Nexus is a novella in the alternate history Roma Nova series by Alison Morton in which there is a matriarchal country whose citizens are the descendants of Pagan Romans that left Rome in ancient times. See my reviews of previous Roma Nova books Inceptio, Carina and Perfiditas which focus on the altered 21st century adventures of the maverick praetorian, Carina. The protagonist of Nexus is Carina's formidable grandmother, Aurelia. It takes place in the alternate 20th century between Aurelia and Insurrectio. My reviews of these Aurelia books are at the links I've provided. You can also find my review of Retalio, the sequel of Insurrectio on this blog here. The most recent book in this series that I've reviewed is Roma Nova Extra, an anthology of short stories taking place during a variety of historical periods.
Let's move on to the current review. Since Aurelia is my favorite of the two Roma Nova novel protagonists, I was delighted to be in her company again. This time it was in the newly written 1970's adventure, Nexus, provided by Alison Morton in advance of publication.
I'd like to emphasize that all the Roma Nova books are heavily plotted thrillers, but characterization is also an aspect of these books. Aurelia investigates a series of crimes in Nexus. Yet I feel that the central theme of this novella is character centered.
The broken man appears in several Roma Nova books. He's especially heart-wrenching to deal with when a protagonist has fallen in love with him. Yet there are other circumstances that may make a strong woman want to fix him. If he's young, she may feel protective toward him. Aurelia finds herself in this situation in Nexus.
Aurelia is a compassionate human being. People who run rough shod over others are usually insecure. It's only individuals who have a strong sense of themselves like Aurelia who can afford to be compassionate. This is a character trait that she shares with Miklos, the man she loves. Miklos and Aurelia's relationship with him play an important role in Nexus. Aurelia's choice of Miklos and the kind of relationship she has with him is another reason why I prefer her as a protagonist. I really like that Aurelia and Miklos respect each other's independence, and share the same values.
The ending of Nexus is tragic, but there is also a redemptive aspect that made it feel emotionally satisfying. I hope that Alison Morton will find other opportunities to write more Aurelia prequels.
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