Guest Author – Alison Morton

Welcome back to the blog, Alison!  I really enjoyed your first novel INCEPTIO and am very much looking forward to the second book in the series, PERFIDITAS.  Please tell us a little bit about it and what that word means?

Thank you for a warm welcome, Christina.  Great to be back!

PERFIDITAS means betrayal – our word ‘perfidy’ is closely related – but for the Roma Novans who have invested their whole way of life and motivation for survival over many centuries in their core values, it’s deeply repugnant.  And entangled with that, there’s betrayal on a personal level …

In INCEPTIO, Carina, the heroine has to cope with a whole new way of life, Roman style, and it was fun to follow her journey as she learned about her mother’s country of birth, Roma Nova, and adapted to it.  Is there more for her to learn in book no 2, any surprises for her and the reader?

Plenty of surprises!  Although Carina knows in her head that she has to be involved in the family-based social system, she tries to dodge it – she’s more interested in her exciting job.  But with privilege comes responsibility and she has to face up to it.  But in doing so she surprises herself.

I loved the way in INCEPTIO she decided to learn to defend herself and really knuckled down to it.  Those scenes were very real, so did you have to go to a boot camp yourself to get this right (or did you send someone else?  I would have!)?

Haha!  No, they’re drawn from my own military training.  Many’s the time I’ve had to go out on exercise in sleet or rain on the north German plain, or creep on my stomach across a frosty field while the opposition tries to outwit you.  The training for it was pretty rigorous!

The heroine learned to speak Latin fairly quickly – I assume the spoken version was easier than the written one?  And would you, yourself, be able to communicate with someone in Latin if you had to?

Like children with parents of different nationalities, Carina learnt her mother’s native tongue when she started to speak as a very young child.  Her father insisted she went to Latin class, but that stopped when he died when she was twelve.  It’s a little like the heroine in the film My Big Fat Greek Wedding who went to Greek school on Saturdays.  Carina didn’t use Latin again for years, but once the language is imprinted in the brain when small, it comes back.  I’m sure you know the experience yourself with Swedish!

Et ego?  Difficile est tenere quae acceperis nisi exerceas!

Me and Latin?  It’s hard to remember what you learned unless you practise it 🙂

Conrad, the hero, had been a bit of a bad boy before meeting the heroine, although the people of his country didn’t seem to look at it quite the way we do.  Does this come back to ‘bite him on the bum’ at all in the rest of the series?

You’ll have to wait!  But yes, the Roma Novan system of morality is quite different from ours, being based on inheritance of names, rights and property through women.  This goes back to the earliest times in Roma Nova when they were struggling to survive and women ran social, political and economic life when men were defending the young country.

Everything is based on the family/tribe.  Men join women’s families and take their partner’s family name, if the couple chose to marry formally.  Traditional Roman marriage is more a social and economic arrangement, not a religious one.  In modern Roma Nova, they can contract for a term, i.e. so many years, if they choose.  It’s always the woman’s eldest daughter who inherits whatever her parents’ contracted arrangements.  After all, you always know who a woman’s child is …

Conrad tries to hold it and himself together by doing the right thing all the time, but he struggles sometimes because of his traumatic childhood and it’s all bound to unravel sometime in the future. But that’s a little way off yet. 🙂

It was interesting to note the matriarchal society you created – is that something you think we should have?  Women are, after all, capable of multi-tasking to much greater effect than men (or so I’m told :-))

I wanted to explore the ‘what if’ idea where society was a mirror of the way ours had developed.  The real late Roman period was one where women’s power and influence were growing.  Without the patriarchal Christian political system that developed in Western Europe, I think that women wouldn’t have been so contained and relegated as they have been.

I had a lot of fun writing a potted ‘history’ on my own blog about how I imagined Roma Nova developing into a 21st century matriarchy which is a far more egalitarian society than ours and one that doesn’t conform to the male/female stereotypes or gender roles.  Whether readers would enjoy living there is something for them to decide …

Thank you, Alison, for telling us a bit about the background to PERFIDITAS. I look forward to the continuation of the series!


Captain Carina Mitela of the Praetorian Guard Special Forces is in trouble – one colleague has tried to kill her and another has set a trap to incriminate her in a conspiracy to topple the government of Roma Nova.  Founded sixteen hundred years ago by Roman dissidents and ruled by women, Roma Nova barely survived a devastating coup d’état thirty years ago.  Carina swears to prevent a repeat and not merely for love of country.

Seeking help from a not quite legal old friend could wreck her marriage to the enigmatic Conrad.  Once proscribed and operating illegally, she risks being terminated by both security services and conspirators.  As she struggles to overcome the desperate odds and save her beloved Roma Nova and her own life, she faces the ultimate betrayal …

Book trailer:

Buying links: PERFIDITAS is available through your local bookshop (paperback), on your local Amazon (paperback and ebook) and on other online retailers.






  1. Thank you for a lovely post, Christina. Lovely to have been your guest.

    Comment by Alison Morton — November 14, 2013 @ 9:12 am

  2. Thanks for stopping by and answering all my questions, Alison, it was a joy to have you here as always! 🙂 xx

    Comment by Christina Courtenay — November 14, 2013 @ 4:10 pm

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