Rosie’s #Bookreview Series Updates From Books by @WriterRSJ And @alison_morton

I’ve been catching up with books from a couple of series that I enjoy.

Mercury (Rahki Chronicles, #4)Mercury by Rennie St. James
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Mercury is book four of the urban fantasy Rahki Chronicles.

The Rahki are traditional tribal groups with links to gypsies, who live in modern America, but adhere to their own rules and beliefs. To get the most from this series, I suggest reading the books in order.

The story continues with Mia as she protects Nadya, a young seer. They face a mysterious enemy who is intent on destroying the Rahki hierarchy. Together, with their tribe, this adventure takes them across America as they seek a way to protect their family and friends.

It has been a while since I read the last book in the series, so it took time for me to get back into the story. I would have loved a couple of early paragraphs reminding the reader of the ‘story so far’.

This is a tale that is steeped in myth and tribal traditions. The Rahki clans are all linked to animals, and members of each clan have family characteristics; for instance, members of the bee clan are busy people. There is a supernatural magical feel to some of the themes which adds to the mystery of the narrative. I have enjoyed reading the series, although occasionally the leisurely pace is a little too slow for me; at times it is slowed further with an abundance of repetitive character actions, where just the odd suggestion of each character’s body actions, like shoulder rolls, would have been plenty. But these are just personal grumbles which other readers may not even notice.

Overall, a good continuation to the series.

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Nexus (Roma Nova #4.5)Nexus by Alison Morton
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Nexus is an alternative history novella which is part of the Roma Nova series. A group of Romans who wished to stay loyal to the old gods left Rome in AD 395 and formed a new settlement near modern Slovakia―these books are tales from the descendants who live successfully alongside other Europeans.

If the premise appeals to you, I strongly suggest reading the books in order to get the most from the world-building and the main characters.

In this story Aurelia is asked to help an old friend find his missing son. Meanwhile, she’s appointed official investigator over the suspicious deaths of three prominent Europeans. The search takes her across the continent and, as her net closes in on her inquiries, Aurelia finds that danger follows swiftly behind.

Morton’s strength in military writing shone through once more. I also liked the fact that the story was set in the 1970s, and thought the elements of nostalgia worked well.

Overall, a good edition to the series.

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Rosie’s #Bookreview of Roma Nova Alternative History Novella, CARINA by @alison_morton

43841918. sy475 Carina by Alison Morton

4 stars

Carina is an alternative history novella. It forms part of the Roma Nova series. These books feature stories of a Roman Empire enclave which still thrives in central Europe, some hundreds of years after the traditional downfall.

Carina is the heir to one of the twelve leading Roman families, but she is also a member of the Praetorian Special Forces guard. She is sent on a mission to Quebec to bring back a person of interest. However, the operation turns sinister, and upon her return she must discover if political power struggles are involved.

This series’ strengths lie with the author’s ability to meld the historical Roman traditions of power, combat and political sabotage with modern day technology and culture. Latin still forms part of Roma Nova’s language as does much of the famed military structure of past Roman armies. But this is not a country clinging to old beliefs, to survive where Rome once fell; the citizens of Roma Nova have adapted and evolved, and I found Ms Morton’s story completely believable.

I always enjoy these books and recommend them to those intrigued by thoughts of an alternative end to a once famous empire.

View all my reviews on Goodreads

Book description

Carina Mitela is still a young inexperienced officer in the Praetorian Guard Special Forces of Roma Nova. Disgraced and smarting from a period in the cells for a disciplinary offence, she is sent out of everybody’s way on a seemingly straightforward mission overseas.

All she and her comrade-in-arms, Flavius, have to do is bring back a traitor from the Republic of Quebec. Under no circumstances will she risk entering the Eastern United States where she is still wanted under her old name Karen Brown. But when she and Flavius discover a conspiracy that reaches to the highest levels of Roma Nova, what price is personal danger against fulfilling the mission?

Set in the time after INCEPTIO but before PERFIDITAS in the Roma Nova series, this thriller novella reveals hidden parts of Carina’s early life in Roma Nova. And North America isn’t quite the continent we know in our timeline…

AmazonUk | AmazonUS

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Rosie’s #Bookreview Team #RBRT @barrow_judith reviews Alt #Rome Inceptio by @alison_morton

Today’s team review is from Judith, she blogs here http://judithbarrowblog.com/

#RBRT Review Team

Judith has been reading Inceptio by Alison Morton

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My Review:

I need to say from the start, that I may not have been in the right frame of mind to read what, to me, is a book with a complex and fantastical plot.  I wanted to like INCEPTIO; I started off really enjoying the book but as I read on I found the plot erratic; sometimes dragging, sometimes rushing by. So I struggled to be totally engaged with the story.

