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Perfiditas (The Roma Nova Series) (Volume 2) Paperback – April 30, 2015
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"Alison Morton has built a fascinating, exotic world! Carina's a bright, sassy detective with a winning dry sense of humour. I warmed to her quickly and wanted to find out how she dealt with the problems thrown in her path. The plot is pretty snappy too and gets off to a quick start which made it easy to keep turning the pages. There are a fair number of alternative historical fictions where Rome never disappeared, but for my money this is one of the better ones." - Simon Scarrow, author of the Eagle (Macro and Cato) series
"I can't resist an alternative history and Alison Morton writes one of the best. Powerful storytelling, vivid characters and a page-turning plot makes Alison Morton's PERFIDITAS a must read." - Jean Fullerton, author of the historical East London novels
"Pure enjoyment! A clever, complex plot set in the beguilingly convincing fictional country of Roma Nova. Scenes and characters are sometimes so vividly described that I felt I was watching a movie. This compelling tale rendered me inseparable from my copy right up to the last turn of the page." - Sue Cook, writer and broadcaster
B.R.A.G. MedallionTM honoree
About the Author
Alison Morton grew up in West Kent. She completed a BA in French, German and Economics and thirty years later a MA in History. She now 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 walking on the mosaics at Ampurias (Spain) that triggered her wondering what a modern Roman society would be like if run by women…
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Top Customer Reviews
There are many novels that take as their starting point the assumption that a major historical event turned out differently: The South won the US Civil War, Hitler conquered Europe and kept it, the Spanish bested Drake or Napoleon won at Waterloo. Alison Morton’s four Nova Roma books take a different path. Instead of a different outcome, Ms. Morton imagines what happened if a culture survived.
The idea: A small corner of the Roman Empire survived, keeping some of the culture and religion of Rome – and Latin! – alive into the twentieth century, while the country itself – Nova Roma – had to change to accommodate technological changes. Like Switzerland, Nova Roma has never been conquered. Morton takes practices that were alive during Roman times, such as Senators having clients, and imagines how those practices morphed in almost 2,000 years.
There is a further twist, a twist that makes the books so imaginative. Unlike Switzerland, a patriarchal society, Nova Roma is a matriarchy, albeit a modern one.
So what is excellent about the books?
1. Use of history. Ms. Morton has thought out how today would be different if Nova Roma existed for the past 2000 years. BUT, this history is dropped into the plot in frozen blocks; instead, only when relevant is it mentioned.
2. Use of history. As far as I can determine or remember from my history and years of Latin, the little details of society then are accurate. This makes it so easy to accept Ms. Morton’s recreation of them in modern form – no “willing suspension of disbelief” is required.
3. Plot. Well thought through. Each book has a natural conclusion (no cliffhangers), while creating the beginnings of events that will form the plots for the next books.
4. Characters. I am a fan of strong women – women with “agency” – the ability to make things happen rather than respond to events. It is also the ability to learn from mistakes.
5. Complicated personal relationship(s). There is a romance here, in addition to mystery and suspense. The romance is far from linear.
What didn’t I like? I think that the female lead, Carina Mitela, should have made a different romantic choice. However, I’m male, and I tend to be harder on male characters than I gather female readers are.
My standard disclaimer: I purchase the books, I don’t know the author and I wasn’t asked to review them.
Perfiditas is another winner for Alison Morton in this worthy sequel to Inceptio. The novel may be 2nd in the Roma Nova series, but it works as a stand-alone, too. It has everything I love in story: it is fast-paced, spine tingling, nerve-wracking, and has vivid characters, including the kick-ass Carina. Though the country Roma Nova is all in the author’s mind in this alternate historical, it feels very real. Morton’s knowledge of Roman history and culture shines in the little details. Morton keeps you guessing throughout, and just when you think all is well, she tosses in twists and turns that build to a satisfying conclusion.
Disclaimer: I met Ms. Morton at the 2015 Historical Novel Society Conference. She gave me a signed copy of Perfiditas in exchange for an honest review.
I must confess that I was concerned about the second half of the book as I couldn’t see how the author could maintain interest after the first half treason plot. However, my concerns turned out to go for naught as plots and sub-plots emerge around the legal and political fallout of Carina’s activities in bringing the traitors to justice. One bombshell of a plot twist had me stop reading for a moment so I could exhale and exclaim, ‘Oh my, I didn’t see that one coming.’ Kudos to the author and 4 stars for Perfiditas