EXSILIUM published! What is it about a book launch?

EXSILIUM is the eleventh in the Roma Nova series, thirteenth fiction and fifteenth full book that I’ve written. I’m not counting the four contributions to collections, although I should. 😉

My first Roma Nova story, INCEPTIO, came out in 2013 to a packed (standing room only at one stage) upper floor at Waterstone’s in Tunbridge Wells. Broadcaster Sue Cook spoke and everybody celebrated with me. I could hardly believe it. It was wonderful.

I tend not to do big party-type launches now, but I still drink bubbly and eat chocolate. But I celebrate, mostly online which is where everybody seems to be.

The exciting thing is sharing the joy, sharing the world you’ve built, relishing the enjoyment other people have experienced reading your book. And I hope they’re not merely being polite. 😉

EXSILIUM has taken a long time to be written, edited and published – not quite eighteen months. I wrote a short story (tied to EXSILIUM) for Historical Stories of Exile and published the special 10th Anniversary hardback edition of INCEPTIO during that time as well as speaking in a fair number of literary events and being clobbered by Covid. Those are my excuses and I’m sticking to them!

More seriously, EXSILIUM takes place at a disruptive and very strange period in the Western Roman Empire. Historical resources are even more random than usual – some are wonderful, others polarised on the basis of religion – but they are there. And I had to track them down with the assiduity of a Roman agens in rebus and this took time.

Many Roman historical fiction stories concentrate on the Julio-Claudian dynasty and the ‘glory days’ of Rome, but relatively few roam the territory of the end of the 4th century.

Much of the Roman state system, although crumbling or at least fraying noticeably at the edges, still worked; administration and the rule of law mostly worked. But Rome’s rule was inevitably diminishing by AD 395 with its land loss (ergo tax revenue loss), an aggressive state religion undermining Rome’s thousand year traditions, barbarian incursion and settlement, and the rise of warlords controlling child emperors. Small wonder that people were forced to make incredibly difficult decisions to protect themselves. Within eighty years, there would be no Western Roman Empire.

However, I hope you enjoy EXSILIUM. Maelia, Lucius and Galla reflect these difficult times and we follow how they dealt with them. Their story also provides the ancient backdrop to the modern stories about Carina, Aurelia, Conrad (and even Caius). And we all need to know where we’ve come from.

Happy reading!

Alison Morton is the author of Roma Nova thrillers –  INCEPTIO, CARINA (novella), PERFIDITAS, SUCCESSIO,  AURELIA, NEXUS (novella), INSURRECTIO  and RETALIO,  and ROMA NOVA EXTRA, a collection of short stories.  Audiobooks are available for four of the series. Double Identity, a contemporary conspiracy, starts a new series of thrillers. JULIA PRIMA,  Roma Nova story set in the late 4th century, starts the Foundation stories. The sequel, EXSILIUM, is now out.

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