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Wednesday, 14 February 2018

‘Carina’ by Alison Morton

Published by Pulcheria Press,
23 November 2017.
Kindle Edition. ASIN: B076X7SDLK

Alison Morton’s Roma Nova novels are alternative history novels based on the premise that the world is not structured as we know it today and the Roman Empire did not disappear but survived as a small but wealthy and influential country, which is ruled by the senior women of the hereditary ruling houses.

Carina Mitela was not born and brought up in Roma Nova. She lived in the Eastern United States and her name was Karen Brown before, as a young woman, a trumped-up charge caused her to flee her home and she discovered that she was the granddaughter and heir of Aurelia Mitela, the second most powerful woman in Roma Nova. Now settled in Roma Nova, Carina has trained as a member of the elite Praetorian Guard, married and had a daughter. She has acquitted herself well, but she is still inexperienced and sometimes a wildness in her causes her to make unwise decisions. A foolish disciplinary offence, involving climbing a forbidden tower, ends with her senior officer – and husband – sentencing her to time in the cells. Carina is still smarting about this when she is sent on a mission to the Republic of Quebec. She and her partner, Flavius, must capture and return a traitor who has fled to Quebec. Carina knows that she must not enter the Eastern United States, where she is still wanted by the law and could be imprisoned.

Carina and Flavius soon discover that things are not as simple as they had anticipated, and many powerful people are twisting and distorting their mission. Other players enter the game and their quarry is transported to the Eastern United States where Carina must not follow. However, when Flavius is injured, and it seems as if the traitor will escape, Carina has to gamble with her freedom in order to complete her mission and discover what is going on behind the scenes and, in a nice circle from the beginning of the novel, her tower-climbing prowess prove useful in the service of her country.

Although Carina is described as number seven in the Roma Nova series, it is actually set in the period between the first two novels featuring Carina Mitela and shows Carina growing in experience as she struggles to learn the skills and attitudes other high-born Roma Novans would have acquired throughout their childhood. As always, Alison Morton’s plotting is flawless and her characterisation and dialogue excellent. A fast-paced and engaging political thriller.
Reviewer:  Carol Westron
Currently only available as an e-book.

Alison Morton Even before she pulled on her first set of combats, Alison Morton was fascinated by the idea of women soldiers. Brought up by a feminist mother and an ex-military father, it never occurred to her that women couldn’t serve their country in the armed forces. Everybody in her family had done time in uniform and in theatre – regular and reserve Army, RAF, WRNS, WRAF – all over the globe. So busy in her day job, Alison joined the Territorial Army in a special communications regiment and left as a captain, having done all sorts of interesting and exciting things no civilian would ever know or see. Or that she can talk about, even now…
But something else fuels her writing… Fascinated by the mosaics at Ampurias (Spain), at their creation by the complex, power and value-driven Roman civilisation she started wondering what a modern Roman society would be like if run by strong women…
Now, she writes Roman-themed alternate history thrillers with tough heroines:

Carol Westron is a successful short story writer and a Creative Writing teacher.  She is the moderator for the cosy/historical crime panel, The Deadly Dames.  Her crime novels are set both in contemporary and Victorian times.  The Terminal Velocity of Cats is the first in her Scene of Crimes novels, was published July 2013. Carol recently gave an interview to Mystery People. To read the interview click on the link below.

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