Thank you, Matthew Harffy, JJ Marsh and L J Trafford

Writers are strange people. They live in the Middle Ages, Ancient Rome, sometimes in Victorian India, on the high seas, during the Age of Enlightenment or just down the road at number 24. I count myself lucky to know some remarkable ones who’ve been kind enough to provide endorsements for RETALIO.

Matthew Harffy is the author of The Bernicia Chronicles, a series of action-packed historical fiction books set against the backdrop of the clash between peoples and religions in Dark Ages Britain.

The Historical Novel Society says, “Matthew Harffy’s tale of England in the Dark Ages is nothing less than superb.” And that was only the first book in the series!

Matthew has gone on to greater glory and the fourth book, Killer of Kings, is out on 1 June 2017. So he seemed a natural choice to read RETALIO…

Matthew says:
“Alison Morton’s RETALIO is an international thriller, full of intrigue and espionage, set against an imaginative retelling of a history that feels authentic and real. The fight-back for Roma Nova has begun, and what an entertaining ride it is!”

Thank you, Matthew!

JJ Marsh is about to launch her sixth Beatrice Stubbs European crime mystery, Bad Apples, at the beginning of June. That’ll be a treat for anybody who likes an intelligent crime story.

JJ, who’s part of  Triskele Books, and I met in a distanced way on Facebook – we both belong to the Alliance of Independent Authors – but when she and I were selected alongside each other as indie Editor’s Choices in prestigious UK publishing trade magazine ‘The Bookseller’, I decided I needed to investigate further.

We’ve now met several times and I was invited to take part in last year’s Triskele Lit Fest on the historical fiction panel. She has a good eye for a devious plot and loves a heroine who drives the action in a story.

JJ says:

“Tense, thrilling and incredibly timely, this is what happens when women fight back. When a progressive society is taken over by an egomaniacal despot, women can succumb or retaliate. Morton shows alarming prescience. RETALIO is a terrific concept engendering passion, love and loyalty. I actually cheered aloud.”

High praise from a crime writer!

When I read the first of LJ Trafford’s Four Emperors series, I laughed and cried at the same time. She writes about the dark side of Rome in a semi-flippant gossipy way, featuring the unelevated members of Nero’s court who are merely trying to survive. Sometimes they don’t make it.

She conveys the grimness and sheer fear of living under Nero and his successors with a deft touch. A thorough Roman. Her next book Otho’s Regret is out in July and I’ll be in the queue for that.

L J says:
“RETALIO is an engrossing read from the very first page with a cast of characters who grapple with their situation and loyalties. Aurelia is a tough but principled heroine you’ll root for over the course of every twist and setback she faces as she heads towards the finale and a meeting with her arch nemesis. An exciting, gripping and page turning read.”

What a terrific review!

Having your peers think you can scribble a few decent words in a reasonable order is very supportive. When writers of the calibre of these three do, then that’s treasure indeed.

And here’s my thanks to Douglas Jackson.

 

Alison Morton is the author of Roma Nova thrillers INCEPTIO, PERFIDITASSUCCESSIOAURELIA and INSURRECTIO. The sixth, RETALIO, came out in April  2017. Audiobooks now available for the first four of the series

Get INCEPTIO, the series starter, for FREE when you sign up to Alison’s free monthly email newsletter. You’ll also be first to know about Roma Nova news and book progress before everybody else, and take part in giveaways.

Thank you, Douglas Jackson

No ruin in Roman Europe has been safe from me from the age of eleven. I’ve dragged members of my family along ancient cobbled roads, up towers and aqueducts and into theatres and arenas. But sharing this thirst/lust/obsession with similarly-minded is a joy.

I love being a Roman writer and being seen as one. I’ve talked concrete, ball-bearings, legionary foot problems, gladius design, Republican virtue, tactics at Cannae, fictitious handshakes, Apicius’s cookbooks, imperial women, dodgy medical practices, informers, sea trading and the cursus honorem with the best of them.

Writing is another obsession, an isolated act done in a secluded room with a lot of tea to hand. However, you need a team of colleagues and informed supporters to give feedback (brutal and kind), advice and encouragement. Little inspires you more than receiving praise from those in the same field. So I was delighted when Roman fiction and thriller writer Douglas Jackson agreed to read RETALIO. We’d met up from time to time at conferences and events. He is such a genuine guy and we had illuminating conversations about thrillers, Romans, heroines, book progress and the joy of writing.

