Sunday, December 1, 2013

Inceptio by Alison Morton


New York, present day. Karen Brown, angry and frightened after surviving a kidnap attempt, has a harsh choice - being eliminated by government enforcer Jeffery Renschman or fleeing to the mysterious Roma Nova, her dead mother's homeland in Europe. Founded sixteen centuries ago by Roman exiles and ruled by women, Roma Nova gives Karen safety and a ready-made family. But a shocking discovery about her new lover, the fascinating but arrogant special forces officer Conrad Tellus, who rescued her in America, isolates her. Renschman reaches into her new home and nearly kills her. Recovering, she is desperate to find out why he is hunting her so viciously. Unable to rely on anybody else, she undergoes intensive training, develops fighting skills and becomes an undercover cop. But crazy with bitterness at his past failures, Renschman sets a trap for her, knowing she has no choice but to spring it...


Although not strictly a historical novel, the premise of this story intrigued me from the beginning. I enjoyed it so much I wanted to post it on this blog, especially when I didn’t know what to expect of an alternative history contemporary novel.

Miss Morton’s version of the world is that ancient Roman society endured when a group of traditionalists set up a nation called Roma Nova where the Latin names and language have survived.

Karen/Carina learns that the EUS [Eastern United States] is not the Land of the Free benevolent democracy she was brought up to believe, but a corrupt xenophobic superpower wielding bully boy tactics over smaller countries. Orphaned young, Karen/Carina discovers from a dashing stranger named Conrad Tellus, that she is in fact an heiress of a large corporation that the American Government want to take away from her, and have no qualms about how they go about it.

As Roma Nova aristocracy, Karen is offered the protection of the military. The bad guy is a shady Government agent, Renschman with his own agenda for disposing of Carina, [I would be interested to see how American readers view this version of the US, where the CIA/FBI and secret service etc. don’t come out at all well.]

At first, when our heroine is subjected to threats and intimidation, she does a lot of ‘How dare you’ and ‘You can’t do this’ but she catches on quick that they can and they are, so changes her tactics. 

Conrad Tellus rushes Karen to their legation in Washington. Karen thinks she is safe for a while, but the big bad Renschman hasn’t given up yet. Her only chance to escape persecution is to give up her US citizenship and de-camp to Roma Nova, and a reunion with her grandmother in a country ruled by women and the twelve leading families who hailed from Imperial Rome. An inheriting bloodline through the female line - far more practical and makes perfect sense.

Karen/Carina starts off terrified and disbelieving, but she soon grows into a courageous woman determined never to be vulnerable again. She was betrayed once by her surviving family [not Grandma] and second by her government. She’s not taking any more nonsense and she grows accustomed to being rich with remarkable ease!

The story is exciting, and the pace excellent. I loved all the Latin names, and the modern Praetorian Guard. Just when I thought Karen/Carina’s situation couldn’t get worse – she is presented with a get out of jail free card. Miss Morton’s what-if scenario never becomes unrealistic or trite. The tense conflict kept me turning pages to find out how Karen/Carina was going to foil the bad guys and keep her inheritance.  I even began believing in Roma Nova and how much I would love to visit.

I had a look at Ms Morton’s Amazon page and see there is a sequel - Perfiditas - Can’t wait to read it and these covers are beautiful!

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