Historical fiction set in the ancient world

HNRCover_May 2016I was delighted to receive the quarterly jewel, the Historical Novel Review, May 2016 edition, published by the Historical Novel Society.  Even more delighted as my writing friend Judith Starkston had written a terrific article about ancient world themed historical fiction.

She asked several authors for contributions – Maggie Anton, Geraldine Brooks, Gary Corby, Ruth Downie, Stephanie Dray, Margaret George, Libbie Hawker, Tim Leach, Rebecca Lochlann, Alison Morton, Kate Quinn, Elisabeth Storrs and Stephanie Thornton.

I was honoured to be included!

“Alison Morton carries an ingrained knowledge of Roman life forward into a Roman colonia that survives into the modern world.”

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Read the full article(click on the icon below)
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But I was even more delighted to see the cover image for INSURRECTIO had been used as an illustration!

The HNS is a great organisation to belong to if you are a reader, writer or any kind of enthusiast for historical fiction. The quarterly print magazine sent to members is packed with reviews, often over 300.

HNS16logoAnd the conference in September promises a meeting of enthusiasts as well as a rich package of talks and panels. Find out more here: https://hnsoxford2016.org

 

Alison Morton is the author of Roma Nova thrillers, INCEPTIO, PERFIDITASSUCCESSIO and AURELIA. The fifth in the series, INSURRECTIO, was published on 12 April 2016.

Find out Roma Nova news and book progress before everybody else, and take part in giveaways by signing up for her free monthly email newsletter.

The Roman way

Roman road, Ambrussum

Roman road, Ambrussum, Via Domitia, France

Yes, this is a Roman road. And yes, it does eventually lead to Rome, the centre of the world at that time. It was part of a superhighway network that replaced mud tracks with paved, drained and fast roads which not only facilitated conquest but also economic expansion through the Roman world. Imperial couriers raced along the roads out of Rome, commandeering changes of horses from different cities and provinces, with orders from the centre of power reaching governors and commanders hundreds of miles  away within days.

One of the most evident expressions of Roman power was through infrastructure – roads, bridges, aqueducts, theatres – and town planning – forums, temples, markets, grid systems, water supplies and baths.

Roman bridge from 76BC

Roman bridge from 76BC

Wherever Rome went, so did all the paraphernalia of Roman urban life. Villas were built, mosaics laid, walls painted, fountains set playing. Farmland was cultivated, trees felled, minerals extracted. Rome was nothing if not efficient and consuming. At one stage, its mineral extraction and industrial activity was so intense the pollution shows up today on geological ice bore samples.

So how did they do it? We know of military conquest; for the British Isles, we know Caesar boasted ‘Veni, vidi, vici’ although it was actually under Claudius that serious conquest began. Feature films have graphically, if not always accurately, given us the idea of an effective,  disciplined, state-financed military organisation advancing through Europe, Asia and North Africa. But what happened afterwards?

Seduction.

garden.smRome offered inclusion and prosperity, ruling through local power holders by making them part of the Roman success story. These leaders were granted Roman citizenship which gave them civic rights, their children were educated in the Roman way, albeit sometimes as semi-hostages, and resplendent villas were built for them; they sometimes received significant gifts of money. Their men of fighting age were drafted into the Roman army with the possibility of also attaining citizenship with land grants at the end of their service.

With such enticements, local leaders  bought into the Roman style of gracious living, the ideas of the rule of law, culture and literacy and the considerable increase in trade and prosperity.  Of course, the iron fist of Roman military might was ready to retaliate in the event of rebellion, which it did.

People travelled, emigrated and worked throughout the Roman administered world using one system and one currency. Personal evidence  like pottery, jewellery, coins, messages and graves as well as skeletons show that people of all races and backgrounds, whether free or slave, highborn or plebeian, male or female, circulated within this world.

Rome last over 1200 years, but didn’t break out from village status until after fierce local wars in Italy, sacking by Celts and near annihilation by Hannibal. But once out of the Italian Peninsula, they evolved a colonial system that pushed the Roman ‘brand’ throughout most of Western Europe. Love it or loath it, Rome brought complexity, literacy and an approach to life that still resonates in Western life today.

 

Alison Morton is the author of Roma Nova thrillers, INCEPTIO, PERFIDITASSUCCESSIO and AURELIA. The fifth in the series, INSURRECTIO, was published on 12 April 2016.

Find out Roma Nova news and book progress before everybody else, and take part in giveaways by signing up for her free monthly email newsletter.