In his Gaius Valerius Verrens series, Douglas places us firmly in the Roman battlefields of the first century AD from the final part of Nero’s reign and that terrible year of the Four Emperors before the Flavians became the ruling dynasty. “Action-packed and rigorously researched” fits his series perfectly which he built on from his earlier books Caligula and Claudius. His writing is so vivid – you are there, terrified, elated and rooting for Verrens at every step. I loved Hero of Rome and am currently devouring the second in series Defender of Rome.

Douglas says:
“RETALIO is a classic tale of resistance and resilience as an exiled Aurelia Mitela leads an army of the dispossessed to free Roma Nova from the clutches of the despicable Caius. As always Alison Morton’s alternative world where a fragment of the Roman Empire has survived to the present day feels utterly authentic and Caius’s Roma Nova, where women have been turned into virtual slaves is chillingly reminiscent of the Nazi occupied territories of the Second World War. RETALIO reaches an explosive climax in the tunnels of the capital as Caius’s empire crumbles, and the only regret when the action stops is that this is the final book of a remarkable trilogy.”

What a terrific review!

I want to thank Douglas publicly for taking such an interest in Aurelia’s personal and public battle against the tyranny of her nemesis and in providing me with a terrific endorsement  to sit on the front cover of RETALIO – praise from him is gold indeed.

Douglas – gratias maximas tibi ago!

 

Alison Morton is the author of Roma Nova thrillers INCEPTIO, PERFIDITASSUCCESSIOAURELIA and INSURRECTIO. The sixth, RETALIO, came out in April  2017. Audiobooks now available for the first four of the series

Get INCEPTIO, the series starter, for FREE when you sign up to Alison’s free monthly email newsletter. You’ll also be first to know about Roma Nova news and book progress before everybody else, and take part in giveaways.

Bookmuse gives RETALIO its seal of approval.

The esteemed Bookmuse site has reviewed RETALIO and I was so moved by it I almost cried. Their reviewer understands RETALIO and the Roma Nova books in her gut as well as her heart.

“A read so painfully pertinent you could almost wish it were true. If you haven’t come across this alternative history series yet, I almost envy you. This is Roma Nova, what could have happened if the remnants of Roman empire was run by women.

But Roma Nova is now in trouble. One deceitful, vain and amoral man – Caius Tellus – has taken power and intends to ‘restore order’. In making Roma Nova great again, he reverses all the progress of decades and brings the land to its knees, driving a wedge between those loyal to the previous regime and his own macho cohort intent on rolling back progressive rights.

Aurelia Mitela, a senior government minister, is in exile in Vienna. But she is not alone. The people and ethics she defends are alive and well, and her supporters are legion. It’s time to get organised and fight to regain control of the country they love.

This is a love story for a country and its principles, as well as a relationship, a political and military adventure, a commitment to beliefs and a cast of unexpectedly detailed characters. Tension runs throughout as no one can be sure an ally is trustworthy until it’s too late. A page-turning pile-driver of a novel, it explores the nature of power, and those who use it for self-aggrandisement or common good.

Read it now, then go buy some horses.”

Read the full review here: http://bookmuseuk.blogspot.co.uk/2017/05/retalio-by-alison-morton.html

 

Alison Morton is the author of Roma Nova thrillers INCEPTIO, PERFIDITASSUCCESSIOAURELIA and INSURRECTIO. The sixth, RETALIO, came out on 27 April  2017. Audiobooks now available for the first four of the series

Get INCEPTIO, the series starter, for FREE when you sign up to Alison’s free monthly email newsletter. You’ll also be first to know about Roma Nova news and book progress before everybody else, and take part in giveaways.

RETALIO publication day!

Today, RETALIO goes out to the world. An ebook at the moment with the paperback to follow soon. Is it as exciting as the first? Yes, of course, but in a different way.

It’s a sense of completion for me, bringing readers the third part of the AURELIA trilogy and discovering for myself what exactly she did in the Great Rebellion.

Why did she warn her granddaughter in SUCCESSIO that Carina’s own nemesis was a new form of Caius? What was Aurelia trying to convey?

We saw the ground laid in AURELIA, the horror unfold in INSURRECTIO.

Now, in RETALIO, the reckoning between Aurelia and Caius is here.

