Thursday, 20 December 2018

Roma Nova Extra by Alison Morton

Review by JJ Marsh

What we thought:

This is the perfect companion volume to The Roma Nova series. But even if you'd not read one of these alternative history books, you'd enjoy this as a standalone.

A selection of short stories which go off at a tangent from the novels, or fill in some of the gaps. Each has its own identity, characters and narrative arc, while nestling comfortably under the overarching premise of a Roman empire that never died, but run by men and women as equals.

The stories are divided into two sections - Glimpses from the Past, and Modern Times. The author's grasp on historical and imagined detail from AD 370 to the present and into the future of 2029 are convincingly grounded, allowing the reader a privileged insight into another world.

I was expecting intrigue, powerful women, action and excitement as an avid reader of the Roma Nova series, but the romantic element took me by surprise. Here is love: for one's family, country, potential partner and even a statue. It is touching and moves you when you least expect it.

One of the elements I enjoyed most was the connections between each tale. The reader recognises physical and personality traits through the generations, relishing how the protagonist of one tale becomes an influential ancestor in another. It is like being privy to a dynasty that never existed.
But you really wish it had.

You’ll enjoy this if you liked: The Roma Nova Series, The Power by Naomi Alderman, or Code Name Lise by Larry Loftis

Avoid if you don’t like: Alternative history, wide-ranging timelines, strong women

Ideal accompaniments: Mead (powerful yet sweet), cheese, grapes and a crisp apple with Nabucco playing in the background.

Available on Amazon

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