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33 of 38 people found the following review helpful
on 11 October 2006
It must be hard for a writer of a series to keep the standard up from one book to the next, yet alone improve it. But that's what Scarrow has achieved with this magnificent series of books. The Eagle in the Sand is set in the Roman province of Judaea, some years after THE crucifixion. The land is torn by civil strife and savage terrorist attacks, while the hapless Roman garrison struggles to keep a lid on it all - so not a million miles from today's Iraq in fact. And it's this shimmering between the two historical periods that makes the book rather more intelligent and thoughtful than most other historical fiction novels. That's not to say that Scarrow has dropped action and replaced it with speculation. Eagle in the Sands is as exciting and action packed as the pervious novels, I just don't know how he manages to combine the two aspects so effectively. But it works.

Macro and Cato arrive in the middle of this mess with orders to take command of a desert fort on the very fringe of the empire. Their task is to put down a local rebellion led by one of the followers of a certain nationalist rebel executed at the time of Pilate. This latest rebellion is being aided by the Parthians as part of the great game being played out between their empire and Rome to dominate the east.

A tough mission, and as ever a dangerous one. Macro and Cato are as engaging as ever and the setting is described so finely that you'll break out in a sweat as they trek through the desert, visit Petra and have a final showdown in the blood red sand dunes of Rhum.

So then, here I am stuck with waiting another year before the next book comes out... sigh.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 13 December 2013
The perfect companion to the Eagle series is the Roma Victrix wine beakerCalix Imperium, Roma Victrix Pewter wine beaker

The Eagle in the Sand" is the seventh novel in Simon Scarrow's Eagle series, following
the adventures of Centurions Macro and Cato as they serve across the mid-1st Century
AD Roman Empire. Cato is now four years into his military service and is no longer
the callow youthful Optio foisted onto the cynical and blunt Centurion Macro. Both now hold
the same rank, although Macro of course has seniority.

The two heroes have been sent to Judaea, it transpires, to help prevent a rebellion which
could be a major threat to Rome. Not because Judaea is so important, but because to represses
such a revolt would require placing a half a dozen Legions under the command of a man who, if
successful in his campaign, might be tempted to try for the Purple. There are of
course lots of twists and turns along the way.

Friends are made as are enemies. There are encounters with desert raiders, bandit armies
and the followers of a dead prophet who was crucified. Hmm ...that sounds somewhat
familiar. Throughout the book, the action and intrigue comes thick and fast, combine the latter with an excellent narrative interwoven with historical fact and you have a real page turner.
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on 28 May 2015
Writing style is good and fit for the genre. However, I have noticed that since “Centurion”, Scarrow’s writing style lacks elegance like other authors such as Iggulden and becomes boring after reading several chapters. This is why I alternate reading his novels and the novels of other historical authors.

Cato and Macro are well-developed characters. They are funny and have many qualities I really connect with. Scarrow often lets his readers know his criticism and opinions of religion through them, especially Cato, which can be distracting and trying at times.

The plot is steady and the novel is structured well.

Imagery is great, especially in battle scenes where he gets into tactics. Scarrow is not so good at describing other things such as people and civilizations.

Research is wealthy, though I feel there is room for more.

Scarrow is an interested and passionate author and the novel hints use of inspiration too. The author has a mature understand of the events, personalities and societies in ancient Rome, but still requires growth.

What makes Scarrow’s Roman novels so unique is that he really gets into the daily life of the Roman legions. Few other historical novelists can achieve this as well as he does. He is also the only author I have read of who successfully introduces modern course language into a novel set in ancient times, making the book as humorous as it is enticing. I do not always feel educated when I complete reading his novels, but I do obtain a good picture of Roman tactics and military lifestyle.
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on 4 July 2014
Simon Scarrow is a canny author who decided early on in the Marco and Cato series of novels to pace himself in a way that will allow the pair to appear in many adventures together. This does mean at times that the series is a little slow, but each tale has its own feel as Scarrow explores different types of narrative whilst still remaining within the structure of the action led historic fiction genre. Here M and C find themselves travelling East and having to deal not only with possible treason, but also a powerful new cult that is arising in the area.

Like previous books in the series ‘The Eagle in the Sand’ mixes the fictional adventures of our heroes in with the real history of the time. As previous books have been set in Britain and Rome I was able to follow what was going on as I have covered them many times before. This time Scarrow looks to the cult of Jesus et al of the period and I found it all very confusing. There are many rival elements vying for power in the region and I for one could not get my head around who was who at times. Scarrow’s insistence at bringing in all these warring elements really detracted from the central story at times.

