Posts Tagged ‘Romans’

Guest Post – Alison Morton – SUCCESSIO

Today I’m very happy to welcome my friend Alison Morton back onto my blog.  Alison has just published the third book in her Roma Nova series, SUCCESSIO, and is here to talk about it.  (The previous two books in the series were INCEPTIO and PERFIDITAS). As I’ve mentioned before, they are an intriguing blend of alternative (alternate) history, suspense thriller and romance, so I had some questions for her:-

Q – Okay, first of all, what does the title mean and what made you choose it for this book?

A – SUCCESSIO has a double meaning: ‘what happened next’ and ‘the next generation’. As you’ve seen before, I love playing with words and their meanings.  No doubt I’ll get into trouble for it one day! I think the original Latin word successio has shifted in meaning in English although it’s kept it in the romance languages like French.

Q – This is the third book in the series and your heroine Carina Mitela has come a long way since the first time she found out Roma Nova existed.  What’s been the hardest thing for her to adapt to?  And does she ever wish she could go back to a time before she knew about Roma Nova?

A – Although she’s thoroughly at home in her role as a Praetorian and has slowly grown into her social role, she sometimes has feelings of still being the outsider. As she says, she has ‘zero intention of going back to the EUS’ where she was brought up, but she is very happy to speak in English from time to time. When you cross cultures, there are always gaps both in knowledge and values. But they can be strengths: she often looks at things with a different perspective which triggers her into finding a unique solution to a problem.

Q – I have immense respect for the real Romans and always find it amazing that some of the things they invented were lost for centuries (millennia in some cases!) after the fall of Rome.  Which of their achievements are you most in awe of?

A –  I won’t go into the John Cleese speech in the Life of Brian, but although there were massive failures in this respect, I think the idea of the rule of law is very important. Also the fact that if you were a Roman citizen, you had the ability to rise to the top. Now, that’s a massive generalization for a society riddled with class systems, but it was possible on merit, connections (networking as we call it now) and proven track record. In the military/political field.

Q – The Roman empire fell spectacularly in the end and one can’t help but think of the phrase ‘pride goes before a fall’ – do you think we’re in danger of heading the same way now?  (That’s a bit of a ‘Mad Max’ question, but you know what I mean)

A – Well, the Roman Empire declined and dissolved over quite a long period, rather than collapsed in one go. It was weakened in many places and on many layers by a variety of things so when the crunch came, it was fatal. Here’s more about the Roman dusk:

My personal view for now is that we have to keep our heads, ignore the hysteria in the newspapers and dig out hard facts. Homo sapiens is supposed to be intelligent and adaptable. It would be a shame if she/he succumbed to irrationality and rumour and didn’t have the vision to look towards a better, more realistic future.

Q – I’m still intrigued by the concept that Roma Nova is ruled by women.  Do you think we should be to a much greater extent?  (I’m kind of thinking of Angela Merkel of Germany who seems to be the only leader in Europe recently not to have received a drubbing at the polls!)

Definitely! Women of all political shades and talents should be much more present in government, industry, science and commerce. There is a tendency to lump ‘women’ together as a heterogeneous group. We are people as well. 😉 Politically, you have had Mary Robinson, Margaret Thatcher, Hillary Clinton, Golda Meyer and Angela Merkel – all completely different characters, but they all stand out because they are so few. That’s the problem.

Q – Finally, what’s next for Carina and Roma Nova?  Are you working on a fourth title or would you like a break now to start a different project?

Roma Nova marches on! The fourth novel tells the early story of Aurelia Mitela, Carina’s grandmother. Book five will be about the terrible rebellion that almost destroyed Roma Nova. So I have quite a lot to be getting on with!

Many thanks for being my guest today!

A pleasure, as always, Christina. Thank you for having me!

So what’s SUCCESSIO about?

Roma Nova – the last remnant of the Roman Empire that has survived into the 21st century – is at peace. Carina Mitela, the heir of a leading family, but choosing the life of an officer in the Praetorian Guard Special Forces, is not so sure.

She senses danger crawling towards her when she encounters a strangely self-possessed member of the unit hosting their exchange exercise in Britain. When a blackmailing letter arrives from a woman claiming to be her husband Conrad’s lost daughter and Conrad tries to shut Carina out, she knows the threat is real.

Trying to resolve a young man’s indiscretion twenty-five years before turns into a nightmare that not only threatens to destroy all the Mitelae but also attacks the core of the imperial family itself. With her enemy holding a gun to the head of the heir to the imperial throne, Carina has to make the hardest decision of her life…

And here’s the SUCCESSIO book trailer (quite exciting!):

About Alison
Alison Morton writes Roman-themed alternate history thrillers with strong heroines. She holds a bachelor’s degree in French, German and Economics, a masters’ in history and lives in France with her husband.

A ‘Roman nut’ since age 11, she has visited sites throughout Europe including the alma mater, Rome. But it was the mosaics at Ampurias (Spain) that started her wondering what a modern Roman society would be like if run by women …

Both INCEPTIO, the first in the Roma Nova series, which was also shortlisted for the 2013 International Rubery Book Award, and PERFIDITAS, the second in series, have been honoured with the B.R.A.G. Medallion®, an award for independent fiction that rejects 90% of its applicants.  Alison’s third book SUCCESSIO is being launched this month!


Connect with Alison on her blog

Facebook author page

Twitter @alison-morton


Buying links (multiple retailers):




Barcelona Part II – Architecture and History

Since I love everything to do with history, I found Barcelona and the city’s architecture absolutely fascinating, and I can’t resist sharing some of the photos here on the blog.

First of all, there was the Old Town with its many narrow lanes and every now and then a piece of the old Roman wall popping up where you least expected it.  It was wonderful walking on the old paved streets, worn down by thousands of feet through the ages.  I couldn’t resist a visit to the Historical Museum too, where you can see a large area (4,000 sq.m.) of excavated Roman ruins, criss-crossed by walkways that showed everything in detail.  I’m always astonished at how the archaeologists can decipher old ruins and tell us exactly what each building was for, in this case a Roman laundry, dyeing workshop and a winemaking facility among other things!

Then there was the architecture of the buildings themselves.  The fantastic creations of Gaudi of course – the cathedral of La Sagrada Familia has to be seen to be believed! – but all over the town, on every street, there were some amazing houses.  I fell in love with quite a few, especially the Art Nouveau ones, and could quite happily live in an apartment there!  See here for yourselves and let me know what you think please.

I’m sure there was a lot that I missed, so I’m just going to have to go back another time!

I want to live in this lovely yellow house!

Gorgeous windows

A sunny courtyard to relax in

Old and new street signs

Love this gargoyle!

Lizards (?) crawling down Sagrada Familia

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.