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Hannibal: Enemy of Rome Hardcover – 9 Jun 2011


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Product details

  • Hardcover: 464 pages
  • Publisher: Preface Publishing; First Edition edition (9 Jun. 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 184809227X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1848092273
  • Product Dimensions: 16.2 x 3.7 x 24.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (100 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 259,439 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Review

"If you want a story that lives and breathes, characters that you genuinely care about and action that leaves you breathless, Ben Kane is your man ... You feel the ground tremble beneath the phalanxes, hear the battle cries of the legions, smell the carnage of war. You sense the sweeping tides of history that changed the world ... An epic tale, triumphantly told" (Giles Kristian, author of the RAVEN series)

"Any book that creates a hole in your life when it ends can only be a very good thing" (Bookbag)

Book Description

The first in a brilliant new series set during the Second Punic War, from the bestselling author of THE FORGOTTEN LEGION Chronicles

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4.3 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

26 of 27 people found the following review helpful By Kate TOP 500 REVIEWER on 24 Sept. 2011
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
When the Romans kicked Carthage in the teeth by stealing Sicily off them in the First Punic War, it was only a matter of time before the Carthaginians struck back with a vengeance. That vengeance took the formidable shape of General Hannibal Barca, a bunch of elephants and a mass of infantry and cavalry gathered from across the Carthaginian Mediterranean empire.

The story of Hannibal is legendary but there is much, much more to Ben Kane's novel than a retelling of Hannibal's crossing of the Alps. In fact, I'd argue that the book's title is misleading. Hannibal is present, as charismatic as one would wish, but, for much of the novel, he is an embodiment of hope or evil. He is the force that drives the Mediterranean to war. The focus instead is on the men who flock to Hannibal - whether to fight and die for him or to destroy him and his army.

We follow Hanno, a young Carthaginian nobleman, and his friend Suni who play truant one fateful day, stealing themselves away to fish but instead find themselves adrift at sea until captured by pirates and sold as slaves in Capua. Suni is sold to be a gladiator but Hanno is bought by the young Roman equestrian Quintus, a youth whose bravery is matched by that of his spirited sister Aurelia. After Hanno saves Quintus and Aurelia, it's only a matter of time before the two young men become friends despite the great difference between them. Their fathers oppose one another on the battlefield and the goal of both boys is to reach their fathers and join them in the fight.

Hannibal takes us from North Africa to Spain, Italy and Gaul. The horrendous hardships that Hannibal's men face as they cross the Alps - from the elements, the mountains themselves and from the tribes that control them - are described in compelling detail.
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Harr75 on 20 Mar. 2013
Format: Paperback
It's not often I bother to finish a book that I would rate as merely ok, as there are too many great authors to read, but something kept me at this one. The far fetched plot about the son of a Carthaginian noble sold into Roman slavery had me smiling at times- lots of convenient coincidences keep the plot afloat, such as when the slavers responsible just happen to stop by his home town for a drink and are overheard boasting about it -but I kept reading.

The cliches are everywhere. Enjoyable ones though- he has two brothers, one kind and generous of spirit, one a complete psychopath. Our hero befriends the teenage kids of his roman masters, and of course, the daughter falls for him. Lots of predictable conflicts arise- however the anticipation of them is quite enjoyable.

So, a slightly cheesy but good fun adventure. The problem lies in Kane's writing. He insists on using the same word more than once in a sentence- stuff like, "He was clothed in white clothes," or, "The shocking scene shocked him." I don't have a copy to quote from, so these aren't exact quotes, but you get the picture. A few synonyms would sort this out so easily. One gets the feeling the author is churning it out with dollar signs in front of his eyes, not taking the time to craft his sentences. Stock phrases like "in a nutshell' are way overused.

The other main hang-up is the viewpoints used to tell the tale. We simply get told told what's in everybody's head, rather than getting to see characters and events through a handful of select individuals. Viewpoint shifts several times per paragraph at times. The effect is clumsy.

Despite the dodgy style, its a rollicking adventure. The simple characters are caricatures, but that makes for light entertainment, and you won't lose track of who's who. The plot is crackers, but great fun. If you can overlook the bad style, this is easy reading that I suspect might turn into a guilty pleasure of mine.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Wilbur Smith on 24 Jan. 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Fascinating story of the destruction of Carthage. Ben Kane is a scholar and a compelling novelist. I forsee a glittering career ahead of this young man.
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21 of 23 people found the following review helpful By J. Cooper on 15 Jun. 2011
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Wow, where do I begin with this one! This is an example of some of the very best of historical fiction on offer at the moment and a testament to an author who is consistently producing inspirational reads. If you loved Ben Kane's earlier series, then you will need to get a copy of this, his latest book as soon as you can. It's one of those books that will have you reading late into the night and almost missing your bus stop! It's that good.

Rome is at war with Carthage and as may be expected, this is a story told from both sides of the equation with Quintus and Aurelia largely representing Rome and Bostar, Sapho and Hanno largely representing Carthage. There are numerous other sub-characters including other family members and the infamous Hannibal, but these are the main protagonists around whom the story is mainly centred. Quintus and Aurelia who are brother and sister represent an aspiring equestrian Roman family and Bostar, Sapho and Hanno are brothers from a noble Carthaginian family. The story is located around the Mediterranean, across Gaul and into Italy itself.

This book is so good and its interweaving themes of slavery, injustice, aspiration, love, oaths, brutality, enmity and anguish certainly draws the reader straight in from the first page. As always, Kane's descriptive ability is superb, I truly felt like I was trailing Hanno and Sunni through the streets of Carthage in the first chapter. I could have been stood within the Carthaginian column as it wound its way through the treacherous Alps or sat within the Curia when the Senate met to question its returning Consul in an electrifying political setpiece. The enmity between Bostar and Sapho was brilliantly captured and certainly created a firm foundation on which to base the next book.
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