This is a shame as the action and story are as solid as ever. The battles are well written and spending time with both Marco and Cato remains a joy. The prolonged siege is one of the best battle sequences that Scarrow has written yet and I really enjoyed the various guerrilla tactics that Cato in particular liked to evoke. It is just the elements that sit around the action that are a little poorer than other outings in the series. As our intrepid duo head back West to take on the Brits and Boudicca, I am sure that the plots will once more come back to match the high quality of the action.
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on 14 November 2012
Review of the series (followed by a review of this book):
This series of books is based around the adventures of two men - Macro and Cato. Macro is a soldier through and through; he has spent his life in the army and is a centurion when we first meet him in the first book. In that book we also meet Cato who joins the legion as a new recruit, although he seems an unlikely candidate for a soldier. The series goes on to relate their many adventures and the relationship between them. Most of the stories are based - sometimes loosely - on real events and people, with a healthy dose of artistic license.
As far as I can tell the historical detail and facts are accurate, and the writing is generally engaging. There are criticisms in other reviews about the authors use of 'modern' slang; I know what they mean, but would we identify with 'roman' slang? For me, it is not a problem, I am not a fan of trying to invent historical language, it is too easy to fall into the 'ye olde shoppe' trap!
Overall, the series is very readable, and rolls along at a good pace. Like some other historical series, it doesn't do to try and fit the events into a timeline, as it soon becomes clear that the two men could not have done everything they do in one lifetime, but that doesn't detract from a fun series. Two niggles:the formatting annoys me in that the gaps between paragraphs are too long, particularly where there are long conversations, and they are a little over-priced.
Review of this book:
This episode is set in Syria and Judea, and centres around the defence of a fort in the desert. Surrounded by allies and enemies, Macro and Cato need to work out which is which, because it is soon clear that it is not as obvious as it seems. I won't go into detail and spoil the plot, but this, for me, is the weakest book in the series so far. The main story is quite good, but the introduction of the religious element is forced and artificial, and to my mind unnecessary. I hope the next book will return be a return to form.
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After a brief sojourn into the eighteenth century with the Duke of Wellington and Napoleon, Young Bloods (Book 1, 2006) Simon Scarrow is back to sorting out the problems of the Roman Empire with his two lead characters Cato and Macro. Cato was once optio, (or chosen man, second in command of a legion) to the centurion Macro, but Cato has now achieved the rank of centurion and the pair have been through many encounters together. This has made them not only battle hardened, but the closest of friends. A friendship moulded by standing side by side in battle. Each would happily die for the other, though neither would admit it.

Both men have been sent on a mission to the Roman frontier, where trouble is brewing and for once the troops seem to be in disarray. When the pair arrive a local revolt is beginning to grow in scale, with a local tribesman preaching violence and death against Rome

Macro and Cato must use their knowledge and expertise as centurions to stamp out the corruption in the cohort and get the men back to being a unified fighting force before the Eastern Provinces are lost forever

I will read anything and everything about the Roman legions, be it fact or fiction so these books are like manna from heaven for me. Simon Scarrow's books are very authentic and all of them are extremely enjoyable reading.
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23 of 28 people found the following review helpful
on 1 September 2006
Any fan of the Eagle Series will love this book!

It's fast paced, rip roaring ride around Judea. It must be one of the funniest of the series too, i couldnt finish it quick enough!

And for anyone who hasnt read Simons Eagle's all i can say is....why not!!!!

for any reader who likes historical fiction, read this series. you'll not regret it!
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18 of 23 people found the following review helpful
After a brief sojourn into the eighteenth century with the Duke of Wellington and Napoleon, Simon Scarrow is back to sorting out the problems of the Roman Empire with his two lead characters Cato and Macro. Cato was once Optio (something like the equivalent of a sergeant) to the Centurion macro, but they are now both centurions and have been through many encounters together. This has made them the closest of friends. Friendship that only standing side by side in battle can mould. Each would happily die for the other, though neither would admit it.

Both men have been sent on a mission to the Roman frontier, where trouble is brewing and the for once the troops seem to be in disarray. When they arrive a local revolt is beginning to grow in scale, with a local tribesman preaching violence and death against Rome

Macro and Cato must use their knowledge and expertise as centurions to stamp out the corruption in the cohort and get the men back to being a unified fighting force before the East Provinces are lost forever

I will read anything and everything about the Roman legions, be it fact or fiction so these books are like manna from heaven for me. Simon Scarrow's books are very authentic and an extremely enjoyable read.
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on 12 February 2013
BRILLIANT, yet again Simon scarrow has drawn the reader into this series of books involving Cato and Macro and their adventures. He has the Knack of keeping you reading until the final page as you can't wait to see what happens. Cato and macro have become friends to the reader as their adventures have unfolded, and I wait with bated breath for the next book. Long may they continue to keep us enthralled. I also love the descriptions of the countryside around them as they sent out to fight the enemy wether it is in ancient Britain or the sands of a desert.
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on 19 March 2013
I've liked all of this series of books since I read the first one. As a serviceman myself I can say that the humour and banter is spot on, and I always find myself laughing at some of the banter between Macro and Cato. The story itself is a rollicking good read, plenty of action and humour abound. If you've read the other Macro and Cato books you won't be disappointed with this one. Excellent book, well recommended.
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