Insurrectio Roma Nova V by Alison Morton

insurrectio

I think that one day I am going to have to compile my list of favorite, fictional, evil people.  When I do that Alison Morton’s Caius Tellus will certainly be on that list.  Insurrectio is a taut drama centering on Tellus’ political ambitions…ambitions that could undo centuries of a stable form of government and supplant it with Tellus as a tyrant. Caught in the crosshairs of his ambition is Aurelia Mitela and hoo-boy does he ever hold a grudge.  The story is full of the drama and tension that the author has made a trademark of the Roma Nova series and in spots steps them up even more.  So, if you’re looking for a political thriller this is sure to please.  Strong characters, a plot with lots of twists and turns, love, betrayal, pain and loss make this a 5 star winner.

 

Silver Tongue by AshleyRose Sullivan

silvertongue

When I am offered the chance to read and review a book it is usually of a different historical-fiction genre than this particular work.  I read mostly ancient Greek, Roman, etc and also a fair smattering of medieval works dealing with The Crusades or post-Roman Britain.  All of those categories are stories that do not take place anywhere near the U.S. where I live, so when given an opportunity to latch onto a work of historical-fiction pertaining to the history of my country, I gleefully grab on, even if, as in this case, it is an alternate history.  The year is 1839, the American Revolution had ended in the defeat of the rebels and the landscape is vastly different.  Britain, the victors now claim the entire eastern seaboard out to the Mississippi.  From the Mississippi to the Rockies is French; from the Rockies to the Pacific is Spanish.  This story involves three young friends, Claire, Phileas and Sam who grew up together in New France and who undertake a dangerous journey to track down some vicious killers.  The culture they grow up in includes many facets of the unexplainable, paranormal world and one of the friends harbors a terrible family curse and survives a brutal murder attempt on his life by a group of fanatics bent on ridding the world of any who have the same affliction.

The world the author creates is imaginative and is one that it is a believable consequence of Britain defeating the colonial rebellion. It is also imaginative in it’s use of the paranormal.  Claire’s ability to influence people plays an important part in the adventure the three friends embark on.  The characters, both the good guys and the bad guys, are wonderfully portrayed, the descriptions of the cultures, the landscape, the towns and countryside are delivered in a way that puts the reader in the midst of them.  There is plenty of drama, plot twists, and action.  I found it to be a refreshing look at a time in history that might have been and I look forward to more from the author.  4 stars and a hearty Hoover Book Reviews recommendation.

About the author:

Born and raised in Appalachia, AshleyRose Sullivan has a BS in Anthropology and an MFA in Creative Writing. She lives, writes and paints in Los Angeles with her husband and their many imaginary friends.

AshleyRose has moved 35 times. She’s been the oldest, the youngest, the middle and the only child. She has worked as a taxidermist’s assistant, a milkmaid, and a story time lady. She’s a power-lifter, a left-handed artist, and a right-handed knitter. Her library is organized by color.

Aurelia: Roma Nova IV by Alison Morton

aurelia

I can pinpoint when my fascination with ancient Rome began to the viewing of two movies, Ben Hur and Spartacus (yes dear readers, I am that old.)  Nowadays I get my Roman fix through the medium of historical fiction, and there is a lot of that to choose from.  However, the idea that there could still be a remnant of that ancient favorite still extant and thriving is the basis for this wonderful series by Alison Morton, Roma Nova.  A modern nation still bound by many of the old traditions and thriving in the 20th century is what she has not only crafted but done so in such a way as to make you think it was possible.  The fourth book, Aurelia, is a prequel to the first three and centers on the matriarch of the Mitella family and like her namesake, the mother of Gaius Julius Caesar, she is a formidable character.  In the first three books, she is an older woman but still full of wisdom and strength; in the fourth she is a young woman coming into her own as she finds herself thrust into an international plot to undermine the economic stability of the nation and a plot to undermine the matriarchal society that Roma Nova has become.  All of that plus the threat to her life and of that of her family makes for an intense drama built upon the imaginative characters the author has created.  The action and drama is relentless; the climatic conclusion is heart-stopping stuff – in other words; I enjoyed the first three books tremendously; the fourth even more so.  Kudos to the author and a well deserved 5 stars.

On Twitter @hooverbkreview

On Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/pages/Clash-of-Empires/1115407281808508

Successio by Alison Morton

successio

In this the third volume in the Roma-Nova series the author has done her best work to date giving the reader a taut thriller from start to finish.  Carina and Conrad are driven to the edge and beyond as a piece of Conrad’s history in the form of a daughter he did not know about shows up in full time revenge mode.  Revenge not only directed at the father who she feels abandoned her but also against anyone who he is close to including Carina, the Imperatrix and their children.  Nicola, the prodigal daughter from Hades, is an example of how the bad guy/girl should be written in any good novel.  Her perseverance, resourcefulness and the downright ruthlessness of her character are what good stories are made of.  By the same token, those same qualities are imbued once again in the heroine making her once again occasionally act outside the purview of law and order to safeguard her family. This is definitely a page turner of the highest order and while I really enjoyed the first two books, this one captivated me even more.  5 stars and a hearty recommendation.