Available now as an ebook from AmazoniBooks, B&N Nook and Kobo
(Paperback to follow soon)

——

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.

 

Alison Morton is the author of Roma Nova thrillers INCEPTIO, PERFIDITASSUCCESSIOAURELIA and INSURRECTIO. The sixth, RETALIO, is due out on 27 April  2017. Audiobooks now available for the first four of the series

Get INCEPTIO, the series starter, for FREE when you sign up to Alison’s free monthly email newsletter. You’ll also be first to know about Roma Nova news and book progress before everybody else, and take part in giveaways.

The Aurelia/Caius grudge match

Dramatis personae” – you may have seen this at the top of the cast list in those plays you read at school. “Personae” is Latin for people and “dramatis” means of the drama or play. For the Roma Nova novels, it seems entirely appropriate in a world of people who are definitely dramatic!

So who are the main “personae” and what is their grudge about?

Aurelia Mitela is our heroine. She started her existence in INCEPTIO as the older stateswoman, the advisor, Carina’s loving grandmother and ‘backstop’. She was a senator, businesswoman and advisor to Imperatrix Silvia, Roma Nova’s ruler. She comes from one of the Twelve Families which helped found Roma Nova at the end of the fourth century, so she has a lot of history supporting her. Aurelia plays a role in Carina’s life throughout the first trilogy of INCEPTIO, PERFIDITAS and SUCCESSIO, but it’s in SUCCESSIO that to see glimpses of Aurelia’s personal history, of the dangers that threatened to engulf her as a young woman, and of her personal nemesis, Caius Tellus.

In AURELIA, when we go back to the late 1960s, she’s the tough young Praetorian special forces officer who will become that strong older ‘wise head’. She has a lot to learn as she juggles responsibilities when her mother dies and is then called to state service as a spy.

Her battle with Caius scars her physically and emotionally, but there is a compensation for her. By the time of INSURRECTIO, nearly thirteen years later, she’s matured into a senior councillor but falters in her relationship with her daughter Marina. Of course, that all explodes when Caius comes back on the scene. Aurelia still has a mental block about him which gives him a psychlogical hold over her, however much she protests. At the beginning of RETALIO, she’s in a desperate place; friendless (apart from her faithful lover), ostracised by her fellow exiles, physically weak and emotionally fragile. But then her deep love of Roma Nova forces its way to the surface and she can’t ignore it…

And Caius? The young bully who spat on the five year old Aurelia’s food, stuck the seven year old’s head down the kitchen drain, tried to rape the teenage Aurelia? Given every privilege by his mother and grandmother, Caius had never had to struggle for anything. Strong willed and  intelligent he dominated  his circle and charmed older adults with his good looks and broad smiles.

And when he reached adulthood, he had no idea of anybody else’s interest but his own. But the chief failing that gnaws away at him is that he could never break Aurelia’s shell, either with charm or by force. He resents that she can see through him and takes it very personally…

The stage is set for the end game. Roma Nova’s future is in the balance. Aurelia must take the biggest risk in its history and in her own life. Whether she will overcome her inner doubt and be able to face Caius again is something even she doesn’t know.

Read more about RETALIO

Watch the book trailer! https://youtu.be/Mql2Mm3ytJc

 

Alison Morton is the author of Roma Nova thrillers INCEPTIO, PERFIDITASSUCCESSIOAURELIA and INSURRECTIO. The sixth, RETALIO, is due out on 27 April  2017. Audiobooks now available for the first four of the series

Get INCEPTIO, the series starter, for FREE when you sign up to Alison’s free monthly email newsletter. You’ll also be first to know about Roma Nova news and book progress before everybody else, and take part in giveaways.

Black days under occupation in Roma Nova

Caius Tellus

The morning after the power grab by Caius Tellus on the night of fires (INSURRECTIO), people woke to find the following proclamation pinned on noticeboards, on the doors of public buildings and in the forum in Roma Nova city.

By order of First Consul Caius Tellus
Due to the national crisis, the provisional government will apply the following emergency orders for the next 30 days.

