I really struggled with what to write for this review, the story its self was never going to be a huge surprise, we all know the basic plot.
But it's so easy for this sort of this to be told in a dry bland fashion.
Anyone who has read the first 3 books in the series (Young Bloods, Generals, Fire and Sword) will know that Simons writing is anything but dry and bland, he brings
forth the pace and characterisation of his hugely popular fictional eagles series and applies the writing skill to a more confined writing area, having to stick to the bounds of real people and what they actually did, rather than the freedom of fictional characters who can play around in a time period, yet he still brings these people to life in just the same way something you just don't often see with many writers these days.
This book is no small offering at 500+ pages its easy to class it as a hefty tome, and yet it was the first book in my hand luggage for holiday this year (my fault for starting it a few days before we left, but there was no way I was waiting a week to finish it). Its very easy to say you cannot put a book down, but it really is the case with all 4 of the books in this series, not only are they fun , absorbing, escapism and exciting but they are also hugely entertaining and educational as well.
This book is sure to top the charts and deservedly so, I think every author has a crowning achievement in their writing repertoire (and who knows Simon may prove me wrong and go on to write even better...I can only hope) but for me this could be his master piece. David Gemmell wrote his Troy Series to culminate his career, Feist wrote The Empire Series early in his career, you never know when that perfect storm of writing skill, character, plot etc will happen, maybe this is Simons?
Either way this is a must buy for this year, if you have not read the rest of the series then buy the lot, it's a real treat.