Told mainly from the point of view of Karen Brown, a modern New York resident, it is to the author’s credit that the protagonist is quickly built into a rounded character and it is easy to empathise with her in the rapid change in her circumstances. But, as the story progresses it becomes quite obvious that Karen,  soon renamed Carina Mitela as the most important resident of Roma Nova, wasn’t going to be beaten by any antagonist nor fail in any of the tasks she was given to complete. I felt there  were too many (and sometimes what I thought were ‘tongue in cheek’ ) attacks on the protagonist, designed to persuade her to sign away her  inheritance of vast amounts of money and, more importantly, a very successful business before her twenty-fifth birthday.

I did like the way the author built up some of the other characters: Karen/ Carina’s grandmother, Nona/Aurelia, the attractive, soon to be lover, Conrad. (I would have liked more time spent on the building of the relationships between the protagonist and these two characters – I am always more won over by character-driven tales ). And I also enjoyed characters such as Lurio, Apollodorus and Aelia. Even the antagonist, Renschman (told from a third person point of view, so we were a little distanced from him but could still see, if not empathise, his mindset – he has personal reasons for hating Karen) had his moments of depth were true evil for me. Of necessity there needed to be a lot of characters to populate this alternative country. But I did find myself shuffling back and forth sometimes to find out who fitted where.

Must admit though, I did like the idea of a country where the women ruled and called the shots!!

One of Alison Morton’s strengths is dialogue, both internal and spoken; there is never any doubt which character is speaking, even without dialogue tags. Yet even here I tended to be pulled out of the story by the constant use of Latin (Yes, I l know it adds to the validity of the country but still… . I have to confess this might have brought back too many memories of the language from a certain teacher in my schooldays! Don’t ask!!)

There is a lot of dense detail and some quite long descriptions of the fictitious state of Roma Nova. These build up a good sense of place of this civilisation that exists as a left over land of the long ago Roman Empire. Interesting- but I found they slowed the plot for me and I have to admit I did skip over some of them. And I found some of the narration, in parts, also dragged a little.

Loved the cover, by the way. I see this is a theme throughout the Roma Nova Thriller series.

Would I recommend? Well, yes to readers who enjoy alternative historical fiction with lots of action and lots of description.

Having written this review and then gone onto Amazon and seen how many 5* this book has been given, I think I’d like to read more of  Alison Morton’s work. Perhaps this just wasn’t for me at the moment

Book description

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 Praetorian elite forces officer. Oh, and a crazy killer pursuing 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 and a ready-made family – but at a price.

In this adventure thriller set in an alternative timeline, Karen grows from a girl anybody might know into a strong female character not only intent on staying alive but also on finding out why the killer is hunting her.

A coming of age story, where an ordinary girl discovers there is a great deal more lying under her mundane existence, but also lethal danger. At what stage does she stop running from it?

About the author

Alison Morton

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.

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Rosie’s #Bookreview Team #RBRT Inceptio by @alison_morton alternative #Rome fiction

Today’s second team review is from Jessie, she blogs here http://behindthewillows.com

#RBRT Review Team

Jessie has been reading Inceptio by Alison Morton

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If you are looking for insight into what it might be like to live in an alternate reality in a civilization founded by Romans and ruled by women, this book will touch on that.

If you are wondering how it would be to step from a nobody into the top tier of society, this story flirts with that.

If what you really want is to read a book where, when circumstances get scary and difficult, a woman trains hard, becomes awesome and then kicks butt, this is your book.

Would I recommend it? I was almost disappointed there wasn’t more insight into the different culture the main character finds herself in. Almost. But I couldn’t be at all disappointed because I was too busy turning pages. This story had me hooked!

I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. I discovered this book because I’m a proud member of Rosie’s Book Review Team!

Book description

New York, present day, alternate reality. Karen Brown, angry and frightened after a kidnap attempt, has a choice – being eliminated by government enforcer Jeffery Renschman or fleeing to mysterious Roma Nova, her dead mother’s homeland in Europe.

Founded sixteen centuries ago by Roman exiles and ruled by women, Roma Nova gives Karen safety, at a price, and a ready-made family. Just as she’s finding her feet, a shocking discovery about her new lover, special forces officer Conrad Tellus, isolates her.