  1. All citizens must be indoors by 21.00 and will not leave their homes before 05.00.
  2. We will respect citizens’ rights but anyone instigating or committing a breach of these orders will be punished severely.
  3. All orders given by the civil authorities or their authorised representatives are to be strictly obeyed.
  4. Personal ownership of all rifles, guns, revolvers, daggers, sporting guns and all other weapons whatsoever including training blades of every kind together with any ammunition is now illegal. However, citizens have until 18.00 tomorrow, 7 October, to surrender any such items currently in their possession to the nearest vigiles barracks. Discovery of failure to do so will result in summary imprisonment even after the expiry of these emergency orders.
  5. All service personnel on leave must report to the nearest military barracks by 18.00 tomorrow, 7 October.
  6. No boat or vessel of any description, including any pilot, fishing or tugboat, shall leave the river harbours or any other place where same is moored without an order from the local Curia office.
  7. All international flights and cross-border rail services are temporarily suspended and all road crossings are strictly controlled. Expect long delays for verification which will only be granted in exceptional cases.
  8. Foreign citizens in Roma Nova will be respected, but should remain in their hotels or residences until they have either registered and obtained a permit to stay from the local Curia or applied for an exit visa. These will be issued via their national legations.
  9. Emergency services including doctors, veterinary and social personnel will be granted fuel and supplies subject to registration. Agricultural units and food suppliers will be granted movement orders and fuel subject to registration.
  10. For the time being, there will be no fuel allocation for private use.
  11. Food shops will remain open as before; increasing prices is forbidden.
  12. All television and radio organisations apart from the National Roma Nova Broadcasting Company have been switched off. Their male personnel will be integrated into the new national company and the female staff dismissed.

Signed this day 6 October Caius Tellus

Caius’s seizure of power had been very carefully worked out, even down to street level; he’d given each local Roman Nationalist Movement (RNM) organiser precise instructions about their role and goals. This was the main reason the coup was so successful so quickly. Checkpoints, curfew, house arrest, raids and detention by the RNM political troops acting in parallel with the civilian police, the vigiles, follows in the next eighteen months as Caius exerts complete and ruthless control. He reintroduces the death penalty.

 

Hand-in-hand goes the development of  a “personality cult”. Photographs glorifying Caius as a ‘true Roman’ are hung on the walls of local and central government offices within days as well as at the Golden Palace, the traditional home of Roma Nova’s rulers. Wherever he goes publicly, he wears his black uniform with red mailed fist armband.

New controls and content are introduced for children’s education and as Sextus, a student and resistant, reports in RETALIO, political education is compulsory for males of all ages. Women are not required to attend; they’re excluded from secondary and tertiary education now and no longer considered full citizens. As Aurelia discovers, people obey on the surface but there’s a great deal of resentment and anger. Roma Novans aren’t yet immersed in the new ideological regime, but although bitter at the previous weak government for letting this happen, they’re starting to adapt as they face new struggles in daily life.

Food shortages, confiscation and work conscription have become normal; inevitably, a black market in food and other essentials develops. Open disobedience leads to reprisals and the risk of being sent to one of the new work colonies. But Roma Nova has not yet become a ‘telling’ society even though Caius’s RMN political troops and auxiliaries actively encourage people to inform on neighbours, work mates and even friends. Unfortunately, a few suffer simply as a result of jealous neighbours or fellow workers.

The experience of this sudden regime change and the harsh regulation, especially for women, is a deeply psychologically disorienting one for the Roma Novans as what was once familiar and safe  has suddenly become strange and threatening. Many living in the city itself and the main towns of Castra Lucilla, Brancadorum and Aquae Caesaris can’t get over the shock they experienced when they first saw the huge red RMN mailed fist banners draped over public buildings and flying on top of the Golden Palace.

At the beginning of RETALIO, Roma Nova is not under foreign occupation as France was in our timeline in the 1940s, but under internal occupation as in Soviet Russia under Stalin. It takes fortitude to endure this day after day, and extraordinary courage to resist actively. Will that courage be ground down by fear and despair and the natural instinct of risk averse humans to reconcile themselves with the circumstances however miserable?

Read RETALIO to find out…

 

Alison Morton is the author of Roma Nova thrillers INCEPTIO, PERFIDITASSUCCESSIOAURELIA and INSURRECTIO. The sixth, RETALIO, is due out on 27 April  2017. Audiobooks now available for the first four of the series

Get INCEPTIO, the series starter, for FREE when you sign up to Alison’s free monthly email newsletter. You’ll also be first to know about Roma Nova news and book progress before everybody else, and take part in giveaways.