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TOP 50 REVIEWERon 24 October 2013
Format: Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
After a number of years away - Macro and Cato are back in Britain - hoping that after the intrigues of Rome they can settle down just to do some soldiering but they are to be sadly let down here as even this far from Rome someone seems to want to put them in mortal danger at every opportunity.

They are given the furthest posting in Wales - far away from the civilised parts of the Roman Empire - to a Fort that is on the brink of the wilderness where Caratacus and his supporters are just a stone throw away...

This story takes a little while to get going as Cato, Macro and Macro's mother get settled in London and then the two soldiers travel to their new outpost where a Thracian centurion is happily taking the fight to the Silurians. The arrival of our two heroes is not exactly to his liking but (without giving too much away!) that's the least of Cato's problems...

Another great story from Scarrow. It's great to see our heroes back in Britain and as always with this author there is plenty of action to enjoy mixed in with the facts of the Roman occupation of these islands. I am in awe of Scarrow's ability to meld these two things together. Great stuff! More please!!
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VINE VOICEon 3 October 2013
Format: Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
It's a pleasure to note how good this novel is after the debacle of 'Arena'. Back to form and written by Scarrow himself-and it shows. Typical of the Cato/Macro series - if you're a fan, you won't be disappointed. Set in South East Wales during the Claudian invasion of Britain, it did occur to me to wonder who we as readers should be cheering for - Cato and Macro, good lads though they are, are, after all, Roman soldiers who are fighting and killing people who most of us can call ancestors. Tricky! Scarrow, to his credit, handles this well, to the extent that there is almost an anti-war feel to the book, which lessens its enjoyment not a bit. There is barbaric behaviour on both sides. I was pleased to see his Author's Note at the end mentions Iraq, a thought that had crossed my mind. The Romans, a great superpower, try to force 'civilisation' on a distant primitive island. It costs the deaths of many of their soldiers. Their present day equivalents try to do the same with 'democracy' in Afghanistan. So, 2000 years of learning what, exactly? Scarrow does conveniently create a malign presence within the invading army itself so it's not all about sorting out Caratacus and the Silures. At one point I was even reminded, somewhat incongruously, of Jack Reacher, coming across some rogue enterprise in the boondocks and sorting it out!
Plenty of blood and guts as we've come to expect. Treachery, bravery and friendship in abundance.
Incidentally, the Roman fort of Bruccium, as far as I'm aware, is fiction. However, must be situated vaguely near Brecon [which it sounds like] and near which a previously unknown fort was discovered this summer. Coincidence?
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on 28 June 2015
To me this was not one of the best books in the Cato and Macro series. Unfortunately, it did not grab my attention as previous books had. I had no problem with the novel being based on a drawn-out siege, as some previous reviewers did. However, the action is slow-going and Cato and Macro do not take up their commands at Bruccium (in modern Wales) until half-way through the book. The first part merely acts as scene-setting, as Cato is to take command of the fort currently run by the bloodthirsty madman Centurion Quertus. The atmosphere gets increasingly dark as they reach the fort, with impaled and beheaded natives, and stories of torture. It resembled a horror rather than an historical novel.

Once we get to the fort and the impending siege begins, the novel picks up and the battle scenes, with all the horrors of war included, are depicted well. A somewhat inconclusive ending sets the scene for the next book in the series. I'd recommend the book if you are a fan of the series, but it didn't, for me, have the same sense of enjoyment or compulsion to carry on reading as previous books.
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on 26 March 2014
Fantastic story. A bit disappointing in the end chapter, however still enjoyed the book. Love the characters and their journey together
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on 17 March 2014
As usual this series is told from the perspective of the introspective, sensitive Cato and the bullish Centurion Macro. The story picks up with Cato and Macro leaving Rome for a return to the province of Brittania.