INSURRECTIO is Historical Novel Society Editor's Choice!

INSURRECTIO_HNS Editor's ChoiceTalk about unexpected! You write a book, possibly the fifth in a series, launch it, get some lovely reviews, some friendly blog guest posts and general congratulations then you go back to writing the next one. Imagine when an email pings into your inbox saying this book has been reviewed by the Historical Novel Society and chosen as an indie Editor’s Choice!

Juno!

To be chosen for an HNS review is the first step; not every book gets past this stage. To receive a good review from this well-respected society is wonderful. To be selected as an Editor’s Choice means a rush for the champagne bottle. Now, this is the third time this has happened – SUCCESSIO and AURELIA have been thus honoured and AURELIA  is one of four finalists in the 2016 HNS Indie Award – but it’s no less exciting the third time than the first time, believe me!

So what did they say?

Ms Morton returns to the world of Roma Nova in her series about an alternate history of Europe, where the Roman Empire survives as a small alpine country.

Aurelia Mitela has retired from her former military career and is a politician charged to serve, protect and guide the new Imperatrix, Severina – who is not the woman her mother was, and her weakness proves fatal.  Aurelia must fight against the enemies of Roma Nova, to do what she knows is her duty even if it goes against everything she believes in.

Roma Nova does not exist, but from Ms Morton’s portrayal you are in doubt that this little state is not real. It is perfectly portrayed, perfectly explained, without feeling like a politics lesson.  With a deft touch, Ms Morton gives us a matriarchal society that is not in any way a feminist stronghold, but just is.

Aurelia is a character the reader cares about.  We smile when she smiles, we flinch when she flinches.  Her progress through the story is not easy, and the reader is there every step of the way with her.  She is surrounded by people that you have to feel something for, be it respect, liking or loathing. Love them or hate them, they are real, rounded and believable.

Technically not falling into the HNS boundary of a novel set pre-1960s, this story does have a firm place among the more straightforward idea of historical fiction because books such as this cannot be recommended highly enough. As long as you can accept the ‘what if’ premise of history, and that Ms Morton will put you through the wringer and your journey as a reader will not be easy, you will love this.

https://historicalnovelsociety.org/reviews/insurrectio/

Thank you, Historical Novel review team, and thank you, Fortuna.

 

Alison Morton is the author of Roma Nova thrillers, INCEPTIO, PERFIDITASSUCCESSIO and AURELIA. The fifth in the series, INSURRECTIO, was published on 12 April 2016.

Find out Roma Nova news and book progress before everybody else, and take part in giveaways by signing up for her free monthly email newsletter.

Roma Nova goes audio!

Alison with Carole BlakeYou may remember that in January this year I signed up with Blake Friedmann Literary Agency who now represent me for ancillary rights (translation/foreign rights, audio, large print, TV & film, etc.).

Well, exciting news – and you are the first to know it – they’ve negotiated a contract with Audible to produce audio versions of INCEPTIO, PERFIDITAS, SUCCESSIO and AURELIA.

Of course, I rushed for my champagne glass!

Audible_logoAudiobooks are a great antidote to the problem of never having enough time to read for pleasure. You can ‘read’ a book while doing other things: on the daily commute, walking the dog, cooking and cleaning, at the gym(!) or if you’re painting and decorating, gardening, or just lounging around.

On a practical level, it’s ideal for readers with poor eyesight or eyestrain or those of us who work on the computer all day! You can listen on an MP3 player, in the car on a CD player, a computer, a home sound system, on a Kindle, etc.

I bet you can think of even more times and places to listen.

Told you it was exciting. 😉 It’s going to be weird hearing Carina and Conrad ‘speaking’…

 

Alison Morton is the author of Roma Nova thrillers, INCEPTIO, PERFIDITASSUCCESSIO and AURELIA. The fifth in the series, INSURRECTIO, was published on 12 April 2016.

Find out Roma Nova news and book progress before everybody else, and take part in giveaways by signing up for her free monthly email newsletter.

2016 London Book Fair - launch, listen and learn

LBF panelSo, 2016 London Book Fair. What a blast!

As I sit on a train heading towards the Kent countryside for a few days’ recuperation, I’m trying to round up my brains. It’s a good thing we take photos, or I’d lose track.

