Thursday 5 June 2014

Book Launch: Alison Morton’s SUCCESSIO

I had a splendidly enjoyable evening yesterday when I attended the launch in London of Alison Morton’s SUCCESSIO, the third novel in her very entertaining Roma Nova series. Having read and admired Alison’s two earlier books, INCEPTIO and PERFIDITAS, I had been looking forwards the new book and now, having acquired a signed copy, I’m looking forward to getting stuck in.
Alison's oeuvre, set out with justifiable pride
Roma Nova is a fascinating concept - a 21st. Century nation, located in the area between modern Italy and Modern Switzerland. It represents a survival of the Roman Empire and which has, with some very significant deviations, remained true to austere Senatorian ideals and principles. The rest of the world is very like ours - but not quite - and all the modern technologies we are familiar with are in place. This is not an alternate world of the "Steampunk" variety, but one that is wholly credible and which could have come about had history worked out just a little differently.

Alison - on the right - in action, portrait of her lead character, Carina, on the left
During the launch session Alison was interviewed by the well-known BBC presenter Sue Cook. “Interview” was however wholly the word since Alison is such a lively and witty speaker that she her answers amounted to a one-woman show on topics relating to her own novels, her life experiences, her writing techniques and much more besides. Beneath the humour however once sensed the utter dedication, organisation and professionalism that Alison brings to her research (including how much to leave out) and to her writing. She gave what was in many respects an abbreviated master-class in “how to become a novelist”. (Given the fact that Roma Nova is run on matriarchal principles I should perhaps rephrase that as "mistress class"!)

Interviewer Sue Cook (left) with Alison after the interview
Other members of the British historical-novelist community were also present, making it a convivial and memorable occasion. For all of us it was a privilege to hear Alison speak and I can only hope that she’ll be bringing us back for many more visits to Roma Nova. If you haven’t had a trip there already this is the time to start.

(There’s already a link to Alison’s very enjoyable blog to be found in this blog for some time – you’ll find it in the bar to the right and by clicking on it you’ll find out more about the fascinating and internally-consistent alternate world that she has created.)

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