Friday, 13 February 2015

Inceptio by Alison Morton

Reviewer: JJ Marsh

What We Thought:
A book that doesn’t easily fit a genre, this is a modern action tale set against an alternate history. It’s exciting and pacy and contains lots of unexpected twists, but what attracted me most was the premise. A place where women make the decisions, right in the heart of Europe?

Our modern New Yorker heroine, Karen Brown, upsets the wrong guy and finds her options drastically reduced. Not only that, but she's attracting all the wrong kind of attention. When she learns of a relative in Roma Nova, the female-dominated European country which arose out of the ashes of the Roman Empire, it’s time to pack her bags.

She assumes a new identity, goes undercover, learns to fight and begins to understand how the politics work. All the while keeping two men in her sights: Renschman, who is out to kill her, and Conrad Tellus, who is her mentor, bodyguard and ...?

The tempo is snappy, the key characters believable and appealing, and the setting fascinates. So much so you actually wish it existed. In fact, that would be my only regret – that we didn’t get to see more of this world and how it operates at the ordinary level. Although the Latin references, alternate curses and glimpses of the architecture tantalised, I wanted a guided tour. But there are two more books in the series, following the transformations of our heroine, so there’s a great deal more to explore.

You’ll enjoy this if you liked: The Afrika Reich, Fatherland, Rats

Avoid if you dislike: Latin, geography, history, violence

Ideal accompaniments: Half a bottle of Franciacorta, green olives stuffed with anchovies and Lux Aeterna by Kronos Quartet

Genre: Contemporary, Historical Fiction

Available from Amazon.


  1. Thank you so much for a lovely review. Although I prefer olives à la grècque, I really must try Franciacorta...

  2. Dear Bookmuse,

    Re your request for a guided tour, Sol Populi travel journalist Claudia Dixit reports on what’s on offer for visitors to Roma Nova...