The Aurelia/Caius grudge match

Dramatis personae” – you may have seen this at the top of the cast list in those plays you read at school. “Personae” is Latin for people and “dramatis” means of the drama or play. For the Roma Nova novels, it seems entirely appropriate in a world of people who are definitely dramatic!

So who are the main “personae” and what is their grudge about?

Aurelia Mitela is our heroine. She started her existence in INCEPTIO as the older stateswoman, the advisor, Carina’s loving grandmother and ‘backstop’. She was a senator, businesswoman and advisor to Imperatrix Silvia, Roma Nova’s ruler. She comes from one of the Twelve Families which helped found Roma Nova at the end of the fourth century, so she has a lot of history supporting her. Aurelia plays a role in Carina’s life throughout the first trilogy of INCEPTIO, PERFIDITAS and SUCCESSIO, but it’s in SUCCESSIO that to see glimpses of Aurelia’s personal history, of the dangers that threatened to engulf her as a young woman, and of her personal nemesis, Caius Tellus.

In AURELIA, when we go back to the late 1960s, she’s the tough young Praetorian special forces officer who will become that strong older ‘wise head’. She has a lot to learn as she juggles responsibilities when her mother dies and is then called to state service as a spy.

Her battle with Caius scars her physically and emotionally, but there is a compensation for her. By the time of INSURRECTIO, nearly thirteen years later, she’s matured into a senior councillor but falters in her relationship with her daughter Marina. Of course, that all explodes when Caius comes back on the scene. Aurelia still has a mental block about him which gives him a psychlogical hold over her, however much she protests. At the beginning of RETALIO, she’s in a desperate place; friendless (apart from her faithful lover), ostracised by her fellow exiles, physically weak and emotionally fragile. But then her deep love of Roma Nova forces its way to the surface and she can’t ignore it…

And Caius? The young bully who spat on the five year old Aurelia’s food, stuck the seven year old’s head down the kitchen drain, tried to rape the teenage Aurelia? Given every privilege by his mother and grandmother, Caius had never had to struggle for anything. Strong willed and  intelligent he dominated  his circle and charmed older adults with his good looks and broad smiles.

And when he reached adulthood, he had no idea of anybody else’s interest but his own. But the chief failing that gnaws away at him is that he could never break Aurelia’s shell, either with charm or by force. He resents that she can see through him and takes it very personally…

The stage is set for the end game. Roma Nova’s future is in the balance. Aurelia must take the biggest risk in its history and in her own life. Whether she will overcome her inner doubt and be able to face Caius again is something even she doesn’t know.

Read more about RETALIO

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Alison Morton is the author of Roma Nova thrillers –  INCEPTIO,  PERFIDITAS,  SUCCESSIO,  AURELIA,  INSURRECTIO  and RETALIO.  CARINA, a novella, and ROMA NOVA EXTRA, a collection of short stories, are now available.  Audiobooks are available for four of the series. NEXUS, an Aurelia Mitela novella, is now out.

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