Retalio is book #6 in the Roma Nova series. Once again the book is set around the 1980s in a fictional Roman Empire existing in an alpine setting.
Aurelia Mitela, ex-Foreign Minister, is currently exiled in New Austria. Accused of betrayal and collaboration by fellow exiles because of a clever twist of facts by revolutionary Caius Tellus, Aurelia is isolated. Caius plans to completely destroy the old order and the rule of the twelve families, replacing the female dominated nation with one where males are the new leaders.
Not content to stay in her new home, Aurelia works hard to build relations with other exiles, raise funds needed to support them, and make plans to take back her beloved country. Ever conscious that Caius will try to sabotage her plans or even snatch her, she marries her partner to gain Hungarian citizenship. Then she works on creating a resistance network using her own military training and the skills of the exiles.
In places I found this book heavy on the politics needed to retaliate against the revolution, but I did enjoy all the resistance work and the build up to the final invasion. The weeks of planning and training were realistic, and I thought the descriptions of Roma Nova under the Caius’s rule were well written, giving the reader a good picture of events and situations. Another good book in this series and for all those intrigued by my review, I recommend starting with book #1 of the series to get a real feel for the Roma Nova world that this author has created.
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Early 1980s Vienna. Recovering from a near fatal shooting, Aurelia Mitela, ex-Praetorian and former foreign minister of Roma Nova, chafes at her enforced exile. She barely escaped from her nemesis, the charming and amoral Caius Tellus who grabbed power in Roma Nova, the only part of the Roman Empire to survive into the twentieth century.
Aurelia’s duty and passion fire her determination to take back her homeland and liberate its people. But Caius’s manipulations have isolated her from her fellow exiles, leaving her ostracised, powerless and vulnerable. But without their trust and support Aurelia knows she will never see Roma Nova again.
A story of political and personal rivalry in an imaginary surviving state of the once mighty Roman Empire. But with a difference. Struggling to defend the tiny state and keep the families alive at the dissolution of the Roman Empire, Roma Novan women fought alongside their men. And they never forgot it as they rose to prominence through the ages. Now in the late 20th century the egalitarian state has been crushed into misery by a brutal dictator imposing male-only rule. Aurelia is their last best hope, but Caius who has longed to dominate and defeat her since childhood will do anything to stop her. Anything.
About the author
Even before she pulled on her first set of combats, Alison Morton was fascinated by the idea of women soldiers. After six years in a special communications regiment, she left as a captain, having done all sorts of interesting and exciting things she can’t talk about, even now…
The mosaics at Ampurias (Spain) and their creation by the complex, power and value-driven Roman civilisation made her wonder what a modern Roman society would be like if run by strong women.
Now, she writes Roman-themed alternate history thrillers with tough heroines, tends a Roman herb garden and drinks wine with her husband of 30 years.