SUCCESSIO (Roma Nova Thriller Series Book 3) Kindle Edition
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|Length: 297 pages||Word Wise: Enabled||Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled|
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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.
Enjoyed it very much. Took two and a half days and carried my Kindle around 'till finished. Please, Keep the series going
Now about the risk-taking: after creating one of the most fascinating heroes in my recent memory in book one, and shamefully marginalizing him in book two, the author now proceeds to dismantle the mystique piece by piece, leading us to wonder whether Conradus has not, in fact, gone mad. It seems incredible that someone in such a crucially important position can behave so irrationally without consequences and, indeed, when he finally steps over the line, the Imperatrix's retribution is swift and merciless. Carina, for her part, having lost her most precious supporting influences, starts to crack under pressure. No longer the formidable (and perhaps too super-human) heroine of many risky undercover operations, she is now at her most vulnerable, a distraught mother and wife, torn between her devotion to the highly responsible position of Head of Training and Personnel (with the rank of Lieutenant Colonel) and her tender family bonds.
I read through this thrilling sequel with a mixture of fascinated horror and impotent frustration at how ridiculously some of the characters behaved. However, it all makes for a very lively read with the constant anticipation of a staggering revelation that will make sense of all the inconsistencies.
For me this is not an ideal stand-alone book, and I would strongly advise anyone considering it to start instead at the beginning with INCEPTIO, and carry on with the equally brilliant PERFIDITAS, to get the full thrill of the evolving saga. The author excels at keeping a large cast under control, with vivid characterisation and exciting developments defining their personalities much more interestingly than just passive description. However, in this book, I feel the balance has tipped a little too much in favour of non-stop action and the characters' believability has suffered as a result. It's a personal minor criticism and in no way does this detract from the book's overall quality. After all, I don't mind a little suspension of belief in exchange for the highly-charged events that drive the storyline. The ending was a little abrupt and I would have preferred to say goodbye a bit more leisurely to some of the characters that had become so familiar over the course of three books and nearly a thousand pages.
So, well done, Alison Morton, for entertaining me on the edge of my seat for so long, but I could have used a fuller winding up of this fascinating saga. A final word should be said about the cinematic quality of the action scenes, especially the old castle sequence, which will remain in my mind as though I had watched it on film. In fact, as I said before, this whole trilogy is first-class movie material and, in the right hands, would adapt brilliantly.
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Alison Morton’s Successio is the third in the Carina and Conradus saga set in an alternate time line...Read more
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