26 May 2016

Excerpt Thursday: INSURRECTIO by Alison Morton

This week, we’re pleased to welcome author and Unusual Historicals contributor, ALISON MORTON with her latest release,  INSURRECTIO, the fifth in her popular Roma Nova series.

Join us again on Sunday for an author interview, with more details about the story behind the story. One lucky visitor will get a signed print copy of INSURRECTIO – this giveaway is open internationally. Be sure to leave your email address in the comments of today's post or Sunday's author interview for a chance to win. The winner will be contacted privately by email. Here's the blurb…

A woman defies a charming populist demagogue making a power grab. Stopping him could risk her own destruction.

‘The second fall of Rome?’
Aurelia Mitela, ex-Praetorian and imperial councillor in Roma Nova, scoffs at her intelligence chief when he throws a red file on her desk.

But early 1980s Roma Nova, the last province of the Roman Empire that has survived into the twentieth century, has problems – a ruler frightened of governing, a centuries-old bureaucracy creaking for reform and, worst of all, a rising nationalist movement with a charismatic leader who wants to destroy Aurelia.

Horrified when her daughter is brutally attacked in a demonstration turned riot, Aurelia tries to rally resistance to the growing fear and instability. But it may already be too late to save Roma Nova from meltdown and herself from entrapment and destruction by her lifelong enemy.…


“INSURRECTIO - a taut, fast-paced thriller and I enjoyed it enormously. Rome, guns and rebellion. Darkly gripping stuff.” 

Conn Iggulden, author of the Emperor series

“Exploring the insidious spread of totalitarian ideals that undermine the social fabric of Roma Nova, INSURRECTIO is an excellent novel that builds to a fast paced, tense climax that keeps the reader on edge to the very end. Highly recommended.”
Elisabeth Storrs – author of the ‘Tales of Ancient Rome’ series

“Alison Morton's INSURRECTIO is a triumph of the imagination. She uses her forensic knowledge of ancient times to create a Roma Nova that feels utterly authentic, populated by genuine real life characters. Roma Nova is under attack from within by a merciless dictator and only Aurelia Mitela has the strength to face him. But even Aurelia's powers and principles are stretched by an enemy who seems to know more about her than she does herself. A brilliant helter-skelter mix of action and intrigue that hurtles to a bloody, heart-rending climax.”
Douglas Jackson – author of Gaius Valerius Verrens series

“Morton’s thrilling world-building is a masterclass in alternate history. You don’t just believe her version – you live every twist and turn.”
E.M. Powell – author of the Fifth Knight series

INSURRECTIO has been selected by the Historical Novel Society as  indie Editor’s Choice Spring 2016 and longlisted for the 2017 HNS Indie Award 

**An excerpt from INSURRECTIO**

Early 1980s Roma Nova. The influential Twelve Families Council is meeting to discuss a dubious will that has caused a breach with the imperatrix, the ruler of Roma Nova. The unsavoury Caius Tellus has been summoned to appear before the Council. Our heroine, Aurelia Mitelia, the senior family head, presides.

Heavy pounding at the door. Who was knocking as if it was the exit from Tartarus? Domitia Tella wheezed and broke into a fit of coughing. Quintus’s figure stiffened. Of course, it could be only one person. As the noise continued, I signalled Branca to fetch some water for Tella. Her hand, barely more than skin-covered bones, shook as she raised it to her lips.
     I nodded to Quirinia. She unlocked the door and Caius Tellus strode in, brushing against her, causing her to take an involuntary step backwards. He wore a shirt, no tie, casual jacket and slacks. He stopped a few paces into the atrium, took in the thirteen of us and gave a half smile, half sneer. He sauntered along the table nodding at each of the family heads as if he was their superior. He reached his great-aunt’s chair and placed his hand on her shoulder. She flinched.
     The bastard.
     ‘What a cosy gathering you have here, Aurelia. Is it time for tea?’ He looked around. ‘Aren’t you going to invite me to sit?’
     He shrugged and folded his arms. The scars running down in white lines from under his nose, through his lips and to the edge of his chin stood out prominently, much more so than at Constantia’s funeral. Was he anxious about this appearance today? He looked down at me, his eyes hard as agates, but a tight smile pasted on his uneven lips. Every time I looked at his face, I remembered fighting him for my daughter’s life. I had no regret for ruining his film star looks before sending him back north to prison.
     ‘Well? What do you want me here for, Aurelia? I have other, more important things to do than this.’ He tipped his head slightly and made a big show of studying his watch.
     ‘As you know perfectly well from the summons served on you, Caius, we’re deciding on the custody of Constantia Tella’s child. Under the rules when there is a dispute, the Families Council or, if necessary, the Families Court decides. Quintus Tellus disputes your claim to custody. As the child prefers his company and Quintus and his father offer a stable family environment, we are inclined to grant his claim. The alternative, if there is an equal vote for and against, is to foster him with a family where there are other young children in the household.’
     ‘All very elegant and no doubt you’ve gossiped with the others here to stitch up the decision, but you’ve forgotten one vital fact.’
     ‘Really? And what is that?’
     ‘Constantia’s testament naming me the child’s guardian.’ He threw two ribbon-bound sheets down onto the table in front of me. ‘It’s legal and binding. No argument.’
     I studied it. The date was a week before Constantia had died.
     ‘Quintus, is this Constantia’s signature?’
     He picked up the stiff papers as if they carried the plague. He read the document through, then returned it to me and nodded. He looked as if he was going to be sick. Caius smirked at his brother.
     ‘I would like Cornelia’s view on this testament’s validity,’ I said.
     She studied it for a full five minutes, flipping back from one page to another. The rain was hammering down on the glazed centre of the roof directly above me as if Jupiter himself was trying to burst through. I longed to get up and walk over to the French windows to break the tension. Eventually, Cornelia looked up.
     ‘It’s legal,’ she said.

INSURRECTIO is available as an ebook from Amazon, iBooks, Kobo, B&N Nook and as a paperback, author signed paperback and from other retailers.

Watch the book trailer: https://youtu.be/eXGslRLjv6g

Learn more about Alison Morton