This is not an historical novel, being set entirely in the present day, but what may prove of interest to HNS readers is that the author has set her plot in an alternate history timeline.
It is a modern thriller. In New York, twenty-something Karen Brown’s life is turned upside down as both the ‘big brother’ corruption of a modern state and a secret from her past collide with unexpected violence. Rescued by a charismatic alpha male, she discovers a new life in central Europe, in her late mother’s homeland, only to discover that her past and its secrets are determined to catch up with her.
So far, so readable, but what catches the HNS’s eye is that Karen’s late mother’s homeland is Roma Nova, a Latin speaking, pagan state with a penchant for creating excellent technology and a sizable voice in global politics. The premise is that in AD 395 after the Emperor Theodosious’ decree banning all pagan religions, some 400 Romans loyal to the old gods and presenting some 12 major patrician families left Italy to found a new state. So in Roman Nova Saturnalia is still celebrated instead of Christmas (and is very popular with tourists!), gladiatorial combats are popular and the Praetorian Guard has become something like the SAS.
The alternate timeline is presented in a short introduction, and most of its consequences are drip fed throughout the text. Personally I would have liked more of the history, but this is the first in a series and perhaps the author has deeper plans. In the meantime, this is a convincing thriller with some interesting background.