Perfiditas by Alison Morton

The sequel to Inceptio continues the tale of Carina Mitela and the alternative history country of Roma-Nova.  Once again , the author has given us a fast paced page turner filled with wonderful characters and intriguing plots.  The main story line in the first half of Perfiditas concerns an attempted coup against the Matriarchal government of Roma-Nova and what Carina has to go through to thwart the treason.  Her development continues from Inceptio as she hones her skills and abilities as a member of an elite government para-military unit.

I must confess that I was concerned about the second half of the book as I couldn’t see how the author could maintain interest after the first half treason plot.  However, my concerns turned out to go for naught as plots and sub-plots emerge around the legal and political fallout of Carina’s activities in bringing the traitors to justice.  One bombshell of a plot twist had me stop reading for a moment so I could exhale and exclaim, ‘Oh my, I didn’t see that one coming.’    Kudos to the author and 4 stars for Perfiditas

Inceptio by Alison Morton

inceptio

Once again I have wandered off the ancient Roman historical fiction reservation although in this multifaceted tale there is an element of alternate history in regards to The Roman Empire.  Before the collapse of the Western Empire and the Ottoman victory in the East, a group of Romans comprising twelve of the oldest families leave Rome and setup a new country in the region between Italy and Austria, Roma-Nova and it has survived into the 21st century.

Karen/Carina/Cara/Pulcheria is living an unassuming life as an office cubicle worker when she is suddenly thrust into a maelstrom of danger and intrigue.  Her journey to a new land, a new culture, a new life is the basis for this wonderful book.  This story has elements of history, romance, international and political intrigue, rogue/shadowy covert agencies, a coming of age/coming to grips with the reality of who you are, a really nasty bad guy; a wealth of plots to keep you entertained.

The action is plentiful, the emotions are highly charged and the characters are full of life.  The journey of turning Karen into Carina is not an easy one but is done in a most entertaining fashion.  Of course she is helped along by a great supporting cast especially her nemesis, a member of a covert intelligence agency who plays a kind of counterpoint to Carina’s growth and finding herself; as his chief mission in life is to destroy her.  Some nice plot twists as the story progresses enhance the excitement.

It’s nice to occasionally wander away from the familiar and comfortable; even more so when the author produces an itinerary as fun to read as Inceptio.  I am looking forward to delving into the sequel, Perfiditas.  4 stars.

About

IMG_3906_sq

I’m Alison Morton and my first novel, INCEPTIO, an alternative history “what if” thriller, was published in March 2013 by SilverWood Books. It’s the story of a 25-year-old who crosses cultures, battles with an entangled emotional life and faces a relentless, vindictive pursuer.  On the way she finds out quite a lot about herself.

And, of course, like the best of novels there’s a twist in the tale…

So what makes my book gripping, page turning, a ‘good read’?
–  The ordinary person baffled and menaced by an unknown outside threat. Who is this guy who wants to destroy her?
–  An alternate timeline of history. How would a small colony surviving from antiquity change the world?
–  Universal human needs and goals – survival, security, love, self-knowledge, a place in the world and the urge to make things right
–  A personal quest

A lot more about INCEPTIO here and reviews here and here and the UK launch at Waterstones Tunbridge Wells here

Simple stuff, then ;-)

Up to now, most of my published writing output has been about France, property, business and translation. After selling my translation business at the end of summer 2009,  I started writing my first Roman novel.

I’ve always been a ‘wordsmith’. Translating professionally for much of my career has made me pretty nit-picky about words, grammar, punctuation, document cohesion, theme and structure.

Oh, the qualification stuff: BA in Modern Languages Studies (French, German and Economics), post-graduate Diploma in Translation (Business & Legal options), MA in History (with a distinction!) and Member of the Chartered Institute of Linguists.

I’m a contributor to the Alternate History Weekly Update a site I thoroughly recommend – it’s friendly and knowledgeable.

I joined the Romantic Novelists’ Association under the New Writers’ Scheme in 2010 and have found it supportive, collegiate and brimming with knowledge and experience. The July 2010 conference was not only good for the famed parties and networking opportunities, but above all for the wealth of high quality talks and workshops. Ditto the July 2011 one, but I added in quite a bit of Roman exploration while I was at Caerleon.

I completed a six day writing bootcamp in June 2010 at the Circle of Missé and a week’s Arvon Foundation course on popular fiction in October 2010 followed by taking part in the Festival of Writing at Yorkin March 2011 and the Historical Novel Society Conference in London in September 2012.

I moved to France in May 2010 but as all my friends and colleagues know, I’m always back and forth to the UK.