Karen Brown has been living out her life as a normal young working woman in New York until a sequence of mysterious events turn her life into what can only be compared to a spy thriller. Slowly, the jigsaw of her life is revealed to her and she struggles to make the pieces fit the whole picture; but before Karen can accomplish this, she is suddenly thrust, without any warning, into a whole new dimension of reality – one she had not had any time to prepare for. Learning the secrets of her family, she realises that her life will never be the same again and her importance in the world is not only of great interest of those that seek to protect her, but also of those who would seek to destroy her.
She flees from her old life in New York to her new life in Roma Nova, the home of her dead mother. Roma Nova is an opulent but small state in Europe that has been created after the fall of Rome. She starts a new life in her dynastic Domus Mitela, run by her grandmother and head of her household, Aurelia Mitela. Karen inherits the family business, Brown Enterprises, started by her dead father in the US. Thus, she becomes one of the wealthiest women in the world. Karen transforms into Carina, her Latin name and in order to survive in her new home, she must learn to speak, behave and look like a native. She falls in love with the charismatic Conrad who is a special agent in the Praetorian Guard Special Forces, but a shocking discovery reveals that he has not been as truthful to her as he should have been and Carina/Karen now has to find her own way as a very rich and powerful young woman in a new country.
But money cannot be relied upon to protect her from the very evil that she fled New York to be rid of. The Cunning and determined Jeffrey Renschman reaches into her new home and almost kills her. Carina is now more resolved than ever to be in control of her own destiny and life. She can trust no one but herself and she embarks on an intense training programme to develop the skills she needs to survive. Crazed with an inexplicable bitterness and resentment against her, the despicable Renschman continues to hound her and Carina is desperate to find out why – but this curiosity leads her on a perilous journey from which, she might never survive.....
INCEPTIO is not an alternative history novel in the usual sense, more, it is set in a modern alternative world that is the product of an alternative historical creation that Ms Morton has produced. Roma Nova is a believable country with a very unique backdrop. I enjoyed the way that every aspect of this world slotted into the ancient infrastructure carried over from Rome. I loved to see the Praetorian Guard was still active after all this time. Roma Nova is exactly how I would imagine Rome would be now if it had indeed survived, the only difference is that rather than being a patriarchal society it is run by women. Ms Morton’s concept for the book had its seeds in her early years and her love of all things Roman is evident in her creation of this imagined world. The idea of the embedded story line of Karen being the lost grandchild waiting to inherit a fortune she did not realise was hers and her sudden transportation to a strange new homeland that could trace its foundations back to ancient times, is a marvellous conception and can only have come from a very creative mind.
It takes awhile to get to know the characters and as this book is written from the first person and involves a large cast, it makes it even harder. Carina/Karen is somewhat complex and at times I wanted to shake her and tell her to stop being so stubborn but too be fair, I would be quite afraid to shake her, as she is an amazing fighter and can take down a man with ease. She does however get a good knocking about herself, so much so that I wondered how she would still be able to walk again! But that is the world that she becomes part of, a world where one has to be physically strong in order to survive and fight. But she does have a sensual side to her though we usually only see that in the bedroom. By the time I got to the end of the book, my feelings were still unsure about her and any of the other characters.
All this aside, this is a fast paced thriller and it leaves the starting line with a bang, then slows its pace somewhat in the middle, perhaps losing its tempo too much, but then it begins to gather speed and momentum as the excitement picks up once more as it reaches the plot’s climax.
INCEPTIO is a good read, its unique concept makes it special and the reader will be looking forward to more of Karen’s adventures, which is fortune as the sequel, PERFIDITAS is now available. You will enjoy this book especially if you are into spy thrillers like Jack Reacher and there is a touch of Dan Brown also in the style.