INSURRECTIO, the fifth Roma Nova thriller, was due to be launched on the Tuesday, so clad in my 1980s green ‘networking jacket’ – the book is set in the 1980s – I headed to the SilverWood Books stand. As I approached it, my name and INSURRECTIO in large Roman letters blasted out at me. What a great panel SilverWood Books had done for me!

Kobo interview

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I’d hardly put my bag down when I was whisked off to the Kobo stand for a video interview. Diego Marano is a focused, but gentle, interviewer and although I’m sure I burbled; he seemed to think it went satisfactorily. Of course, it’s all in the editing…

Then chatting and mingling with SilverWood’s Helen Hart and team, with potential and current authors. After an entertaining talk by bestselling author Peter James and catching up with friends from the Alliance of Independent Authors (ALLI), and lunch with a fellow Romantic Novelists’Association (RNA) author, it was back to the stand for launch preparation. The wine arrived, so I knew we were ready!

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Critique partners

With critique partner Denise Barnes

 

 

 

Well, nobody yawned or threw their drink at me and some laughed in the right places, so I think it went well. 😉

With Jane Davis

With Jane Davis

Chatting at the launch

With Alison Layland (left) and Stephanie Zia

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

With Helen Hart

Helen Hart, Publishing Director at SilverWood Books

With Harvey Black

Harvey Black, another featured SilverWood author

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

With Karen Inglis

Karen Inglis buying for her thriller-loving husband

With Christina Courtenay

With Christina Courtenay

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

ALLies

‘ALLies’

RNA at INSURRECTIO LAUNCH

The RNA contingent

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

When I staggered back to the hotel that evening (from tiredness!), I was overwhelmed by the volume of photos posted during the launch and the congratulations flooding Twitter and Facebook. I spent four hours trying to reply to all of them.

This continued through Wednesday, online and with visitors to the SilverWood stand during the day and at the ‘Meet the Authors’ drinks that evening.

I managed to squeeze in a few talks and seminars; ALLi talking about how to  sell more books and Tracy Chevalier on her new Shakespeare project.

With E M Powell

E M Powell, one of INSURRECTIO’s endorsers!

With Orna Ross

With Orna Ross of ALLi

And people continued to visit the SilverWood stand to say hello on Thursday.

At the ALLi drinks party that evening (sponsored by Amazon – thank you!) people were still talking about it all.

I sold all ten books I brought with me which was not only satisfying, but made my suitcase a lot lighter for the journey home. People were/are so generous in supporting me, not least SilverWood Books who pulled out the stops for the launch.

 

**Book trailer, endorsements and  buying links for INSURRECTIO**

Alison Morton is the author of Roma Nova thrillers, INCEPTIO, PERFIDITASSUCCESSIO and AURELIA. The fifth in the series, INSURRECTIO, was published on 12 April 2016.

Find out Roma Nova news and book progress before everybody else, and take part in giveaways by signing up for her free monthly email newsletter.

INSURRECTIO publication day!

INSURRECTIO arrivesToday, my fifth Roma Nova thriller is out in the world. Wow!  I say that because when I published the first in 2013, I did not imagine that I would have written four more within the next three years. Sometimes I scare myself…

It’s a mixture of sadness and relief to close the gate at the end of a long road of writing, reviewing, editing, revising, honing, tweaking, deciding about cover image, format and page order; receiving encouragement, fab endorsements and advice.

And later today, INSURRECTIO will make its bow to the world when it’s launched (with wine!) at the London Book Fair at the SilverWood Books stand 1G45.

So here is Aurelia Mitela, twelve years after we closed the pages at the end of AURELIA. She’s climbed the career ladder and is now an assistant foreign minister. She’s gained in gravitas, authority and experience.

Like any dedicated bureaucrat at that level she works long, hard hours, but despite the responsibility she’s happy; her daughter Marina has grown into a carefree young woman and Aurelia’s love, Miklós, lives with her in passionate companionship.

But by Mars, that contented life is going to be disrupted. A gathering crisis, fostered by her nemesis, that even Aurelia seems powerless to stop is going to erupt in their faces and threaten to destroy Roma Nova for good.

Find out more about INSURRECTIO

Watch the book trailer
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Where to buy INSURRECTIO

 

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Alison Morton is the author of Roma Nova thrillers, INCEPTIO, PERFIDITASSUCCESSIO and AURELIA. The fifth in the series, INSURRECTIO, is published TODAY 12 April 2016.

Find out Roma Nova news and book progress before everybody else, and take part in giveaways by signing up for her free monthly email newsletter.