From Unseen Fire is the first novel in the Aven Cycle, a historical fantasy set in an alternate Rome, by debut author Cass Morris
The Dictator is dead; long live the Republic.
But whose Republic will it be? Senators, generals, and elemental mages vie for the power to shape the future of the city of Aven. Latona of the Vitelliae, a mage of Spirit and Fire, has suppressed her phenomenal talents for fear they would draw unwanted attention from unscrupulous men. Now that the Dictator who threatened her family is gone, she may have an opportunity to seize a greater destiny as a protector of the people—if only she can find the courage to try.
Her siblings—a widow who conceals a canny political mind in the guise of a frivolous socialite, a young prophetess learning to navigate a treacherous world, and a military tribune leading a dangerous expedition in the province of Iberia—will be her allies as she builds a place for herself in this new world, against the objections of their father, her husband, and the strictures of Aventan society.
Latona’s path intersects with that of Sempronius Tarren, an ambitious senator harboring a dangerous secret. Sacred law dictates that no mage may hold high office, but Sempronius, a Shadow mage who has kept his abilities a life-long secret, intends to do just that. As rebellion brews in the provinces, Sempronius must outwit the ruthless leader of the opposing Senate faction to claim the political and military power he needs to secure a glorious future for Aven and his own place in history.
As politics draw them together and romance blossoms between them, Latona and Sempronius will use wit, charm, and magic to shape Aven’s fate. But when their foes resort to brutal violence and foul sorcery, will their efforts be enough to save the Republic they love?
Praise for From Unseen Fire:
"'Rome with magic' turns out to be exactly the novel I wanted to read. The magic cleverly intertwines with religion, politics, and daily life. The characters appeal, especially the loving portrait of three loyal sisters. There are battles (of course), a budding love story of the illicit kind, some remarkably topical political maneuvering, an awareness of diverse layers of class and ethnicity, and a love of place that shines on the page." —Kate Elliott, author of Cold Magic and Black Wolves
"A unique and well-studied fantasy take on the Roman world—an alternate world of another name, where ambition is a driving force and magic is real." —C. J. Cherryh, Hugo-winning author of the Foreigner novels
"Cass Morris brings ancient Rome to life with all its particular details, passions, and political intrigue, and populates it with captivating characters. Then she sprinkles it with magic. Yeah, that’s the stuff."—Kristen Britain, New York Times bestselling author of the Green Rider novels
"Morris’ epic-fantasy debut melds Roman history and elemental magic into a spellbinding tale of political machinations.... Fans of I, Claudius and Game of Thrones are in for a treat in this series starter. The combination of history, dark and light magic, family, political and religious rivalry, and military conflicts will draw readers from many genres." —Booklist (starred review)