Inceptio by Alison Morton @alison_morton #BookReview #crimefiction #thriller # mystery # romanticfiction #amreading

As regular readers of this blog will know I don’t review books I didn’t enjoy, but I most definitely review the ones I did – as it’s a pleasure to spread the word.

However, with Inceptio, it was so good I was almost too scared to review it as I wasn’t sure I could do it justice.

It’s not even my usual type of read – so although I’d heard good things about this particular author, I’d put off reading her books. And as it turns out that was really silly. Note to self: read more widely.

From the Back Cover:

New Yorker Karen Brown is caught in a tangle of hot foreign agents, vicious maniacs and tough families. Running for her life, she is forced to flee from her home into the alien culture of Roma Nova, the mysterious last outpost of the Roman Empire in Europe. Who wouldn’t fear failure? Or will she tough it out and find herself? Apart from kidnapping, heartache and a close encounter with Latin grammar, she must contend with a fascinating but arrogant Praetorian special forces captain. 

Plus a crazy killer wants to terminate her for a very personal reason.

Roma Nova is Karen’s dead mother’s homeland. Founded sixteen hundred years ago by Roman exiles and now ruled by women, it gives her safety, a lover and a ready-made family – but at a price. Joining a law enforcement service as an undercover investigator, Karen focuses on staying alive, but is determined to find out why the killer persists in hunting her.

Part action adventure, part military thriller, laced with romance and coming of age, this is Roman fiction brought into the 21st century through the lens of alternative history and driven by a female protagonist with heart and courage. If you enjoy thrillers and mystery books for women with twists, this is for you!

My Review:

Inceptio is the first in a series – which is good to know – as having read this you are left wanting more.

All the essentials are present for making this an excellent read. There are great characters, interesting settings, an intriguing plot and wonderful storytelling. But it’s the originality that’s off the scale.

This is a contemporary story but it’s set in an alternative – and highly plausible – history of the world. In this alternative world, Roma Nova is a wealthy and powerful state which is situated between northern Italy and Austria, and it is where most of the action is set.

There are vividly detailed descriptions of people and place. There is intense emotion. And the pace is brisk and compelling. Yes it’s a real ‘just-one-more-page- and-I’ll-stop’ sort of book.

And the characters – oh, the characters! With all of them, Alison Morton avoids stereotyping. All of them surprise and intrigue. I loved the two leads Carina and Conrad. Carina especially – she starts out feisty but leading an ordinary life – and grows into a (sometimes) literally kick-ass, strong and brave woman. And Conrad – oh Conrad – what’s not to love? The supporting cast are wonderful too – surprises everywhere.

With its scenes of brutal violence, its high level of suspense, its intriguing mystery and crime elements and its poignant romance – this is a novel that’s difficult to categorise. It has got everything. Incidentally, I also reckon it would make a hell of an amazing TV series – I can just see it as a Netflix type box set.

So in summary: My advice – just read it.

And to whet your appetite even further – you can view the book trailer on Youtube here – it’s awesome in its own right.

Inceptio is published by Pulcheria Press and is available online and in bookshops. Formats are paperback, ebook, audio, and MP3 CD.

Inceptio is available now from various places – see below:  



Barnes and Noble


Audio Book


Book Review: Strawberry Sky by Jan Ruth

Strawberry Sky

Grown-up, romance-plus, contemporary fiction.

I was looking forward to this – the third book in the Midnight Sky series having read and enjoyed the two earlier ones.

I wasn’t disappointed. The main characters, Laura and James, had been through a lot in the first two novels, but the start of Strawberry Sky sees them married and ready to get on with their lives.

But now there is a set of new challenges for them to overcome. James is still recovering from the serious injuries he received in the second book and Callum Armstrong, the man believed to be responsible for those injuries, is still around and making his presence felt. James and Laura are also trying to establish a new business at their riding stables and then there’s the matter of Laura, desperate to have a baby but failing to conceive.

As in the earlier books, Laura’s sister Maggie and her family also play a major part in the story as their problems continue to impact on both Laura and James.

The supporting cast, including Rob the vet, and Laura’s assertive friend Carla, as well as the employees at the stable continue to feature strongly. And there’s a brilliant new addition of a young woman who comes to work at the stables and who has quite an effect on Laura.

So there’s plenty to keep the reader turning the pages. As always Jan Ruth’s characters are credible, three-dimensional and fascinating, and the setting of the Welsh mountains and countryside is beautifully drawn. As in the earlier books the healing power of being with horses features strongly too.

Yes all the features of a Jan Ruth novel are here – main characters who’ve lived long enough to have significant back-stories, stunning settings, and a satisfying and well-handled plot.

All in all a first –class read.

Incidentally you don’t have to have read Midnight Sky and Palomino Sky first in order to enjoy Strawberry Sky, but I recommend you do – just for the sheer enjoyment.

Back Cover Blurb: Maggie is devastated by her daughter’s plans, but Jess is determined to remove the past from her life no matter the upset it will cause. James is no longer running from his past, but a multitude of unresolved issues are set to catch up with Laura. As an orphaned foal and a motherless teenage girl slip seamlessly into her life, are they key to a positive change or an omen for impending danger? Armstrong is a troubled young man and a trail of minor events ends in a catastrophe no one could have predicted. Can the family ever recover, or should they simply trust in destiny?

Strawberry Sky is published by Celtic Connections and is available in paperback and as an e-book.

Book Review: Everything Love Is by Claire King

A poignant, mysterious and unforgettable story of love.

Everything Love Is

Everything Love Is lives up to its strap line. It is indeed a poignant, mysterious and unforgettable story of love. It’s a work of contemporary literary fiction and includes themes of love and loss, whilst also engaging in an original way with exploring the role of memory in how we make sense of the world. For readers who enjoy beautiful writing, clever storytelling and a bit of mystery Claire King delivers.

The author uses her beguiling and complex characters to pull the reader in and then only gradually reveals exactly what’s going on.

Baptiste Molino is a therapist and counsellor and is dedicated to helping his clients. He lives and works on a houseboat moored on a canal in Toulouse. He likes living alone and keeping his personal life simple, although he is keen to find out more about the mysterious circumstances surrounding his birth.

Amandine Rousseau is a doctor who is searching for, in her own words, something that makes me feel alive. Joy, passion and despair, something to remember, something to regret. I want to have my breath taken away.

Baptiste and Amandine meet at the start of the book and as the relationship between the two develops, Baptiste’s determination to keep to himself wavers. But just as it seems they may be prepared to make a commitment to each other, the past catches up with Baptiste and he has to make a difficult choice between his own happiness and that of Amandine.

The plot is intriguing and the intrigue is supported by the author’s use of both Baptiste and Amandine as narrators and the characters’ interpretation of events don’t always match. There are past mysteries, but also present ones too. For example there is Sophie the waitress at Baptiste’s local restaurant. What exactly is her relationship to Baptiste and how does she fit into the plot?

The setting also works well in supporting the story. Toulouse’s waterways, and its bars and restaurants, provide small and effective details that bring the story to life. And the upheavals and uncertainties in Baptiste’s life are perfectly reflected in the turmoil on the city’s streets as protestors demonstrate against government reforms.

This book is extraordinary. It is full of originality, poignancy and wonder. The ending is impossible to predict but it will indeed leave you reflecting on everything love is.

Everything Love Is  is published by Bloomsbury and is available in hardback and paperback as well as in eBook and audio formats.