New York, present day. Karen Brown, angry and frightened after surviving a kidnap attempt, has a harsh choice - elimination by government enforcer Jeffery Renschman or fleeing to the mysterious Roma Nova, her dead mother's homeland in Europe.
Founded 16 centuries ago by Roman exiles and ruled by women, Roma Nova gives Karen safety and a ready-made family - at a price. But a shocking discovery about her new lover, the fascinating but arrogant Special Forces officer Conrad Tellus, who rescued her in America, isolates her.
Renschman reaches into her new home and nearly kills her. Recovering, she is desperate to find out why he is hunting her so viciously. Unable to rely on anybody else, she undergoes intensive training, develops fighting skills and becomes an undercover cop. But, crazy with bitterness at his past failures, Renschman sets a trap for her, knowing she has no choice but to spring it....
©2013 Alison Morton (P)2016 Audible, Ltd
Overall, I really enjoyed this book and am looking forward to the next one.
Alternate histories can be tricky but this one worked well; the Roman Empire in the modern world was believable and appealing. The EUS is a xenophobic and paranoid place. Given the chance, why would you not up-sticks and move to Roma Nova? This country is just… cool. It’s kept up with and even surpassed the rest of the modern world in some ways while still keeping its traditions and principles. And I can really get behind a story set in a society where the women and men are on equal footing (as Roma Nova is a matriarchal society, the women have an edge though).
The characters are varied and nicely fleshed out. Karen’s adaptation to her new home and its traditions is admirable. Anyone who’s lived in a culture different from their own knows how hard those adjustments can be. Karen didn’t just adapt, she embraced it and you could feel how richer her life was for it. There are so many characters that it was a little hard to keep track of them so a 2nd go with this book is definitely in order for me.
Ms. Thorburn has a very nice and melodic voice. The accents are good and each character has distinctive voice. When she sticks to reading, she’s excellent.
What I didn't like about this book:
1. Karen’s transformation from ordinary office schlep to bad*ss soldier woman is not believable. In one chapter she’s cowering and dying and 90 minutes later she’s mastered hand-to-hand combat and is working undercover… c’mon.
2. Karen comes across as arrogant and obnoxious after her transformation. I really struggled to like her during some parts of the story. Maybe that's a problem with narration and the written would be different?
3. Karen’s reasons for entering into her new (post transformation) career don’t make sense to me. While any reasonable person knows drug smuggling is an awful thing, I just don’t understand her motivation for throwing herself into dangerous under-cover work.
4. Renschman is a pretty bad villain. Not bad as in ‘what a great character; he’s so scary’ but bad as in ‘you’ve failed multiple times; please just give up now ‘. And he’s one of those villains who won’t stop talking (no wonder he’s thwarted so often). But I get his motivation so he’s not totally unbelievable.
5. Some of the sub-plots ended pretty abruptly. I think the author was trying to smoosh too much into the 1st in a series. The way it ended made me wonder if this was originally meant to be a stand-alone book.
6. While I enjoyed the narration, I found the stammering, heavy breathing, gulps, occasional snorts and giggles and general over-emoting very off-putting. This is just a personal preference and it's not bad enough to make me not want to listen to the next in the series.
7. Pronunciation is a bit off sometimes (I’ve never heard ‘antipathy’ pronounced much the same as ’anti-pasti’) but that was more amusing than annoying.
Report Inappropriate Content