But the enforcer has crossed to Europe to pursue her. Unable to rely on anybody else, she undergoes intensive training, develops fighting skills and becomes an undercover cop. But crazy with bitterness at his past failures, Renschman sets a trap for her, knowing she has no choice but to spring it..

About the author

Alison Morton

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.

Goodreads | AmazonUK | AmazonUS | Twitter

Retalio (Roma Nova #6) by @alison_morton alternative Rome #HistFic series #fridayreads

43842028. sy475 by Alison Morton
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

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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Book description

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.

Goodreads | AmazonUK | AmazonUS | Twitter

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Insurrectio (Roma Nova #5) by @alison_morton alternative Roman #HistFic series

43841992. sy475 Insurrectio by Alison Morton
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Insurrectio by Alison Morton is book #5 in the Roma Nova series. I have read several other books in the series so, recognised many of the characters and the setting straight away. Fictional Roma Nova is this author’s vision of how the Roman Empire might have survived and how it fits into today’s modern Europe. Each book has a little background to the series, explaining how a few Roman families escaped the fall of the empire and made their way to an alpine enclave in Europe. Here they continued their lineage using females to rule their nation.

Insurrectio is set in the 1980s. Aurelia Mitela, Foreign Minister and Imperial Councillor, is advised that her old adversary Caius Tellus is about to be released from prison. Returning to Roma Nova, he secretly works to gain power, undermining the current leadership.

Aurelia suspects that Caius is behind riots begun by a group calling themselves Toga Toughs who begin a national revolt. After a brutal attack on her daughter, Aurelia finds herself fleeing the country as Caius enforces his revolution.

This is a high action story; the author writes the military aspects of the book very well and the attention to detail is just right to keep the story moving forward. I also like the Roma Nova world. Each book is consistent with the chosen Roman themes; yes, you do need to get your head around Roman style names and words, but it worked for me. Readers would definitely benefit by starting with book #1 of the series to immerse themselves in the whole Roma Nova experience.

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Book description

Aurelia Mitela, ex-Praetorian and imperial councillor in Roma Nova, scoffs at her intelligence chief when he throws a red file on her desk. But 1980s Roma Nova, the last province of the Roman Empire that has survived into the twentieth century, has problems – a ruler frightened of governing, a centuries-old bureaucracy creaking for reform and, worst of all, a rising nationalist movement with a charismatic leader.

Horrified when her daughter is brutally attacked in a demonstration turned riot, Aurelia tries to rally resistance to the growing fear and instability. But it may already be too late to save Roma Nova from meltdown and herself from entrapment and destruction by her lifelong enemy.

About the author

Alison Morton

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.

Goodreads | AmazonUK | AmazonUS | Twitter

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AURELIA by @alison_morton Roma Nova #4 #BookReview #HistFic

43841969. sy475 Aurelia by Alison Morton
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Aurelia is book #4 in the Roma Nova series of books about an alternative Europe, one where the Roman empire lives on under the rules of the maternal family lines. What if Rome didn’t fall in AD395 and loyal Romans formed a new colony in a mountainous region north of Italy.

This book is set in the 1960’s and is the story of Aurelia, a Praetorian soldier, after her mother has a bad car accident she finds herself head of one of the 12 families, but she finds there are those who wish to undermine everything they have worked for and so she goes to Berlin as a member of a silver delegation, but underneath she works as a spy, to find who is threatening the vital Silver trade of Nova Roma.

I enjoyed this book because I have read others in the series and know the Roma Nova background, I do think readers will benefit from reading the previous books before tackling this one.

Find a copy here from Amazon.co.uk or Amazon.com

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Book description

1960s Roma Nova. Retrained as an undercover agent, ex-Praetorian officer Aurelia Mitela is sent to Berlin to investigate silver smuggling, but barely escapes a near-lethal trap. Her lifelong nemesis, Caius Tellus, is determined to eliminate her. When Aurelia is closing in on him, he strikes at her most vulnerable point – her young daughter.

A former military commander, Aurelia is one of Roma Nova’s strong women, but she doubts in her heart and mind that she can overcome her implacable enemy. And what part does the mysterious and attractive Miklós play – a smuggler who knows too much? If you enjoy reading mystery books for women with plenty of twists and a female protagonist driving the action, this is for you!

First in the Aurelia Mitela adventures, where Roman fiction is brought into the 20th century through an alternative history lens. INSURRECTIO and RETALIO follow on.

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