Tuesday, 1 October 2013


I am currently reading INCEPTIO by the lovely Alison Morton Published 1st March 2013 by Silverwood Books and before I post my review, I wanted to invite Alison to talk about her novel . Take it away Alison!

Thank you very much for welcoming me to your blog, Paula.

My debut novel, INCEPTIO, was published 7 months ago at the end of three years of slog – researching, writing, and polishing. It’s a thriller, so it’s doubly exciting. Now, I’d like to tell you about it! But too much telling’s frowned on by Those Who Know, so let me show you…

An eleven year old fascinated by the mosaics in Ampurias (huge Roman site in Spain), I asked my father, “What would it be like if Roman women were in charge, instead of the men?” Maybe it was the fierce sun boiling my brain, maybe it was just a precocious kid asking a smartarse question. But clever man and senior ‘Roman nut’, my father replied, “What do you think it would be like?” Real life intervened (school, uni, career, military, marriage, motherhood, business ownership), but the idea bubbled away in my mind and INCEPTIO slowly took shape.

Of course, I made the classic mistake of submitting too soon, but had some encouraging replies. Several rewrites later and I’d received some requests for full manuscript, even from a US agent! I had replies like ‘If it was a straight thriller, I’d take it on’ and ‘Your writing is excellent, but it wouldn’t fit our list.’  I was (am!) passionate about my stories so I decided to self publish with bought-in publishing services. Using very carefully chosen high quality professional backing (editing, advice, registrations, typesetting, design, book jacket, proofing, etc.), I’ve found it a fantastic way for a new writer to enter the market.

How is an ‘alternate history thriller’ different from a normal thriller?

Alternate history is based on the idea of “what if”? What if King Harold had won the Battle of Hastings in 1066? Or if Julius Caesar had taken notice of the warning that assassins wanted to murder him on the Ides of March? Sometimes, it could be little things such as in the film Sliding Doors, when the train door shuts and Gwyneth Paltrow’s character splits into two; one rides away on the train, the other is left standing on the platform.

The rest of the story or history of a country, from that point on develops differently from the one we know. In my book, Roma Nova battled its way from a small colony somewhere north of Italy in the late fourth century into a high tech, financial mini-state which retained and developed Roman Republican values, but with a twist. It’s really fun working this out! The thriller story then takes place against this background. The nearest comparison would be J D Robb’s Eve Dallas Death series.

Stories with Romans are usually about famous emperors, epic battles, depravity, intrigue, wicked empresses and a lot of sandals, tunics and swords. But imagine the Roman theme projected sixteen hundred years further forward into the 21st century. How different would that world be?

So what’s INCEPTIO about?

New York – present day, alternate reality. Karen Brown, angry and frightened after surviving a kidnap attempt, has a harsh choice – being eliminated by government enforcer Jeffery Renschman or fleeing to the mysterious Roma Nova, her dead mother’s homeland in Europe. Founded sixteen centuries ago by Roman exiles and ruled by women, Roma Nova gives Karen safety, a ready-made family and a new career. But a shocking discovery about her new lover, the fascinating but arrogant special forces officer Conrad Tellus who rescued her in America, isolates her.

Renschman reaches into her new home and nearly kills her. Recovering, she is desperate to find out why he is hunting her so viciously. Unable to rely on anybody else, she undergoes intensive training, develops fighting skills and becomes an undercover cop. But crazy with bitterness at his past failures, Renschman sets a trap for her, knowing she has no choice but to spring it...

And next?  PERFIDITAS (Betrayal), the second book in the Roma Nova series, is due out on the 17th October. It follows on from Karen's adventures in INCEPTIO

You can find INCEPTIO on Amazon UK
  and Amazon US  Amazon US currently on sale for 99p and 99c

You can learn more about Alison and her writing on her sites
INCEPTIO facebook page
Twitter - @alison_morton

For a chance to win a paperback or an e-copy just reply to this question in the comments section. 
What event in history would you have turn out differently? Tell us why and how? 
Good luck!!!


  1. I'd have Richard III survive Bosworth Field, and a child of his marriage to Anne Neville follow him onto the English Throne. - Imagine no Henry VIII, Elizabeth I...

  2. I'd love to know how events would have played had Bonnie Prince Charlie not turned back at Derby but pushed on towards London. Would he have won the throne back for his father James, the Old Pretender? And if he had how would that have affected Britain's role in the world afterwards.

  3. I would have had Neville Chamberlain and others take the moral high road with Hitler and stomped on him before the marched on Poland. While that would not have wiped on antisemitism, it would have saved many millions, allowed a natural economic recovery from the Great Depression in Europe, allowed American to grow at a reasonable rate without developing a 'save the world' complex, and allowed the great societies of Europe the advantage of Jewish scholarship and talent. It either would have prevented the attack on Pearl Harbor or allowed the US to fight its own war which likely would have been resolved without resort to Hiroshama and Nagasaki. The Russian influence on European culture would have been more socio-political than military.

  4. Good heavens, what fantastic comments!
    You may all find this site interesting for the development of alternate/alternative timelines. http://althistory.wikia.com/wiki/Main_Page

  5. Great comments!! I of course would like to have seen Harold win Hastings, mostly to avoid the terrible suffering that he inflicted on the population, peasant or thegnly (noble). Harold could be quite merciful when he wanted but if he had any sense he would not have allowed William his life, for I dont think he would have given up if he had been sent home to Normandy. But I suspect that Harold would have had problems with William's sons who would no doubt have wanted revenge and the crown they would have believed was theirs by right so the inevitable could have happened, the Norman invasion would have come at some point. I would have liked to have seen Harold support Edgar perhaps, as his successor. Edgar proved to be courageous and brave, unfortunately he was surrounded by a defeated, demoralised people and eventually all the rebels capitulated. The steadfast having died at Hastings with their lord Harold. But if Harold had lived, under his tutelage, he might have proved to be a great king.