten hulk. The brothel is staffed and ran by women who used to be Roman slaves but escaped

To get protection from Arab gangsters the women form an alliance with the USA sailors

One point I remember is the USA captain demonstrated a pistol to the Arab warchiefs to scare them away. When they first board his vessel he warns all his men to keep their hands out their pockets. He says "these guys have never seen a pocket so don't give away we have concealed places in our clothes"

I also want to say the floating brothel madam was also from modern days and she'd fell through the wormhole or whatever years earlier. Then she used her business savvy to end up as the boss, however I'm not too sure about this memory

I think they eventually make it back to modern times but they bring several women with them.

  • So you answered my question here: scifi.stackexchange.com/questions/185621/… where I asked about a book that seemed similar to your question. Does The Ship That Sailed the Time Stream seem like it could be the answer to your question? Apr 15, 2018 at 21:55
  • I never found that much more detailed review of The Ship that sailed the Time Stream - thanks! You're correct, if I replace my "Arabs" with "Moors" then it does indeed fit very well. I would say my question here is now superfluous !
    – Danny Mc G
    Apr 16, 2018 at 2:53

2 Answers 2


This is almost Arrival, Book 1 of The Emperor's Men.

From GoodReads:

Shortly before the First World War, the German light cruiser Saarbrücken leaves the port of Wilhelmshaven to make its last big journey before being decommissioned. But near Portugal the old ship encounters a mysterious phenomenon, and the crew unexpectedly finds itself in the Mediterranean, 1500 years in the past, at a historical moment: It’s the year 378, the beginning of the end of the Western Roman Empire, the start of Völkerwanderung…the crew of the Saarbrücken decides that to survive they must make friends of the Romans. They had been the Kaiser’s men in the 20th century, and now, in the past, another emperor might need their services…

However, this is almost a trope: "Soldiers trooping back in time".

In Destroyermen and its series, we find "the crews of the destroyer USS Walker (DD-163) and the Japanese battlecruiser Amagi, in the early stages of the War in the Pacific during World War II, being transported to an alternate Earth. This Earth is relatively the same geographically as the one they left, but evolution took a different turn eons ago".

Feisty bowsprits are responsible for another, shorter, time displacement of the USS ALICE.

Meanwhile in Russia...

And here you can find several other examples.

  • 2
    I wasn't sure because this particular theme is almost a trope (I very much liked The Island in the Sea of Time by S. M. Stirling, and of course, even if not all the way to Augustus, there's the Ring of Fire series).
    – LSerni
    Apr 15, 2018 at 9:22
  • @L.Serni sorry but having taken a really good look at the Goodreads blurbs and reviews it's actually not the book I'm looking for
    – Danny Mc G
    Apr 15, 2018 at 14:14
  • @Danny3414 that's OK. I'll have another look; I appreciate this kind of novels, and I'm interested in the answer too :-)
    – LSerni
    Apr 15, 2018 at 18:00

This question I asked has been answered by myself in a different question posed by someone who saw mine!

R.A. Lafferty? Story about ship going back in time

It wasn't until I fully read the answer I gave that I realised it was the info I was searching for

No doubt one will be marked as 'duplicate'

  • 1
    I've voted to close yours as a duplicate of the other because the other has a better explanation and actually says what the answer is.
    – TheLethalCarrot
    Apr 17, 2018 at 10:16
  • No problems. I can't believe I gave an answer and didn't initially realise that what I had posted answered my question as well !
    – Danny Mc G
    Apr 17, 2018 at 11:59

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.