“A must-read for fans of Manda Scott and Kate Mosse” – Lisa Redmond, Madwoman in the Attic blog
INCEPTIO plunges you into a 21st century Roman world. Apart from kidnapping, heartache and a close encounter with Latin grammar, New Yorker Karen Brown must contend with a fascinating, but arrogant, Praetorian special forces officer.
And a crazy killer wants to terminate her for a very personal reason.
Karen flees to her dead mother’s homeland, Roma Nova, the last remnant of the Roman Empire. Founded sixteen hundred years ago by Roman exiles and now ruled by women, it gives Karen safety, a lover and a ready-made family – but at a price.
Joining a law enforcement service, Karen focuses on staying alive, but is determined to find out why the killer persists in hunting her.
Part action adventure, part military thriller, laced with romance and coming of age, this is Roman fiction brought into the 21st century through the lens of alternative history.
“The Hunger Games meets Lindsey Davis’s Roman detective Falco.”
There’s also a touch of Princess Diaries (which gets a tongue-in-cheek mention in the book – much to my delight), and I did feel a hint of Terminator’s Sarah Connor peering over my shoulder at times! Karen Brown/Carina Mitela is not to be trifled with!
It’s my turn today on the Blog Tour for Inceptio (which takes place in the early 21st century), which cannot be boxed into any one genre – if anything, it’s as the author tells us in her Historical Note: an ‘alternative history story’. It is a unique, and extremely clever concept which can only be conceived and accomplished by one who is skilled and highly knowledgeable in both their craft and subject matter, which Alison Morton clearly is (read all about her further on). Her knowledge of history (specifically Roman history) is astounding, and she puts it to excellent use.
We first meet the unassuming Karen Brown at her weekend job as a volunteer in New York’s Kew Park – you read that right. This is a very different New York to the one we know. In fact, the USA is now the EUS – the Eastern United States. After inadvertently falling foul of the powers that be, Karen finds herself on a watchlist. Unbeknown to her though, she’s also being watched by people who have her best interests at heart and who are about to swoop in and transform her life into something she hadn’t even imagined in her wildest fantasies!
Enter the world of Roma Nova … a modern-day, Latin-speaking matriarchy that the author has created so realistically that I’m almost convinced it does exist somewhere other than in these pages! It sounds like it could be olden day Rome, but make no mistake – they have the most modern, high powered technology and they use it to the best of their ability, especially when it comes to protecting themselves. They’ve learned from history, seen other empires fall and they don’t intend for that to happen to them.
As Karen becomes part of Roma Nova, she realises she has a lot (like, A LOT) to learn – first off, she can’t speak Latin!! But she adapts well, and quickly becomes an accepted and much-loved addition to her grandmother’s (First Lady of Roma Nova) household.
But not everyone is thrilled at Karen leaving the EUS. Dark forces have followed her to her new haven with the most evil of plans. Supposedly sent by national security and political factions but with more personal intentions on his mind, a malicious criminal mind will stop at nothing to bring down the Mitela household.
With a plot that doesn’t let up, and characters who are well rounded, I found that it was Roma Nova itself that stood out for me as the life-force of this semi-fictionalised visualisation of an empire that wasn’t destroyed but was resurrected by strong female trailblazers who lead their nation with determination, vigour and sheer will.
Morton cleverly weaves magic around existing landmarks and well-known celebratory festivals so that they are recognisable, but somehow not quite as they are in their current manifestation – something’s just a bit ‘off-kilter’. In South Africa we have an expression that perfectly describes this phenomenon: ‘Same, same … but different’!
I give this 4 stars. It’s well worth reading and I look forward to reading the rest of the books in this series. It should be noted that these books were first released in 2013 – but as with all good things, they should be shared – and so, they have recently been relaunched.
About the author:
Alison Morton writes the Roma Nova thriller series featuring modern Praetorian heroines. This springs from a deep love of Roman history, six years’ military service and a life of reading crime, adventure and thriller fiction.
All six full-length novels have received the BRAG Medallion. SUCCESSIO, AURELIA and INSURRECTIO were selected as Historical Novel Society’s Indie Editor’s Choices. AURELIA was a finalist in the 2016 HNS Indie Award. SUCCESSIO featured as Editor’s Choice in The Bookseller.
A ‘Roman nut’ since age 11, Alison has misspent decades clambering over Roman sites throughout Europe. She holds an MA in History, blogs about Romans, social media and writing. Oh, and she gives talks.
She continues writing, cultivates a Roman herb garden and drinks wine in France with her husband. To get the latest news, subscribe to her free newsletter https://alison-morton.com/newsletter/
Twitter : @alison_morton
Author Page on Facebook
Thank you so much for Anne Cater of Random Things for inviting me along on this fantastic journey! Take a look at what other bloggers on the tour are saying about Inceptio:
Wow! Thank you, Janice, for a terrific and detailed review. You really ‘get’ Roma Nova. More than that, I’m delighted you enjoyed reading INCEPTIO. This is my number one objective – to give readers a worthwhile escape for a few hours.
It’s a pleasure Alison! Thank you for the opportunity and for now getting me hooked on the whole concept of alternative history stories! I just love the whole idea!
I’ll be continuing with the series – I’ve released one a year, the latest in October 2018 and a new one is in draft. As they say, ‘I’ll be back’. 😉
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I became interested in Roma Nova when I read Alison’s short story in the compilation volume, “1066 Turned Upside Down” . The concept of Roma Nova intrigued me greatly and I’m more than happy to say that the ‘regular’ books have not disappointed at all – they really are rather addictive!
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I’d never heard of ‘alternative history stories’ before and now the idea intrigues me! It’s such an amazing concept, and in the hands of a skilled author and historian like Alison, the material really comes to life!
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Huge thanks for your incredible Blog Tour support Janice x
It’s such a pleasure Anne!