Wednesday 6 March 2024

๐Ÿ“– Blog Tour ~ EXSILIUM by Alison Morton

27 February 2024

My thanks to the author for my copy of this book
and for inviting me to take part in this blog tour

AD 395. In a Christian Roman Empire, the penalty for holding true to the traditional gods is execution.

Maelia Mitela, her dead husband condemned as a pagan traitor, leaving her on the brink of ruin, grieves for her son lost to the Christians and is fearful of committing to another man.

Lucius Apulius, ex-tribune, faithful to the old gods and fixed on his memories of his wife Julia’s homeland of Noricum, will risk everything to protect his children’s future.

Galla Apulia, loyal to her father and only too aware of not being the desired son, is desperate to escape Rome after the humiliation of betrayal by her feckless husband.

For all of them, the only way to survive is exile.

EXSILIUM is the sequel to JULIA PRIMA and the two books make up the Foundation strand in the Roma Nova series.

Delighted to be able to share an extract from EXSILIUM today

Rome AD 389 at the marriage of Lucius Apulius’s daughter Galla to Proculus

Maelia Mitela narrates.

‘You were lucky to find a traditional priest in this day and age,’ a voice murmured nearby. ‘Risking somebody sneaking to the Christians about him…'

I spun round. Marcellus Varus. But his smile was sympathetic.

‘We had a contact via the Senate, so hopefully, nobody will,’ I said. ‘But it’s only animal sacrifice that’s forbidden, and telling the future.’ I smiled up at his friendly open face. He was a good fifteen years older than me with white wings to the hair above his ears. ‘I don’t think the cook’s honey cakes would offend anybody,’ I continued. He laughed a warm, throaty chuckle. I leant in closer so he could hear my whisper. ‘And the great relief is that we don’t have to stand around looking pious when the haruspex opens the animal up and wriggles his hand around its smelly insides.’

‘Gods, yes.’ He scratched the side of his head and gave a rueful look. ‘I’ll give the Christians that. I don’t like the way things are going, but they have at least stopped those barbaric things from the ancient days.’

‘You’re not… You’re not one of them, are you?’

‘Jupiter, no. Of course not. Where are your wits, my girl? We might deal with them and stop using the gods’ names in their presence, but all that serious praying and submission? And that nonsensical idea of the afterlife. No, I thank you.’

‘I’ve had a few cold looks and one of my friends actually turned her back on me in the baths since Silvanius’s death. She’s now a Christian, I gather, but is no longer a friend,’ I added drily.

‘Ah, Silvanius supported Magnus Maximus?’

‘Yes, he died at Marcellinus’s side at Poetovio.’

‘Ah, I remember now. I’m so sorry.’ He took a sip from his cup. ‘Still a good crowd to celebrate Quintus Apulius’s granddaughter’s marriage. Surprised not to see Symmachus, though.’

‘Lucius invited him for his father’s sake – Quintus and Symmachus are good friends despite the age difference. But giving that eulogy last year to Magnus Maximus in a full Senate session has damned Symmachus. Gaius heard he’d even taken refuge in one of the Christians’ churches, then ridden as if the Furies were after him to his estate in Campania.’

‘Hm. He’s going to have to grovel mightily to keep his head on his shoulders after that. Theodosius won’t forgive that kind of public commitment. He’s probably finished in political life in any case.’

I shivered. If Emperor Theodosius condemned such a respected and powerfully connected man as Quintus Aurelius Symmachus – a former prefect of Rome – then what hope was there that we would survive?

 © Alison Morton, 2024

๐Ÿ“– My Review..

Those readers who follow these historical thrillers will be delighted with EXSILIUM which is the sequel to JULIA PRIMA. It's a thrilling story which takes us back to the very foundations of Roma Nova and into an ancient world which this author recreates so vividly. 

We meet up with Maelia Mitela and Lucius Apulius both characters we have met before but this time their destiny lies in a very different direction. With pagan Gods being replaced by Christian Gods, and with families facing ruin, the old way of life is changing, and with this change comes intrigue, and danger, especially for those who find that their futures are becoming more and more uncertain. Moving from an old way of life and into exile is never easy and yet the author describes everything so vividly I felt like I travelled with them on their epic journey as they face the perils and pitfalls of moving into the unknown. Strong female characters find their rightful place in this Roma Nova world and it has been a real delight to see them flourish and progress in this new world.

With a thrilling historical adventure at its core EXSILIUM has a strong story-line with equally strong characters. Beautifully written, and authentically researched, the author recreates this ancient world with imaginative flair bringing time, place and people to life in glorious detail. It's been a real pleasure to follow the Roma Nova series from the beginning and now with JULIA PRIMA and  EXSILIUM added to the catalogue of stories we have a unique perspective on the foundations of the Roma Nova world.

About the Author

Alison at Virunum
Photo courtesy of the author

Alison Morton writes award-winning thrillers featuring tough but compassionate heroines. Her ten-book Roma Nova series is set in an imaginary European country where a remnant of the Roman Empire has survived into the 21st century and is ruled by women who face conspiracy, revolution and heartache but use a sharp line in dialogue. The latest, EXSILIUM, plunges us back to the late 4th century, to the very foundation of Roma Nova.

She blends her fascination for Ancient Rome with six years’ military service and a life of reading crime, historical and thriller fiction. On the way, she collected a BA in modern languages and an MA in history.

Alison now lives in Poitou in France, the home of Mรฉlisende, the heroine of her two contemporary thrillers, Double Identity and Double Pursuit.

Social media links

Connect with Alison on her thriller site: here

Facebook author page: here

X/Twitter:    @alison_morton

Alison’s writing blog: here

Instagram: here

Goodreads: here

Threads: here

Alison’s Amazon page: here

Newsletter sign-up: here

Buying links for EXSILIUM:

Amazon: here (universal link)

Other retailers: here 


  1. Goodness, what a fantastic review! Thank you so much, Jo, for welcoming EXSILIUM – and Maelia, Lucius and Galla – to your blog. I don't know whether visiting the (real) Virunum and the (imaginary) Roma Nova last year specially inspired me, but I loved writing this origin story after so many stories set in the modern period.

    1. Thank you for another great story and a fascinating insight into the origins of Roma Nova


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