Still struggling to come to terms with their new, differing rank and social status, they are once again sent to face bloodthirsty barbarians in the mountainous regions of Brittania. Ordered to take command of an auxiliary unit of cavalry in a far flung outpost, they quickly realise that the real danger will come from within. Blood feuds and infighting make this book one of the most tense, nervy encounters yet and the author relays this tension superbly to the reader.

Despite a slightly pedestrian start, whilst the author gets the reader up to speed with the history surrounding current events, the story soon picks up pace once Cato and Macro meet up with their new command. This book contains all of the nerve shredding tension and action of each previous instalment as well as the intrigue and political manoeuvring that has been more a feature of the later books. The themes may seem to be more of the same for loyal Scarrow reader’s, but if you like this genre, then you can’t fail to be hooked by this latest, gripping instalment of Cato and Macro’s story.
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on 3 March 2015
Great adventure as always, however, I have tried to make this my last read, after all how many stories can you write about Cato and macro .. Will I win? .. I am a great fan of Simon Scarrow.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 3 October 2013
Format: Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
I like Simon Scarrow's legionary series involving Cato & Macro and have done since they were reluctantly paired together in Under the Eagle. The characters are well described, likeable and you feel like you want them to succeed and overcome the machinations of those in authority that appear to want to put them in harms way for their own nefarious purposes.

I'm not going to describe the plot except to say they're back in the rain swept backside of the Empire - Brittania to be exact, that's it for plot spoilers, well Macro's entertaining mum is with him looking to set up a lucrative business to see her through her retirement - and that's definitely it for storyline spoilers.

Scarrow is adept at working in real events to his novels and the overall background detail and his descriptions of battles are excellently done. In that respect he's very similar in style to Alexander Kent in his ability to place characters on the periphery of real events and to describe the frenetic activity and destruction that happens in battles whilst keeping a very real sense of time: i.e. multiple characters involved in scenes spliced together in the battle so you get a flow to the story, it doesn't keep jumping confusingly backwards and forwards.

This novel does take a little while to get going as Scarrow sets the scene and fills in the background to why our reluctant hero's are where they are, but it's engrossing stuff and when the novel does start to move along the pace picks up nicely and this novel very quickly becomes about as 'un-put-down-able' as they come, moving toward it's final conclusion at a cracking pace. I read "Blood Crows" over a period of a couple of days when I was on off-duty and reluctantly put it down to eat and sleep and to my wife's consternation did little else.

Blood Crows has set up the next in the series really well and I look forward to the next instalment of this entertaining series. I'd also recommend visiting Simon Scarrow's website, [...] as there's some good background stuff about Cato & Macro on there.
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on 6 January 2015
These books are crying out for a television series or a number of movies. Having read Bernard Cornwell's Sharpe series and appreciated the excellent casting of Sean Bean and Darragh O'Malley in the main roles, I have an excellent pair of actors in mind for the roles of Macro and Cato. The swarthy, heavy set and not too bright character of Macro would be perfect for Gerard Butler. In contrast, the intelligent, fair, slim and empathetic character of Cato would be an excellent role for Lawrence Fox, should either of these superb actors accept such a challenging change of pace.
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VINE VOICEon 18 October 2013
Format: Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
I read this in just two sittings (as it were) because its more like the Macro/Cato stories that we had at the start of the series. These two don't seem that suited to sneaking about but rather tackling enemies head on.
They are back in perfidious Albion where Caracticus / Druids refuse to admit defeat and the battles that take place are really quite graphic - especially the treatment of prisoners - so be warned
But there is a pace to story that I thought was missing a bit from the last couple of episodes and I also though that Cato was becoming more his own man - witmess the show down with a roman leader who has become very bit as violent as the Britons - there is definately a parrallel with today and our handling of terrorists (or are they freedom fighters.. ?)
The story is well done, against huge odds and I'm just waiting for episode 13 ..
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on 1 March 2015
Probably the most brutal of the series, but a great adventure set in North Wales. Cato beginning to step out of Macro's shadow!
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