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Saturday 24 November 2018

Roma Nova Extra’ By Alison Morton

Published by Pulcheria Press,
19 October 2018.
ISBN: 979-1-09731008-0 (PB)

The Roma Nova novels are set in an alternative history scenario in which the Roman Empire did not disappear. Instead, a few breakaway families showed great courage in establishing a new country, which is run on the Roman ideals of government and ruled by the female heads of the great families. The book is divided into two parts: the historical, which starts at AD 370 and concludes in  1983; and the contemporary, which starts in 2011 and ends in 2029.

This collection of short stories is cleverly collated to lead the reader through the history of Roma Nova from its beginning and traces its influence on world politics. I particularly enjoyed ‘A Roman Intervenes’, the bold and inventive story that used the potential of alternative history to describe how an envoy from Roma Nova took drastic action in an attempt to prevent Duke William from invading England in 1066.

The Roma Nova novels centre around Carina Mitela and her grandmother, Aurelia Mitela. Although there is one story featuring Aurelia at the end of the historical section, she plays a small part in Roma Nova Extra compared to Carina, who appears in all the stories in the contemporary part of the book, although she is not always the central protagonist. The stories vary in length and theme and feature a mixture of adventure stories, tales of political intrigue, and love stories, all skilfully weaved into the history of Roma Nova.

The concept of alternative history is fascinating and the author shows a masterly grasp of history and politics and its many ramifications, and the stories are well crafted and enjoyable. I have read and enjoyed all the novels about Carina and Aurelia and I found this a delightful ‘extra.’ I am slightly concerned that anybody who has not read the novels might find that the stories featuring Carina and Aurelia contain several ‘spoilers,’ and would recommend reading the novels first, they are excellent.

Roma Nova Extra is a very pleasurable read and one which I would recommend.
Reviewer: Carol Westron

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 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.

To read a review of Carol latest book Strangers and Angels click on the title.

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