LEGIONS of fans of the Antinous-themed best-selling manga THERMAE ROMAE are in a frenzy about the third installment in English of this manga which has broken all records in Japan.
The hardcover book is NOW AVAILABLE and is selling faster than shampoo hats at a Japanese bath house.
Fans of the books by Mari Yamazaki and the cult hit live-action movie have followed the exploits of Ancient Roman architect and structural engineer Lucius Quintus Modestus.
Given the commission of a lifetime, he is so desperate to build the ultimate bath house for Emperor Hadrian that he travels through a time-vortex to modern-day Japan ... where he discovers 21st Century bath house technology.
In a tantalizing temporal paradox, the reader is never certain whether it was Lucius's Japanese innovations which inspired Ancient Roman bath house wizardry ...
... or whether modern Japanese bath houses are the result of Roman innovations introduced by Lucius from Japan back to Rome and which have returned to Japan ... in some sort of endless time-paradox loop.
In this latest installment, Lucius has just discovered an amazing Japanese chiropractic masseur whose talented hands possess the gift of restoring health in the most hopeless of cases ... when he hears that Emperor Hadrian is dying.
Sick with grief over the loss of his beloved Antinous, Hadrian has lost his spirit to live.
Hurrying through time and space back to Rome of the 2nd Century AD, Lucius arrives in time to construct a stupendous bath house at Hadrian's Naples Bay resort home at Baiae.
Even more magically, the Japanese masseur is also sucked through the bathtub plug-hole time vortex ... arriving at Baiae to give Hadrian the best massage of his life as he slips off into the Elysian Fields.
As with the previous books, all best-sellers in Japan, this manga is a delightful read.
It is witty, fast-paced, historically accurate and throws surprises at the reader ... such as the interaction between the time travelers and future emperors Antoninus Pius and Marcus Aurelius.
Despite being a boy, Marcus's innate wisdom enables him to see through barriers of time and space to help Antoninus Pius ensure that Hadrian's inevitable death is at least peaceful and comfortable and that architect Lucius (along with his faithful horse) lives happily ever after.
The 2012 movie version was a box-office blockbuster in Japan and has been a cult hit at film festivals around the world. Look for it on DVD: