Top critical review
21 people found this helpful
More depth needed
on 19 August 2003
The 4th book in the Cato and Macro series sees our two heroes back in action again after suffering major injuries. Due to the increasing attacks of Caratacus and his allies, Roman supply lines have become dangerously overstretched. To alleviate the situation, Cato and Macro have been given the task of welding together an auxiliary force from the friendly Atrebatan army of King Verica of Calleva. To complicate matters however, there is a strong anti-Roman feeling in the town with disgruntled townsfolk all too willing to change sides and various Celtic noblemen who will stop at nothing to be named Verica's heir. The presence of an overly ambitious tribune adds fuel to the flames. The whole situation is thrown into further confusion by an assassination attempt on the King.
Cato himself has to struggle to adjust to his new promotion position aided/hindered by the blunt Macro.
So why only the 3 stars ? Well, after 4 books I was rather hoping for more detail on the background on the personalities involved. Take the lovely Macro for instance. All I can recall of his physical description is that he is short (squat) and hairy! No word about his family, reasons for joining the army or anything. Not a word in this book either about his failed romance with Boudicca. Vespasian seems to have become cold and
cruel without any indication of why.
In the interests of fairness there are good points as well;
Scarrow's writing is lively and conveys a good sense of conflicting loyalaties and the dreadful penalties to pay for choosing the wrong side. The battle scenes are stirring and imaginative. A rather bittersweet ending too.