NEW RELEASE | Exsilium | A Superb New Roma Nova Book by Alison Morton

Alison Morton

Exile – Living death to a Roman
AD 395. In a Christian Roman Empire, the penalty for holding true to the traditional gods is execution.
Maelia Mitela, her dead husband condemned as a pagan traitor, leaving her on the brink of ruin, grieves for her son lost to the Christians and is fearful of committing to another man.
Lucius Apulius, ex-military tribune, faithful to the old gods and fixed on his memories of his wife Julia’s homeland of Noricum, will risk everything to protect his children’s future.
Galla Apulia, loyal to her father and only too aware of not being the desired son, is desperate to escape Rome after the humiliation of betrayal by her feckless husband
For all of them, the only way to survive is exile.

Note: EXSILIUM is the sequel to JULIA PRIMA and the two books make up the Foundation strand in the Roma Nova series.
Buying links for EXSILIUM:
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I had the pleasure of chatting with Alison about her writing and Exsilium:

Does writing energize or exhaust you and how do you wind down / recharge?
Writing does both! It’s exciting starting a new book. Your brain is fizzing with ideas and you try not to think of the 90,000 words in front of you. Your heroine is before you in a pile of trouble and you’re about to throw even more at her.
At the 45,000 word mark, you dread sitting down to type even one sentence. Then you give yourself a severe talking to, gather up your grit and set off again. Sometimes you don’t even realise how exhausted you are if you’ve had a wonderful day with your characters or unearthed a juicy piece of research.
Recharge? Hm… Eating and sleeping, mostly, but I do enjoy going for walks in our French countryside and enjoying a glass of wine in the evening.
What kind of research do you do, and how long do you spend researching before beginning a book?
Luckily, I’m writing in my familiar environment – Ancient Rome, my lifelong obsession – so I plunge straight in. I do re-check details as I go along, though, such as types of soft fruit grown or winter temperatures in a particular place.
About your latest book:
What was your favourite part of writing this book?
Developing the characters! Stories are about people wherever and whenever they live and watching them make their personal journey along with the physical one is very satisfying. In EXSILIUM, the characters had to make life-changing decisions. Some discovered hidden strengths; others were able to free themselves of former constraints. All good fun!
How do you select the names of your characters?
In a way they were preordained. EXSILIUM is the 4th century prequel of the 21st century Roma Nova thriller series which starts with INCEPTIO. Although it’s unlikely in the real world for descendants to have the same family name as an ancestor from 1600 years ago, I decided to ignore that. I’m writing fiction. 😉 So the lead characters’ family names in EXSILIUM are Apulia and Mitela, the same as the 21st century ones. Their first names are mostly, but not exclusively traditional Latin names.

‘Is this journey going to be safe? We’ll be taking our womenfolk and children after all.’ Sellus, a former imperial secretary and recent addition to the Senate, enquired.
I paused and looked round. Some were watching eagerly or anxiously for my reply. Aquilius leant back, his arms crossed, Volusenia leant forward. I glanced at Gaius who shrugged, then at Calavius who stared back at me.
‘Nothing is safe in this life,’ I replied as steadily as I could. ‘Every time one of us went on campaign as young men, we might have not returned, or come back crippled. Anybody might be assaulted or robbed on the way to market. Our women and children might be abused, raped even, if the barbarians invade Rome.’
‘Surely that would never happen!’ Aemilius looked horrified.
‘Look at your histories and remember Brennus and his Gauls.’
‘But that was centuries ago.’
‘Perhaps, but the barbarian threat has not gone away. It is amongst us as well as around us.’
‘Nothing like cheering us up, Apulius, is there?’ Varus’s voice rippled with sarcasm. He turned in his seat towards the others. ‘This whole venture is dangerous. Staying in Rome to be persecuted by the extreme element of the Christos followers is dangerous. Do you completely trust your household slaves not to betray you as idolators when the carrot of their freedom is dangled in front of them? Also dangerous.’

Alison Morton writes award-winning thrillers featuring tough but compassionate heroines. Her ten-book Roma Nova series is set in an imaginary European country where a remnant of the Roman Empire has survived into the 21st century and is ruled by women who face conspiracy, revolution and heartache but use a sharp line in dialogue. The latest, EXSILIUM, plunges us back to the late 4th century, to the very foundation of Roma Nova.
She blends her fascination for Ancient Rome with six years’ military service and a life of reading crime, historical and thriller fiction. On the way, she collected a BA in modern languages and an MA in history.
Alison now lives in Poitou in France, the home of Mélisende, the heroine of her two contemporary thrillers, Double Identity and Double Pursuit.
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