Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Successio by Alison Morton


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, 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 at the head of the heir to the imperial throne, Carina has to make the hardest decision of her life –


In this third book in Ms Morton’s saga of the Roma Nova aristocracy, Carina Mitela’s life does not get any easier. Not only does she have to cope with wayward teenage children and an even more rebellious step-daughter, she is faced with an indiscretion of her husbands that comes back to haunt them all. Nicola Sandbrook, the daughter Conrad never knew he had, is not only resentful but has inherited the sociopathic tendencies of her paternal grandfather, Caius Tellus.

She is bent on a twisted revenge of her own imagination and determined to bring down the family she was never a part of. One aspect I foundsurprising in this heavily family oriented society, was the way Conrad doesn’t present a united front with his ex-partner, wife and six children – no he takes Nicola’s side through guilt, misplaced loyalty and a preponderance to use his position as Legate to conceal evidence against this unspeakableand destructive girl.

Conrad definitely has issues, but I found myself unsympathetic toward him and his ‘reasons’ and squarely on Carina’s side as she goes to battle in protecting her children against all threats. Threats Conrad appears happy to ignore.

Carina has the battle of her life ahead of her, in fact one that at times I wondered if she could survive.  Her daughter Allegra and stepdaughter Stella both have their own voice in this story and show all the signs of being interesting characters for future volumes in the Roma Nova saga. Interestingly the two sons play a minor, almost invisible part.

A worthy addition to the list and one which kept me reading.

Anita Davison is an historical fiction author whose latest release, ‘Royalist Rebel’ a biographical novel set in 17th Century England, is released by Claymore Press under the name Anita Seymour

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